Capucino Grande

 

Capucino Grande, please…

When we woke up at three o’clock and look at the Bojan’s bed, it was empty. Where the f*** is that crazy guy. We were lucky when we saw him lying on the floor in front of our door. Yeah its true that our roommates were maybe two winter sleeping grizzlies, their inhuman snoring was crazy

Quick breakfast and let’s go. We still didn’t know if it will be possible to climb our goal – Grand Capucin. Because the wind and weather forecast wasn’t the best, we decided to change our plans a little bit and instead of the Bonatti’s route we decided for the shorter Swiss route (TD+, 6b A0, 300m).

Head lamps on and we started walking in freezing cold night, starry sky and kinda strong wind still. When we got closer the wall, wind wasn’t so breezy  anymore and we decided to go there and give a try.

In the wall the temperatures were low and we were waiting for the sun for a long time. Respect for guys (Asper, Bron, Grossi, Morel) which in 1956 went with courage for this wall. For sure they were inspired by Bonatti, which in 1951 found this perfect piece of granite interesting and made there the first beatiful and strenuous line.

Our ascent was much faster than firstascentist’s for sure, but with modern equipment it is not surprising at all. After few metres in crampons we left our ice stuff on the ledge and continued just in boots next two or three pitches, then we start climbing just in climbing shoes and after 4 hours we reached the summit of Grand Capucin.

We liked the most the third and seven pitch which are really nice thin cracks and it was a  pleasure to climb them.

So after we enjoyed the summit view and took some photos, we started the abseiling quickly because the wind was getting stronger.

It was perfect trip with perfect guys and our video shows you that I’m right 😉

Climbers: Luca Blanchet, Milos Kalab, Bojan Hribernik
Text: Milos Kalab
Video: Bojan Hribernik

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Grand Cornier – a one day trip?

During our week of TMAC in Zinal, Cabane de Grand Mountet, just next to the Dent Blanche, there was this very interessting looking ridge of Grand Cornier. That’s where I decided that this was a ridge I would like to climb once.

So this weekend with a friend of mine we decided to go for it. So we started in Ferpecle on Saturday morning at around 10am. Walking up and up…always looking at the amazing Dent Blanche, I climbed last summer. On the way to the bivouc du col de la Dent Blanche we were stopping for a little rest and had a look on the map. That’s where we realized that we were acutally on the patch which was supposed to go from the valley directly to the summit. With some friends of ours, just walking behind us, we decided that we could go directly to the summit instead of going to the bivouc. So this was the plan…

Walking, climbing, scrambling, passing some huge crevasses…we were on the way to the summit. After around 2100 high meters, 7 hours from the bus station, with 4l of water and lunch for 2 days in the backpack we arrived finally very happy on the summit.

The descent was just nice, with the sunset on the glacier we arrived to the Cabane de Moiry. After some beverages we were hitting the last bit of the day direction down to the vally with our headtorches.

Traverse of Grand Cornier, SW-ridge up and NW-ridge down in 12 hours. What an amazing and unique mountain experience!

Thanks to Steffi and Janick, Michi, Fridli, Dominik, Ivo

on our way up, Dent Blanche

SW-ridge with Dent Blanche

Michi enjoying the Spaghettis from my mum (which were supposed for the bivouc)

Just happy

Steffi…yeah, you are a amazing climbing mate!!!

sunset atmosphere on the glacier

little yosemite in cham

For the last two days of climbing in Cham I teamed up with our newbie Charlie 🙂 Initially we wanted to do a route on Dent du Geant  and then famous Rochefort ridge on the next day. Unfortunately weather forecast wasn’t good – a very strong wind basically made any high altitude activity impossible. Climbing a needle as tall as Dent du Geant would be a bit of Patagonia experience. Feeling not so ready for this we decided to change our decision and we chose an area called Envers des Aiguilles. In French it means ‘the other side of the needles’ which is quite funny cause I always thought that Courmayeur was on the other side of Cham… 😉

no need to rope up on this flat and not-so-cracky part of mer de glace

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brévent – c’est magnifique

after three days in a row of climbing we felt it was a good idea to pick some shorter and less demanding goals for day four. some journalists joined us and we wanted to show them how life and tmac is, so we chose the brevent area with some quality sport and trad lines. dave – chief editor of climber magazine – climbed with us and we had a chat about what we do at tmac while dave was taking a lot of action pictures.

