Saturday, September 4, 2010


The summer's pretty much over, and here in Cham things have finally cooled down and are starting to look autumnal. I haven't really been up to much big stuff this summer minus the odd excursion. Instead i've tried to dedicate my time to work and training, unfortunately the working part wasn't as productive as i would have liked!!....

Looking a little beasted (and snotty) on Mont Blanc summit after a 2hour 50 run to the summit. A good cardio session.
Freney Pillar about a month ago.

Most of the "work" over the last 4 weeks has been towards a trip to Cerro Torre in Agentina this November. It's been a real steep learning curve trying to seek corporate funding. Its hard to perfect a proposal in such an effective way that some desky in a plush office many miles away will find it interesting enough to read and be generous with his/her annual marketing budget. You can't help but feel a bit cheeky as well, asking for a lump of cash for a project which to a climber is fascinating and exciting, but to 99.99% of the world is more dull than scrabble. However, when you're climbing with a professional photographer and SLR camera these projects start becoming more appealing to people.

Cerro Torre
 Anyways, its in the hands of the gods for the time being, with proposals in the post and fingers crossed. Its blatantly gonna be a credit card job.....

Mental pain
So things are starting to cool down. Autumn's great in the alps. Winter conditions but less brutal temps and longer days make it THE time for big and fast stuff. Its the official Jorasses season, and i expect over the next couple months i'm gonna be walking up to the base of the north face more often than i should to watch it progress. (looking a little dry as of a week ago).

     Jon Griffith and myself kicked off our autumn yesterday with the Boivin/Vallencant (aka Cechinnel Nominee), a beautiful line up the grand Grand Pilier on Mont Blanc's south face. Its a route we'd both wanted to do for a while, the elegant linking ramps which form the meat of the route entice the eye whenever you're at the Col de la Fourche.

North face of the Blanche De Peutrey and the Pilier d'Angle, the Cechinnel takes the linking ramps on the lower part of the pilier then the fatter ramps higher up. The first 200 metres is hidden. Then the skyline arete to the summit of Mont Blanc, (off the picture).

After a 3 a.m. start we completed the awkward and loose raps off Col Moore and played a little russian roullete with the Brenva seracs before we crossed the triple Bergschrund and located the initial ramp. We soloed and simul climbed the whole route apart from a 10 metre easy aid section at the crux, which was bare of ice. After breaking a trail up the final 150 metre snowfield we reached the top of the face 4 and a half hours after starting. Chuffed with our time we carried on plowing a sometimes deep trail up the upper Peutrey arete for another 600 vertical metres until the summit of the Blanc. We raced down the three monts and made it down to the midi before last lift- Ahh chamonix's great!

Me in the early light.

Me about to start the crux.

One of the easy upper goullottes.

The route's in great nick apart from the crux, get on it!

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