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Best Alpine routes

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Continuing the theme from the rock and winter forums, what are people’s suggestions for the best Alpine routes (anywhere in Europe)? Given the different types of route and the variety of grading systems, I would suggest doing this by type of route rather than grade. Feel free to add other categories.

Of course there’s no ‘best route’ really, I’m just interested in people’s suggestions - the ticklist is long enough but there’s always room for more!

Mixed north face - still haven’t done it but The 1938 Route (ED2) is perhaps the ultimate in this category. However there must be plenty of other big, bad mixed routes out there - Nant Blanc face, Grandes Jorasses (perhaps *the* place for hard mixed - No Siesta etc), the Drus (Lesueur, Lafaille), perhaps obscure stuff in the Ecrins (Ailefroide NF?) and things further afield - Triglav, Tatras, even Norway? 

Mostly rocky north face with a bit of ice - Walker Spur (ED1 6a) would be my suggestion.

Icy north face - The Ginat (ED1 5) or one of its neighbours? This one got away from me yet again this year, this time due to the lockdown...

Snow face - all a bit samey so hard to choose, perhaps Lenzspitze or Obergabelhorn (not done them so just going by how they look), though Gran Paradiso is pretty good.

Big rock face / ridge - West Ridge (ED1) if that counts as Alpine as opposed to just a rock climb in the Alps (borderline to my mind but it’s certainly long enough), otherwise of the stuff I’ve done Cassin (TD) but there’s bound to be better stuff in the Ecrins (Meije SF?) and then there’s Central Pillar of Freney (ED1 5c) and Divine Providence (ED4) which would probably scoop the prize. Some of the stuff in the Dolomites is certainly big but not really Alpine in terms of approach etc.

Short(ish) rock route with an Alpine approach - something on the Grand Cap probably, I’ve only done the Swiss Route, which was great but would be interested to hear about any even better routes there or elsewhere.

Mixed ridge - Peutérey Integral (ED1) is the ultimate and deserves its own category really but what would you suggest for one day routes - plenty of candidates in the Valais I guess.

Snow ridge - Biancograt (Norh Ridge) (AD), though arguably not as spectacular to climb as it looks; even better when combined with the Piz Palu traverse.

Technical mixed - a crowded field, would be Birthright (ED1) of the ones I’ve done (better than Beyond Good and Evil (ED3), put it that way, though that’s another brilliant route) but would be interesting to see other suggestions.

 Fergal 29 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

I have done many of those, a few omissions, the Super couloir such a class and historic line, Pinnochio is a fab modern classic and the Terray Rebuffat/ Rouse Carrington although now superceded by Beyond in difficulty is still a modern classic that was a harbringer of this style of Alpinism. 

For me personally the one  that really stands out is the Central Pillar of Freney, the Tragedy, the commitment required on the highest peak, that massive walk in from Val veni, such a beautiful line, as a mountaineering adventure it has everything, i grew up reading about Chris Boningtons exploits and this first British ascent really captured my imagination, a dream to be up there on sun kissed  golden granite following in my hero's footsteps. 

In reply to Misha:

You have probably covered many of them there, Misha. As Roger Webb said, in another thread, they are so people and time dependent. I must have done 50 + Alpine routes in the European Alps  over the last 35 years.

But the last Alpine route springs to mind. A beautiful quiet day on the Nadelhorn ordinary route with a good friend and neighbour. A total novice, he was blown away by the whole experience. With a cold, clear northerly wind, the view of the Dom, Matterhorn and the distant Mont Blanc was stunning. And a night in the Mischabel hut, run by the loveliest guardian in Switzerland to cap it all.

Alpine routes are the best of all.... 

 gooberman-hill 29 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

Hmm, big emphasis on the North-ness of faces here, and on the harder routes.

I'm going to add a few (mainly) easier ones (and confine it to routes I have done, not ones I'd like to do!). 

Brenva Spur (Gussfeldt Start) (D- 3) - the easiest of the Brenva face routes on Mt Blanc. South(ish) facing, but a really big step up in commitment for most people. Some rock/mixed stuff at the bottom, the snow ridge blending into the face, then the crux through the serac barrier at the top.

Traverse of the  Cime Saint Robert, via the West Ridge (AD) descending by the North-East Ridge (PD+). A lovely little outing on a fantastic airy ridge and good rock. Always exposed,but never too hard, it is a little gem perfect for less experienced alpinists

Eperon Demenge (D+). A brilliant sunny rock route in the heart of the Alpes Maritimes. The climbing is consistently good, both up the big corner in the lower face, and then particularly on the exposed upper portion of the spur. If you like climbing on the big Scottish crags (Shelter Stone, Carnmore, Skye) then you will love this!

