Help Out Our Expedition With Two Clicks!

Want to help out our expedition? Easy! For every Facebook page like that Mountain Drop-offs gets between now and the 16th of October they will be giving us 1 Euro towards the Trip!  Myself, Gavin and James have been working for Mountain Dropoffs for a few years now and they have decide to help us out with this amazing offer. So please please please like and share the page linked bellow to help us get out to Himalayas!!  Did I mention you will also be in with a chance of winning some Julbo Sunglasses!?! Whats not to like?? 😉

Click on the image bellow to go straight to the Mountain Dropoffs Facebook Page!!

Biding Time

This autumn has been a bit of a washout so far.  I’ve not heard of any big routes being done on any of the big faces as it’s either been too hot, wet, windy or snowy to make going into the mountains for a big route a sensible thing to do.  It has given me the chance to focus on some other aspects of climbing and also given me time to get stronger and fitter through numerous Drytooling and Sport climbing sessions and the odd foray to the ever fruitful and reliable Tacul Triangle.

Sending my M10 project at the Zoo after numerous falls including one where I had my finger through the chain!  Photo, Ross Hewit

Me and Ross bundled up for a blustery day on the Tacul Triangle. This was the first time Ross had been in the mountains for 4 months. So I thought we’d do something easy to warm up…….

James Clapham on point on the First Pitch of Les Temps est Assassin on the Tacul Triangle. Photo Ross Hewitt.

Myself on the 2nd pitch. When this route is in good ice conditions its apparently a grade 4 romp. As you can see from the photo the tide was well and truly out and all that was left was a verglased corner crack which took neither cam nor hand nor tool very well.  I was left high and dry so to speak. Ahem.  Still, it made for a great fight and I was pretty happy to finish it off after nearly falling off several times along the way……Scotty tech 8 maybe? Photo Ross Hewitt

So all in all not much to report in the mountains apart from there is a lot of snow and most things should be in pretty good condition due to the freeze thaw cycle and the snow limmit being around the magic 24-2700m mark. I’m feeling pretty primed and ready to go as soon as the weather gets good!!

I Leave you all with this… for those of you who haven’t heard or seen what myself, James Clapham and Gavin Pike are off to try this autumn here’s the best photo we have so far……

Talung, in far Eastern Nepal, stands at 7349m and is yet to receive a successful ascent of its north face despite a few very strong Czech teams making attempts. Myself, James and Gavin hope to make an alpine style ascent of the prominent 1800m North Pillar. Fingers crossed for a good trip! Photo Copyright Billy Roos


I must admit that my absolute least favourite month in Chamonix is August.  Its super busy, super hot and the Glaciers are usually at there most open making getting around in the mountains dangerous and tedious.  Strange that its also the most prolific time for alpine climbing with ques on all the popular routes and big routes seeing rare ascents (like  Calum Muskett and Paul Jenkinson on Divine Providence, good effort lads!).  I however have been working…… working some more and occasionally getting out for the odd rock route in the Aiguille Rouge on my lunch break or a sport climbing session in the baking heat.  This is all soon to change and its been great to get out in the past week and rack up some millage…..

Soloing the Super classic Mani Pulite with the index chairlift below on a three hour lunch break.

I had a super fun day on my own climbing routes around the Col Du Midi on wednesday.  I  started in my typical third bin fail way and headed straight over to the traverse of Pointe Lachenal to kick things off. After this I headed up the Contamine/Grisole on the north face of the Triangle Du Tacul which was in really good condition and gave me the first chance in a very long time to use my nomic’s which made me very happy indeed. The normal route on the Tacul looked like one giant windslab so I opted for the Chere Couloir rapels to get back to the col.  The Chere had a few teams in it and Jeff Mercier and his partner were climbing the Perroux Gully (just to the left of the chere, see Jeff’s blog here) so I was being peppered by ice on the way down, as to be expected. I had originally wanted to solo the Chere but decided against it due to the ice that was coming down so headed over to other side of the col and started up the short section (not sure what its called) of ridge that finishes at the Cosmiques Refuge.  Unbeknownst to me you have to take your boots off and walk through the hut to get to the start of the Cosmiques Arete proper.  I got some funny looks from people sunning them selves at the hut terrace as I less than gracefully took my boots off and flopped over the railings.  I also got momentarily lost finding the way out of the hut which in hindsight is pretty funny, but in my defense I had never been in there before!  I hadn’t been up high for a while (maybe three weeks) and the altitude really hit me when I started to climb the initial slope up the Cosmiques Arete so I was suffering hard on this part of the day but I finished off my journey in a 6 hour round trip feeling like I had had a pretty good work out!

Good to have the Nomic’s back on the bag!

Starting up the Cosmiques Arete with the Traverse of Pointe Lachenal to the left of my head and the Tacul Triangle to the right.

Showing the first half of my link up on the Col Du Midi.

Thursday saw me and Ally head out to Gietroz, an amazing sport climbing venue just up the valley from Chamonix for a leisurely half day working on Reve de Senge a super classic 8a which I have wanted to get on for a while.  I was surprised how well I got on with it and I hope that I can finish it off before I head out to the Himalayas this autumn, fingers crossed.

Today I headed out with Mike Thomas for a fair well Aiguille Rouge climb-a-thon (the Flegere lift system closes after this weekend) that saw us climb a total of 1000m of excellent quality rock up to 6a including such classics as the south ridge on the Index and Manhatten on the Lower Bastion of the Grande Floria.

Mike Thomas climbing the penultimate pitch to the summit of the Grande Floria. The index lift station looking pretty small below!

On the last pitch of Fraise des Boatchs on the Grande Floria.

The Dru and the Nant Blanc face. More Ice needed for the Dru Couloir but the Nant Blanc looks good to go.

All in all a fun week had by all and psyche is very high for this coming period!!  With less than 6 weeks left before we depart for Nepal its high time it got cold so we can all get out and play on the north faces!

Current Conditions Chamonix side

After the big snowfall of last week the north faces are looking a bit fresher but more snow wouldn’t go a miss.  The Colton/Macintyre, Shroud and Croz/Slovienian all look pretty good right now so as soon as it gets cold would be worth a go.  The Desmaison/Gouseault could do with more cover lower down but you could nip in from the top of the Shroud crux. Not sure about harder routes on the Jorasses right now.

Not much ice in the Cham Aiguille north faces or the Tacul East Face Goulottes.  The top of the Droites looks good but I haven’t seen the bottom of the face so can’t comment on whether its possible to do the Ginat or Colton/Brokes etc right now (anybody been up there?). The Tacul Triangle is pretty good right now as is the North Face of the Tour Ronde.  Not enough ice on the Midi north face right now but too much to make the Frendo not viable.

All the south facing rock is clear enough and its fairly warm so the Envers Des Aiguilles would be OK still.  Not sure about the Italian side of the Massif right now.  Any reports of the Grande Pillar d’Angle north face would be welcome as I’d personally like to climb it this autumn!

Hope this helps. Feel free to message me about routes your interested in and i’ll try and help you out or point you in the right direction.