Perfect lines – Dent Blanche

The only problem with the Mountain Academy is that it is too short and the time flies… Our amazing week passed really quickly and soon the second stage was over. We had a great time with lots of joy, positive energy and laughter. Happy days:) In spite of all the good moments together with Sang we felt like doing something more. Besides, a weather window like this doesn’t happen that often so we wanted to make a good use of it!

Thanks to Denise’s recommendation we decided to climb Dent Blanche. Staying for a week in Cabane du Grand Mountet we watched its north face covered with ice and snow. Although formidable and cold there was something magic about this mountain and the amazing shape of it got stuck behind our eyelids. We just couldn’t resist temptation… Shortly after saying goodbye to everyone we moved to the neighbouring valley called Val d’Herens. On the same day we hiked up to Bricola – an alpine meadow where we camped for the night. From this place we had a perfect view on the South ridge – our route for the next day.

The ridge was pure fun – not technically difficult and in perfect dry condition. Since it was Monday it was also very empty – we just met one other team. We started much lower than normally so they were already descending when we entered the proper ridge. For the rest of the day it was just us and the beautiful mountain of Dent Blanche. It was one of these days when you feel so called flow. The state when everything’s going well so you just enjoy the climb and wish it could last forever;) Unfortunately the climb ended and we reached the summit but then again we would just sit and endlessly enjoy the view… Obergabelhorn, Zinalrothorn, Weisshorn, Matterhorn, Dom, Taschhorn, Monte Rosa massif, Mont Blanc massif – there was EVERYTHING 😉

Although our day was quite long we made it back to the hut just on time for the beautiful sunset over the summit of Dent d’Herens and surrounding peaks. For a moment we discussed the possibility of climbing it on the next day but it turned out to be too long and difficult to approach it from our hut. Instead we decided to spice the things up a bit and try the West Ridge (also called Ferpecle) of the… Dent Blanche again! The first thing in the next morning we knew we made a good choice;) It was a long and very demanding climb – no wonder it’s not that popular as the normal route. Even before reaching the proper ridge we had to negotiate some tricky glacier and traverse the scree field with tons of loose rock. The ridge itself wasn’t much different! The major problem we had was the loose rock and some ‘disposable’ holds as I like to call them. A few times they slipped from our hands and we also got hit by a few stones. Apparently the route is not that often attended by climbers and therefore it doesn’t get ‘clean’. Apart from the loose rock we also had some difficulties finding our way, especially in the lower part of the ridge. Since there wasn’t much in-situ protection we just weren’t sure where to go. A couple of times we opted for regular pitch climbing instead of moving together. This definitely slowed us down but on the other hand it increased our comfort. Another advantage was that we could enjoy the beautiful starry night above our heads where descending…

Since I wanted to go light&fast for the West ridge I didn’t take the camera with me. Anyway it wasn’t much time for taking pictures. You just have to believe we climbed the route. And you do, right? :DDD

After a huge meal and a long night to recover we packed our sacks and went down into the valley. Our next objective was still vague but the direction was obvious – Chamonix! For me it was to be the first visit there and I was dying to see it. As expected I fell in love with the place and definitely need to get back there next year. If anybody’s planning to go there just send me an e-mail and we can arrange some climbing together ;)) Anyway, after arriving to Cham it turned out that we had only half a day of good weather. There was no way to climb anything bigger, not speaking of Mont Blanc. Instead we went for some multipitch Piola’s routes in Chezerys sector (Aiguille du Rouge). Soon after we rappelled to the base of the cliff the first rain started pouring. As we were leaving Chamonix the sky was already crying a big tears…

But we didn’t want to cry. We wanted to enjoy the rainbow that comes after the storm. And the rainbow was deep inside us:) It slowly started with the beginning of the second stage and it grew bigger and bigger all this time. But we needed it even bigger! We were still hungry for good moments, nice climbing, warm sun and friendly people. So we stopped at Aude’s place where Sang got attracted by the idea of going to Vercors for the weekend. I admit I was also tempted by the vision of climbing La Paroi Rouge or Pillier Livanos but my friends were already waiting for me to do some rock climbing in the sunny crags of Spanish Margalef. So we split, I hit the road again whereas Aude and Sang decided to visit Diois… Now, it’s time for your story guys 😀

Check out also the first part of my pictures!




3 thoughts on “Perfect lines – Dent Blanche

  1. Patryk, I love the pictures but… I am really enjoying reading your great words. Thank you for sharing with us!! I can feel your enthusiasm in your story 🙂

  2. weaving through crevasses, front-pointing during the approach, digging some dirt away with our fingers to create new “disposable holds,” smear those big mountain boots, a few (rusty) pitons and not such a fat rope… left, right, or straight up? the only way was up the ferpecle ridge! good spirit, patryk, & good adventure with perfect sunsets! see you soon

  3. Pingback: Gear and apparel review | The Mountain Academy 2

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