Cordier Pillar (TD 6b). Classic Chamonix granite climbing. You can do it up and down in a day, but it is a long day. The top section is particularly good, and the crux is pretty much the top pitch (either an overhanging offwidth, or a thin slab to the right). Just brilliant!

Steve

In reply to Misha:

So much depends on partner, weather, conditions etc. For me some of the most enjoyable at lower grades have been

Grivola NNE ridge

​​​​Aig Bionassay traverse 

Schreckhorn normal route

Eiger Mittelegigrat

In reply to gooberman-hill:

I’ve tried the Cordier twice, once defeated by conditions (one of those days when we shouldn’t have tried the route in the first place, you live and learn!) and the other time by weather and my partner’s stomach bug. May be I’ll get up it third time round...

In reply to MG:

Good shout for the Bionassay. The full Royal Traverse from the Midi to the Conscripts or the other way round must be quite a journey. 

In reply to Misha:

I abandoned this halfway between Dome de Gouter and MB due to a cold penis!! 

1
In reply to Fergal:

Yeah Supercouloir and Pinocchio would be right up there in the high altitude technical mixed category (not done Pinocchio but heard great things about it; have done Scotch on the Rocks just to the right, which was great but not as long / sustained, so can imagine that Pinocchio is even better). Omega on the Petites Jorasses sounds pretty special as well.

In reply to MG:

Had to read that twice to make sure I hadn’t misread!

In reply to Misha:

All true! 

 Tim Davies 29 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

Kuffner arête must get a mention, if not for the climbing then for the photo shoot location ? 

 Fergal 29 Mar 2020
In reply to gooberman-hill:

The Cordier pillar is an excellent excursion, not sure where the 6b tech grade comes from though.

 Fergal 29 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

Always wanted to do Birthright after reading Twights article, from your pics it does look excellent, never got the conditions, back then it would have been the first repeat.

 Sammo 29 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

Nice suggestions!

The NF of the Ailefroide is superb, but it belongs in the same category as the Walker (i.e. mostly rock with a bit of ice), rather than the Eiger.
 

Also in the Écrins, I’d include the Couloir Chaud (icy gully leading to a spectacular hanging glacier) and the traverse of the Meije (mixed ridge), both of which are excellent.

In reply to Tim Davies:

I’ve not done the big Valais AD ridges but suspect they’re more interesting than the Kuffner, though it’s a nice enough route. 

 walts4 29 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

So difficult to narrow this down to singular routes of any particular style as every alpine route is so special & so rewarding in so many different ways. Sometimes its the company or the shear effort required just to get to the start, the history, the purity of the line, so many factors making up the mix regardless of the difficulty. Even the amount of time & years spent lusting, waiting for the right partner, conditions have to added into the mix.

The ones for me, in the Western Alps that stand out ,have already been mentioned other than the Preuss.

The Bionnassay traverse, solo from the valley floor during a small weather window to experience perfect traverse conditions, sublime.

The Freney pillar, again. The location, the history, the ambience & also for the company.

Aig Savoie, Preuss ridge, amazing understated ridge with an amazing summit viewpoint, brilliant route.

In reply to Sammo:

Great suggestions. Would you say the Ailefroide NF is similar in quality to the Walker? Hard to get info on the Ecrins, though I’m told that there’s a new mixed climbing guide out. Proper approaches!

In reply to Misha:

The wonderful Innominata Ridge (D+ 3+) ought to feature as the most amenable route up the wildest part of the Alps' highest and finest mountain.

 Red Rover 30 Mar 2020
 Al Randall 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

Walker Spur and Frendo Spur both stick out in my mind for the quality of the climbing. The Rebuffat on the Sface of the Midi is also good but I never really thought of that as a true "Alpine route"

Al

Post edited at 10:20
 Guy 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

Rebuffat on the S face of the Midi is one of the best Alpine cragging routes.  As you say it isn't exactly an alpine route but it is in an alpine setting.

1
 davkeo 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

We've lots to go back for! Kuffner is a very enjoyable outing, particularly if you go on to Mt Blanc but the Meije traverse would be my favorite of the long alpine mixed ridge type climbs I have done. It felt like the complete alpine journey through some amazing terrain & scenery. I think the Arbengrat/Zinal Rothorn from the Arben biwak would be a fantastic trip. Taking in the Weisshorn would rank this higher still on any list.

