Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Modica Noury and the Valley Blanche

Toby and i got an 8.30 tele freak up the Aig du Midi and skied over to the start of Modica Noury on Mont Blanc du tacul. This is a 500m III/5+ or hard Scottish V route. We had about 45 mins of good visibility which was just enough to make us sweat out our breakfast on the approach slopes and turn the snow in the sun to porridge.

A Norwegian team (the owners of Climb Inn at Rjukan) were having a nightmare getting over the bergshrund. Toby levitated up the vertical mush 10m to their left and so we squeezed in front. The ice was in excellent easy condition with many hooks in place that the axes can just be slotted into, however two sections are thinning out to what the French might call 'mixte' but what Brits still call bomber ice climbing. We moved together and strung several of the pitches together and pitched a couple. The quick abseil descent down the line allowed us to ski the Valley Blanche to the terminus of the Mer de Glass from where we walked down in the rain to Chamonix.

I couldn't get any pictures of the other routes as we were in a white out with snow fall for most of the day. Albinoni Gabarrou, Pinochio, and the Super Couloi were climbed yesterday but i think that folk are starting the super Coulior up the Gervassuti pillar now. A report of an ascent of the Eugster Direct on the north face of the Midi from last week reported it to be in hard mixed condition. A team is staying up at the midi to try another few routes and another team is up the Argentiere glacier seeking out those elusive 1000m+ Td or above routes!

Its currently lashing it down in Cham now so it's back to the planks this afternoon and probably for the rest of the week

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