Bada Boom 7b – Grands Perrons

As the first snows of autumn start to coat our mountains in a scant white negligee causing us to fantasise about winter adventures, I finally have some time to write about some of the things that kept me busy this summer. Working as an aspirant mountain guide has kept me busy and taken me to many new areas of the Alps as well as revisiting some that I haven’t been to for 20 years. This didn’t leave me any time to train for rock and I often wanted to be free of ropes on my day off and ride my bike but I did make a conscious effort to do at least one quality rock route every 2 weeks to keep a base level of fitness.

The Grand Perron offers swathes of impeccable Gietroz quality gneiss with unparalled views over the Mont Blanc Range. With a breeze blowing onto the sunkissed crag taking the edge off the sun, we were set for primo friction conditions. My partner in crime for the day was Andy Perkins who never fails to impress me with his no nonsense, positive and forceful approach. Mix in some brilliant banter and it ranks as one of the most memorable days of the summer.



Me eyeing up the moves on the first hard pitch.

21104239_1527169794008518_879985664_oPretty pumpy start fresh off the deck.



Andy making dynamic moves on another 6C pitch.


Andy arriving at the belay.


The pitch. Andy makes the hard start on the 7a+ crack. Felt like E6 6b to me seconding. We took a spectra line for the raps and hauling our sac reckoning that was the most efficient system.


Andy mid pitch. Stunning


On and on like a lot of the Perrons pitches – full value.


The crux 7b pitch. I found this hard to read and technically hard on feet. When you havent been climbing a lot it was tough sequencing the moves. Andy took one flier and I hung out twice after reading the rock wrong.


Balancy technical climbing on the 7b pitch. Me figuring out the last few moves. After that all that remained was a few ‘easy’ pitches to the summit ridge.

Rock Climbing at Foron

For some reason its been about 7 years since I visited Foron crag, which is a shame because the steep featured limestone is a real joy to climb set against a backdrop of rural French hill farms. The Brits have nicknamed the crag ‘forearms’ as they will always come away worked over. Its was great fun to climb with fellow Berghaus team mates Philippe and Anna Gatta for the first time who beasted me into the ground – its been a couple of years since I pulled down hard enough to operate consistently in the 7s throughout the whole day – I love it though, only one way to get stronger! Foron Anna Philippe Gatta-2Foron Anna Philippe Gatta-1 Foron Anna Philippe Gatta-10

Foron Anna Philippe Gatta-9 Foron Anna Philippe Gatta-8

Philippe cruising 7C on 1st redpoint.Foron Anna Philippe Gatta-7 Foron Anna Philippe Gatta-5

Voyage – A long 7b that traverses the lip of the steep upper cragForon Anna Philippe Gatta-4 Foron Anna Philippe Gatta-3