In Norway, the Vestveggan/Vesteggan combination would just about top any of the big rock face / ridge routes I have done in the Alps. 330m and 250m routes linked by a 300m ridge scamble on an iconic national peak. The Cassin on the Piz Badile is every bit as good but climbing during the midnight sun is just something you don't experience very often and would be hard to beat.

The 1938 route, the Ginat, the Peuterey & the Freney Pillar are all top of the list for reasons of history, length, logistical & personal challenge. 

In reply to davkeo:

> I think the Arbengrat/Zinal Rothorn from the Arben biwak would be a fantastic trip. Taking in the Weisshorn would rank this higher still on any list.

It is.  I almost put this on my list above.  Getting the Weisshorn would take some doing - the Obergabelhorn is in between!

 Rob Parsons 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Guy:

> Rebuffat on the S face of the Midi is one of the best Alpine cragging routes.  As you say it isn't exactly an alpine route but it is in an alpine setting.


I was shocked to read (in another recent thread here) that, since I did that route in the late 80s or so, the level of the glacier below it has dropped by about 100 feet or so - which now makes the start of route the most difficult section.

I know that global warming is having a serious effect on alpine glaciers and ice, but I hadn't appreciated that it was happening so high up.

 jon 30 Mar 2020
In reply to MG:

The Arbengrat is on the Obergabelhorn, Martin. The crux would then be getting to the Schallijoch Bivouac from the Zinal Rothorn... and then of course the Schalligrat itself... and of course then the almost 3500m descent.........

Post edited at 10:59
In reply to jon:

Yes - of course - otherway round.  

Post edited at 11:02
In reply to MG:

I did really rate the Arbengrat.

 rif 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran: Yes, the Innominata has to be one of the best mountaineering routes in the Alps. Just along from it, N face of Aig Blanche with continuation up the Peuterey arete to the summit was equally excellent. Brenva spur and Route Major also very good, Sentinelle less so.

Back in the 1970s there were lots of excellent D- to TD+ snow/ice north faces in the Alps that could be climbed in summer. Ones that stand out in my memory include Grosshorn, Gletscherhorn, Eiger (Lauper), Triolet, and Aig Verte (Nant Blanc face, Charlet route). 

Two excellent routes in the Valais that I don't think have been mentioned yet are the Liskamm traverse (surely one of the best PD ridges) and the Younggrat on the Breithorn (comparable to the Kuffner).

Rob F

 Rick Graham 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha

> Mixed ridge - Peutérey Integral (ED1) is the ultimate and deserves its own category really but what would you suggest for one day routes - plenty of candidates in the Valais I guess.

The most glaring omission in the one day predominately rock routes category is the south ridge of the aiguille noire de peuterey.

Good rock throughout without the logistics of the integral.

I did in in a fairly dry year, 1992.

Being non glacial , I would surmise that it will be little affected by global warming.

The only other alpine route mentioned that has comparable rock in the mid to high altitudes is the cassin on the badile.

Let's face reality , most alpine routes are choss juggling as opposed to the ledge shuffling of trad.  Its the situation and the line through doubting terrain that makes it all worthwhile .

 Red Rover 30 Mar 2020
In reply to davkeo:

Are you talking about Vestveggan/Vesteggan on Stetind? I think Norway is under-rated in terms of the big rock routes. You can climb 1,2 or even 3 km long rock routes on good rock without seeing anybody else all day.

I found a route on the logbooks with 53 pitches!

Nordvestkammen (n6)

Post edited at 11:53
 Sammo 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

> Would you say the Ailefroide NF is similar in quality to the Walker?

 

Yes, I’d say the quality overall is similar. The climbing itself is better on the Walker, but there are many fantastic pitches on the Ailefroide too, and the whole face feels wilder and less travelled than the Jorasses. Both are among the best alpine routes I’ve done. 
 

The descent from The Ailefroide is a bit of a crumbling horror though! Unless you’re very fast, I’d recommend enjoying a comfortable bivi near the top and tackling the descent next day.

 Guy 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Having watched recent ski vids which had the south face in the back ground, I can say the snow level hasn't dropped anywhere near that far.  It has dropped maybe 15-20ft since I did it in about 1992.  I think it had dropped before that because the guide didn't quite tie up with what I was looking at so maybe 30ft since you did it?  I thought the start was the harder than the grade given but not quite the crux.

