Alps - July 22nd-28th 2004

The Chamonix Aiguilles & Mont Blanc

Thursday 22nd: Arriving in Chamonix to baking hot sunshine I shoulder my (far too) heavy pack, check out the weather forecast at the tourist office and walk into Les Praz to take the Flegere telefrique to the Index station.

The Col de Balme

The sight of the Index is just too tempting and I dump my sack, put my harness on and solo the normal route, happily finding that the abseil is just 30m!

The Peigne from the Red Pillar of the Blatiere

I sort out my bivvy bag and then chat to 3 french people in a nearby tent and watch as they try to get a small fire going in the stiff breeze.
Later in the night I wake to the beautiful sight of the star studded heavens and the dark outlines of the mountains around me before falling back asleep.

The Argentiere & the Chardonnet from the Aiguille du Tour

Friday 23rd: After pointing the french in the direction of the Chappelle de la Gliere I head off to the col du Crochues to do the traverse. It's extremely hot and my heavy sack doesn't help. (On the way I meet Celine Cheval who invites me to join her and her boyfriend Mark Austin to climb with them during the week). Finally reaching the gully up to the col I find it packed with steep snow which demands some care to reach the col.

The Glacier du Tour

As I traverse the ridge the sun disappears and a cold northerly wind starts blowing, bring drops of rain. It holds off until I begin the descent but quickly turns into the forecast thunderstorm and I'm drenched by the time I reach the Lac Blanc hut. I book a place for the night, have a hot chocolate, a shower and then sit on the veranda as the skies magically clear to blazing hot sunshine!

Justin on Nabot Leon

Saturday 24th: Late to breakfast and I sit there watching rain steadily falling. I decide to walk down to Chamonix and check out the weather report and go as far as the Flegere station with three cheerful italians.

The slab pitch on Nabot Leon

The weather forecast is good and so I walk into Argentiere to meet up with Mark, Justin and Celine before going to the climbing wall at Les Houches and then a 'quick' beer afterwards in Chamonix!

Mark on the final stretch of Nabot Leon

Sunday 25th: Justin and I meet Mark at the Midi telefrique and we head off from the Plan station to the Red Pillar of the Blaitiere where we do a splendid route called: "Nabot Leon" (TD, 180m) with a few variations and an interesting abseil descent. Back to the telefrique and down to Chamonix for a beer (or two...)

The Table Couloir on the Aiguille du Tour

Monday 26th: After sorting out what gear we want to take Celine and I head up to the Albert Premier hut and have a pleasant walk there with plenty of time to reconnoitre the start of our route

Celine at the first top of the ridge with the Table de Roc below

Tuesday 27th: We head off at 4.45am to the Aiguille du Tour but miss the turn-off for the Table de Roc ridge, finding ourselves at the bottom of the superb looking Table Couloir route (PD). We can't resist it and happily head up it to gain the ridge. Looking back along the ridge we see the Table de Roc.

The Table de Roc & the Table Couloir

A nice ridge scramble to the summit to find lots of people already there, a few photos and then down off along the normal route back to the hut for midday!

Celine at the summit of the Aiguille du Tour

Wednesday 28th: A gentle walk back from Argentiere to Chamonix via a high level path in the woods on a very hot day to get the coach back.

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