One week in Cham per year is definitely not enough. Climbing potential of this place is so huge that you could probably spend your whole life there and you wouldn’t be able to climb all the routes. So when leaving the town in the beginning of July, after 4th stage of The Mountain Academy, I knew I would come back. I just needed to wait for the right moment 🙂 And the right moment came in August. Together with my friend Tomek we came for 10 days with our heads full of dreams and names of big routes. Although weather was marvellous in previous weeks it deteriorated soon after we arrived. We got drenched to the bone already on the approach to Envers des Aguilles. Another storm hit during our warm-up route on Tour Verte. Then there was another one accompanied by some minor showers… Luckily a weather window appeared exactly when needed so we could send our main goal for the week – Republique Bananiere on Aguille de la Republique. The route is magnificent and a real must – 700 metres of climbing (25 pitches) on perfect granite, taking mostly impressive corners, cracks and some technical slabs! Cold bivy on the rocky ledge, starry sky above our heads and amazing sunrise over the Drus and Aguille Verte also made it unforgettable experience…
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
After tasting the Chamonix-granit in our last week of the MAC, I wanted to get more of if. As Sang and Seb enthused about the Bonatti-Tabou rout on Chandelle du Tacul we went for it! And they were so right!!! 🙂
All the best moments and feelings from last stage in Chamonix put in one video 🙂 Huge thanks to Bojan for the gopro footage.
‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ they say. Well, here’s a small sample of my favourite black and white photos from last stage of Mountain Academy. Enjoy!
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… 😉
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.