Post edited at 12:11
 Rob Parsons 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Guy:

Let me see if I can dig out the report I referred to ...

 davkeo 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Red Rover:

Yes thats the one. The NF of Stetind is vast and the route you mention would be a hell of day or 2.

 Guy 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Rob Parsons:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHzuPn-UNrE&list=LL6qc4AFAyv_wfVfjGxtJr0A&index=2&t=0s if you pause it at 1.52 in, it shows the face nicely.  This was two winters ago.

In reply to Red Rover:

> Are you talking about Vestveggan/Vesteggan on Stetind? I think Norway is under-rated in terms of the big rock routes. You can climb 1,2 or even 3 km long rock routes on good rock without seeing anybody else all day.

Ever since I first saw Stetind, it has been one of my dream routes to climb the North Pillar Nordostpilaren (n6) through the night in the arctic sun. It does seem to be difficult to get it dry though (see only note by a friend in the logbooks) with snowy ledges at the top of it. Need to do the West Ridge too.

 Rob Parsons 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Guy:

The report I was referring to is at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15230430.2019.1612216 (and was linked from the thread https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/expedition+alpine/rebuffats_100_finest_routes_on_mont_blanc-716373)

It shows a 25m drop in the glacier below the South Face between 1987 and 2018. I am assuming the comparisons are done for 'late Summer' levels. So, not quite the '100 feet' I suggested above, but shocking - to me - neverthless.

 Guy 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Yep that is shocking, it's also more stealthy than the overtly in your face shrinkage of the Bossons glacier.

 sgl 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Sammo:

> Yes, I’d say the quality overall is similar. The climbing itself is better on the Walker, but there are many fantastic pitches on the Ailefroide too, and the whole face feels wilder and less travelled than the Jorasses. Both are among the best alpine routes I’ve done. 

I’d echo all of this. On the Walker you stay in the Leschaux the night before, there are probably multiple teams (2-3 others when we did it) and you can see the hut all the way up. On the Ailefroide you prob see no one after you drop off the moraine path on the Glacier Noir. You then climb up and over a chossy col and bivvy below the face. You can’t see any civilisation until about 2/3 way up when the Temple des Ecrins refuge appears miles away in the distance. I’m pretty certain we had no phone reception (13 years ago so prob changed). It felt much wilder and more committing. Neither descent is trivial either.

In reply to Rick Graham:

The Noire S Ridge is great but the descent... never again!

In reply to Misha:

Would it be as bad if you had ascended that way first (the S Ridge being out of range for me)?

In reply to Sammo:

One to add to the list! Is it reasonably solid? My only other big route in the Ecrins is the Barre des Ecrins S Face and that’s definitely not entirely solid...

In reply to sgl:

Yeah having no one else around always adds to the challenge. Somehow, despite good conditions, when we did the Walker the only other team on the entire face was a strong team on Manitua. The big stuff in the Ecrins is always going to be quiet as you say - part of the attraction!

Anyone done anything on the Olan? Seem to recall reading ‘interesting’ feedback...

Post edited at 15:34
In reply to MG:

I wouldn’t really recommend the normal route on the Noire. It’s got very little technical interest and lots of loose rock. Cool summit though! I guess if you go up it you’d know the way back down but route finding wasn’t a major issue, it was more the looseness. We unroped for a lot of the way as it wasn’t worthwhile moving together due to lack of gear. You’d want a rope for a few abseils though and I guess there would be some climbing on those sections on the way up. I’d say do it if you want to tick the summit. 

 Gripped 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

One of the best ridges I have done in the Alps has been the North Ridge of the Weisshorn - it's nicely inescapable, has a spectacular finishing snow arete and we had the whole mountain to ourselves when we climbed it. Its possibly one of the finest peaks in the Alps too.

 Albert Tatlock 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

I thought it was quite reasonable, it just goes on for bit but the route finding is okay. We had forgotten the photo copy of the description which perhaps helped.

Post edited at 17:38
 Rick Graham 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Albert Tatlock:

> I thought it was quite reasonable, it just goes on for bit but the route finding is okay. We had forgotten the photo copy of the description which perhaps helped.

Yeah, the descent off the noire seems to divide opinion, I thought it was straightforward with good rock.

Used the piola topo , which was accurate.

Piola did not cover the lower section so here used the ac guide.

This was only accurate in retrospect, hard to follow on the hill.

Lucky with good weather, the east ridge would a mare  to get down in a storm.