Three, two, one, BASE! A jumper dives, shouts and flies his wingsuit all the way down to the valley. His buddy follows closely. Their diving board is situated on the very top of the Brévent in the Aiguilles Rouges. Our route called Ex Libris happened to be ending just underneath this diving board. It was pretty surprising and even a bit scary to suddenly hear and then see two men flying by, while negotiating the final pitches of medium quality rock. The first three pitches of the 150 m line were superb though: a beautiful corner crack – no bolts, no pegs (only bolted belay stations.) Manu was continuously teasing our man from Argentina; Milos and Isabel clearly enjoyed this trad style of rock climbing too.

coming down after a full day in the sun, the heat in the valley was immense! later in the afternoon some went for refreshing ice cream and then on to ohm – the mountain guide office – in the centre of chamonix where we were used all the available resources as guidebooks, maps, weather forecast etc. to make a plan for the next day (and maybe even overnight locations). stay tuned to see if our plans worked out.

carlsberg don’t do alpine faces, but if they did…

so it cleared up overnight. finally. one could feel it before waking up in the tent – it was a bit crisper and most of all brighter than previous mornings. it was the weather window we all had been waiting for. charlie, our new team member based in the uk, wrote a story about his day.

“my introduction to alpine rock climbing could not have been better. isabel and i, along with our guide neil, did a route on the south face of the aiguille du midi called rebuffat. it’s an alpine classic and found why today. it starts just below the midi station, once you pass the narrow snow ridge it’s an easy walk to the base of the wall. the wall itself stands pround 200 metres from the base of the vallèe blanche and anyone walking past this point for the first time can’t help stopping and starring at it. i did that exact thing nearly three years ago. i stopped, stared, and thought…wow… i would love to climb that one day. now i have and it was fantastic. the climbing itself was very interesting, lots of cracks of all sizes, with some slabs to mix things up. the weather was glorious, warm but not too hot – just comfortable and the sky was very clear so views from the belays took us into switzerland and italy. isabel’s great attitude only added to the day’s fun and neil’s experience allowed me to focus on enjoying the day not worrying about safety. it was an incredible experience and something i will look back on with fond memories for a long time.”

on midi in the mist

we woke up in damp tents which felt very far away from 35°C the day before. the clouds had pulled in overnight but we headed up aiguille du midi, keen to get some time in on higher altitude – so some of us went for the petit charmoz traverse, which was originally climbed back in 1898! since the weather forecast was vague we decided to go for a short run close to the cable car station. although climbing was fairly easy and route finding seemed quite obvious we found some really tricky parts. you know how it is: with wet rock and mist all around even easy bits can get difficult! fortunately our tip-top guide seb taught us a very valuable lesson of ‘knee climbing’ and body jamming:)  having learned these techniques we spent the rest of the climb on mastering our new skills.

the other two groups went up on the classic cosmique arête and cosmique spur. “i’ve always been told that the cosmique is very, very nice – now that I have climbed it all i can say is i ‘guess’ it’s very nice as we couldn’t see anything. it was a fight against rock climbing in these conditions” aude says. “we were hardly able to see our friends on the routes close to us so the experience was really interesting.”

aude’s buddy for the day, sang, continues by talking about his view from eperon des cosmiques (south face of the aiguille du midi). “although thick and very wet clouds shrouded the mountain all day, still the climbing on perfect granite was a lot of fun. Impressive to see how all the guides cruised up in their big mountain boots, while we happily changed to rock shoes. the guides also gave us some technical advice on glacier crossings, belay stations and efficient progress along a ridge of rock and snow.”

all in all, not bad for a rainy day really.

tomorrow looks like a clear day for once, the kind of days we’ve all been waiting for – let the adventures continue!

four seasons in a climbing day

so with continued unsettled weather in chamonix, we sorted out the camp and cruised over to the other side of mt. blanc – we went to the aosta valley reassured by our guides who said with an italian accent: “don’t worry, it’s always sunny there”.

we were glad he was right as it turned out to be amazing conditions. no people around, warm and sunny and with brilliant routes. we split the team in two, one for an easier slab route and the other with more vertical and less obvious grips. the advantage with climbing with mates you’ve climbed with before is less faff deciding who goes where and who does what. it kinda comes natural to everyone what to do, and we all save time and climb more. it’s a good team.

this stage was supposed to be all about “snow & rock” on altitude, but aosta as plan b was not too shabby for a first day – despite a puncture on our way back. the weather would clear up slightly overnight so our alarm clocks are now set on 5.40am, and we’re set towards 3800m and aiguille du midi, hoping the weather is on our side again!