Lovely ski yesterday skiing above Chamonix’s Aiguille du Midi on Mont Blanc du Tacul. 600 m of lush cold blower powder down to Col Simond. And its September. What a gift from the Gods! With the warm sunshine, clear autumn air, and quiet mountains, its just pure pleasure being out there. Today I had the pleasure of skiing with young passionate skier Chamoniarde Nico Borgeot who I met skiing the Mallory (under the cables of Aiguille du Midi) in May.
There are Chamonix Aiguilles (needles) and Chamonix Aiguilles. This is one of the latter, as sharp and pointy as a 700 m rock spire can be. The thought of the pioneers lassoing the summit and hand over handing up a hemp rope still makes my palms sweaty. The exposure levels on the summit kept me straddling the blade of rock – one leg either side. We climbed the modern magnificent political crack route named Republique Bananiere that the maestro Piola rated in his top ten Mont Blanc Massif granite routes. ED 6C and 700 m of magic including a 50 m dihedral.
The left edge of the triangle on Mont Blanc du Tacul offers a very aesthetic snow and mixed climb with spectacular views across to the mighty Dent de Geant. The route is objectively safe, avoiding the seracs on the void normal and offers and more interesting and exciting way of getting to the summit. It’s also a good ski line in May and June. This time I was out climbing with my good friend Minna and acclimatising for the summer guiding season.
This was my first visit to the fabled Calanques of Marseilles. The Calanques are the fiord region next to Marseille and host to a plethora of marvelous rockclimbs on walls of impeccable white limestone up to 300 m high. On this trip we had the luxury of a boat and could sail round and chose what took our fancy! I will definitely be back.