 TonyM 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

Perfection in alpinism, for me, is riding a striking knife-edge ridge to the heavens. 

For proper Alpine routes without extreme difficulty, I'd nominate the Royal Traverse of Mont Blanc and the Traverse of the Grandes Jorasses (with Rochefort Arete). Beautiful on both a micro and macro scale. The exposure, the views and the significance of the summits all combines to deliver an over-dosing jolt of "it's phenomenally good to be alive to savour this experience".  

There's lots of subjectivity as the context matters: where you're at, the people you're climbing with, and whether you can get to experience the route in isolation. Both of those traverses we had to ourselves, which (for me) added to the satisfaction).

Third place would go to: S Ridge of the Aiguille Noire. The baby version of the Peuterey Integral must be one of the best and fullest daytrips you can pack in. While the descent is horrendous, it is kind of obvious from one look at the Noire that (short of bolting an equipped abseil piste) getting off the mountain is going to be intricate.  I've not done the West Ridge in the Salbit, so can't compare the climbing, but surely nothing can beat the alpine scenery of the south side of Mt Blanc.  

On others mentioned 

- Ginat - good climbing on the headwall, but the crowds ruined it for me. Even though we finished on the Droites summit rather than at the breche, the route loses marks for lack of pointy finish, and uninteresting descent. NE spur direct would beat it?

- Likewise Terray-Rebuffat and most of other modern classic winter lines. They're goulottes. Enclosed, cold, lonely and spindrifty. Technically interesting, often type-2 sense of accomplishment. 

- Grivola NNE ridge - great on a macro-scale, spectacular views, escape from the crowds and entertaining hut. Pointy. But the ridgeline is hard to follow closely, and the rock is poor (which tells in the descent).

In reply to TonyM:

> > - Grivola NNE ridge - great on a macro-scale, spectacular views, escape from the crowds and entertaining hut. Pointy. But the ridgeline is hard to follow closely, and the rock is poor (which tells in the descent).

Also note the approach slope to the interesting hut fell down a few years ago. Not sure of current status.

In reply to Rick Graham:

Good rock? May be you were on a different mountain!

 HansStuttgart 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

Ridges in Wallis:

Rothorngrat

South ridge of the Grand Cornier

Rock face:

Gervasutti on the Tacul

Snow ridges

Liskamm

Rochefort

In reply to TonyM:

I’d say the Westgrat has better climbing but the Noire is more Alpine in nature, though both have their share of Alpine shenanigans such as having to do a few abseils while going over seemingly endless towers and both have non glacial approaches and descents.

In fact if I were to do the Noire again, I’d probably take approach shoes and comfy rock shoes, which is what we used for the Westgrat even though it meant wet feet on the snowy descent. On the Noire, we were going for the Integral but got thwarted by weather, so had big packs with food etc and climbed in big boots. The opposite of fast and light!

Post edited at 20:40
 Airtime! 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

I think the Westgrat is one of the best Alpine rock ridges I've done. Very different to the South ridge of the Noire which is much more serious. For quiet rock the stockhorn s ridge aka the cinq tours is on excellent rock and away from the crowds.

In the Valais I'd give another vote for the arbengrat traverse into the Rothorngrat then North ridge of the Zinal Rothorn. The section from here to the Schalijoch bivouac the next day (wild and unfrequented) into the Weisshorn. 3 of the most beautiful peaks in the Alps... For a long out of the way mission the Mont Rouges de Triolet. 

East ridge of Monte Viso is worth a mention in the Alpine ridges list as well as the Diable on Tacul. Meige traverse too. 

I didn't see the Gervasutti pillar mentioned above, well worth the effort. Although it's slightly less Alpine as it's non glaciated État du Choc on the Petit Clocher du Portalet is one of the best routes I've done. 

There's so much good stuff to do. That's me kept busy until the end of my days. Thanks, a pleasant diversion while locked down looking at the mountains out the window! 

 Rick Graham 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

That could explain it.

Soloing down easy granite slabs and steps  in big boots and a heavy sack is never going to be pleasant.

Just used  comfy rock boots all day , dry feet at the end if a little sweaty.

Had the advantage of going up the point  gamba a couple of days previously so could see that all the route and descent was snow free.

 Airtime! 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

Nice story on the Noire. Not unheard of! 

For a great adventure the NW intégrale on the Aiguille du plan is pretty special. 

Up the Peigne then Carmichael over the Pèlerins. A lot of specialness to the base of the Deux Aigles then over the top to the Plan. Finish up the midi plan. It's been done lift to lift by mercier. We didnt make the lift! 

