Sunday, January 30, 2011

Col du Plan Couloir solo.

I thought i'd better make use of the excellent boot track currently running up to Fil a Plomb. Arriving at the Midi mid-station on third or fourth lift i walked up to the west face of the plan with a few options in mind. I bumped in to a couple of friends mid-way through the walk and had a chat at the schrund before we went our separate ways. Random occurences like this are an excellent way to blunten nerves which are usually working the mind hard before setting off on a solo.
     In the end it was an easy decision what to go for, as most lines on the west face were pouring with spindrift. I traversed in to the gully of the Col du Plan Couloir from about 100 metres over the schrund. The climbing was on the whole fairly nonedescript. Mostly annoying deep sugary snow covering granite slabs. After a short mixed section past a chockstone at maybe scottish 4 i began tunneling through deep deep sugary snow to reach the hanging glacier which makes the top third of the route. After a quick shout across to the others on Fil a Plomb, who were being pummeled heavily by spindrift, i plodded up the last section which is mainly 60-70 degrees, with some disgustingly brittle black ice to finish.
       The weather deteriorated significantly in the 2 hours i was on the route. By the time i reached the col on the midi-plan traverse it was getting hard to stand up on anything exposed to the southwesterlies. I then crawled/walked up the remaining kilometre or so of the midi-plan and up to the midi, by which time my eyes and eye-lashes were firmly welded shut by wind and spindrift.
     The route's not that great really, an ok line but loose and scrappy climbing, doubt it gets done much. But a good morning nonetheless.
 Here's some shitty phone shots-

Some random topo I got off google images. The green line is the route. Obviously this shot is in summer though.

Olaf and Magnus setting out on Fil a Plomb.

Looking up my route at half hight, (rotate 90degrees anti-clock!)

Looking frosty, why does one nostril always freeze faster than the other?
Soon i'll have a proper camera again........

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