Spring 2020 in France was a strict 2 month lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I didn’t see a soul for 55 days except for the gendarmes policing the lockdown outside my house, freely handing out fines to the unfortunates for minor misdemeanours. As soon as lock down lifted I went back to my spiritual home in the mountains with my friends and skied the North Face of Aiguille du Midi. What joy to be back skiing after a 2 month hiatus. The post lock down season would be a short one for me with the lift only open at the weekends and a massive project on a scale that was hard to comprehend drawing all my energy. However we made some nice days, Tacul, Gervasutti Couloir, Contamine Negri, and Col de la Brenva to finish the season. Soft spring snow made for relaxed skiing and some cloud in the Brenva Cirque made everything feel very atmospheric, oh an a massive rimaye at the bottom made for an exciting exit onto the debris cone. The slog back up the Valley Blanche in desert heat wasn’t so fun but the bars were open that night for the first time and the cold beer never tasted so good.
Fabulous adventure climbing Sorenson Eastman with @lukedavies_outdoors. Beautiful delicate thin ice plastered on steep walls akin to Labrynth Direct in Scotland. I’ll warn you that the rimaye is more than a bit spicey 🌶🌶🌶
Fun outing to Rebuffat Terry the other day with @digitalsteak. Unfortunately from the first lift we didn’t quite beat a slower team that started from the refuge and so after a couple pitches in the upper runnels we went home. All good training.
Sustained crack climbing after the easy intro pitch was the order of the day. A beautiful burly route on fantastic granite.
Me on the 6b warm up pitch.
Gareth seconding the 6b warm up pitch
Gareth engaging the 6C P2
Burly laybacking approaching the belay
Bulgy with a gravelly mantel onto the belay ledge
My view as I weigh up the physical layback and foot smears that lie ahead
And the view down from the belay
Gareth arriving at the belay after the crux 7A pitch
A German team behind starting off on the crux
Pulling hard on finger locks here.
Wooden wedges on the final traverse pitch
Indurain for me is the best of the Trident route with varied climbing on splitter, flakes, laybacks and grooves. So good!
Me on the initial warm up 6b pitch with required a forceful approach with a toasted body from a hard days cragging the previous day.
Gareth on the diagonal crack
Grovelling around in the offwidthSpanning out to the layback flake
Burly moves onto the belay ledge
Gareth departing on what I though was one of the finest crack pitches in the massif. A fine 6C hand crack heading up right.
Gareth fully engaged in the hand crack
Nearly there, on the steeper bulge at the top
Me on the groove 3rd pitch
Me on the crux 4th layback pitch
Looking down the layback pitch, Gareth’s white helmet just visible
The top 5+ pitch, a bit gravelly but the final 6th pitch is worth doing and takes you above Bonne Ethique’s ab line.