Post edited at 21:10
 Albert Tatlock 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Airtime!:

Stockhorn - beautiful  but long walk in , great space ship style hut and fantastic route.

 Sammo 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Misha:

> One to add to the list! Is it reasonably solid?

Yep, it’s mostly solid, especially on the harder pitches. Not as solid as the Chamonix classics, but by Écrins standards it’s quite compact and certainly better than the S Face of the Barre! My main memory is of good, adventurous climbing in a wild location. Be prepared for plenty of choss on the descent, though!

In reply to Sammo:

Thanks. Reading about it on C2C, seems that a bivvy at the top may be advisable.

The straightforward descent by moonlight off the Barre was very welcome after the S Face - I did enjoy the route after a fashion but not one I’d do again! I recall that the Oisans Sauvage guide book described another route further right on that face and basically said it’s lethal so don’t do it!

 Jasonic 02 Apr 2020
In reply to Misha:

https://www.camptocamp.org/routes/54936/en/mont-dolent-arete-gallet-en-traversee

Thought this was great at a moderate level- traverse of the Meije also but think a bit has fallen off !

 HammondR 03 Apr 2020
In reply to Jasonic: high on my ski mountaineering wish list.

 HammondR 03 Apr 2020
In reply to Airtime!: when me and my chum Jonny climbed the Gervasutti Pillar in 1990 or 1991 it was a full on experience and a big deal for us. That year the Midi lift was shut for fitting a new cable (not for the last time). As a result it was a relatively unique experience for late August. Didn't see another soul from setting off to getting back to Helbronner.

It was as memorable as I could stand.

Most outstanding route for me was the North Face Direct of the Aiguille du Plan. 1987 with my good friend Dave the Wimp. Planned Bivvi at the top of the rock section. Full on Scottish V brittle ice in the night to get onto the hanging glacier (led by the aforementioned wimp), and a perfect runnel of ice all the way up through trouser filling seracs. It was also about at my physical limit, so clapped out at Montenvers, missed the train, and staggered down the tracks in the dark to town. Big nosh up at the Dahu the following night.

looked at the slides recently and the most striking thing is how white and snowy the mountains were back then. The Midi and Mont Blanc don't look that pristine now in winter.

In reply to HammondR:

I was recently looking at some my Kodachrome slides of the Alps in 1971 - and what really struck me were the same things: the extents of the glaciers, the whiteness of the snow, and the blueness of the sky.

 Liam Talbot 04 Apr 2020
In reply to Misha:

It’s got to be Mark Twight’s “F**k the Entire Universe, Who Are Losers but Don’t Know It” on Les Grands Tombés in Chamonix. Probably undergraded at VIII, WI7 A5+ 5.15c M22X.

His trip report is amazing. My favourite line is:

An enormous chunk of ice slams my right shoulder, breaking my arm. I now have only one arm to climb with. As the pitch begins to overhang by 45 degrees, I have to do one-armed dynos with my left tool to ever smaller holds with no feet. I move up thirty feet on no gear, then grab my tool with my teeth so I can use my arm to put in a screw. “Eat my ass, Will Gadd, Raphael Slawinski and Stevie Haston,” I mutter through a mouthful of tool. “THIS is mixed climbing.”

OK it’s not a real route, but the parody of Twight’s ‘Kiss or Kill’ on the cascadeclimbers.com forums is a level of p**s taking us Brits would be proud of. Well done that man!

Full write up:

https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/29411-twark-might/

In reply to Liam Talbot:

Ah, the good old days. You tell that to kids these days and they’d never believe you!

 alpinist63 04 Apr 2020
In reply to Misha:

Westridge of Salbit has way better and more sustained climbing in my opinion than the Noire south ridge, though overall the Noire is way more alpine, as on Salbit there are abseil routes on the south faces of some towers. the descent is also pretty straightforward. 

An other route which is definitely one of my favorites: South face (Allain) of the Meije followed by the traverse. This adds a nice element as you go down the other side of the mountain and adds a more alpine feeling, really nice outing.

 llanberis36 06 Apr 2020
In reply to alpinist63:

What is the consensus on the north face of the petit dru now 

Is it worth while 

Just planning for next summer 

In reply to llanberis36:

Not really a summer route any more - too much rockfall. Obviously depends on weather and conditions in any given year so you might get lucky, especially very early or very late season, but I’d opt for more solid mountains in the summer, as well as going in the first half of the season.


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