I'm in Italy at the moment and planning on passing back through chamonix on the way home on Wednesday/Thursday. The weather looks good, we're fairly well acclimatized and it'd be nice to do a couple of rock routes.
We've only got one axe between us and my partner doesn't have boots or crampons, but we do both have microspikes. Does anyone have any suggestions of routes we could do? Up to about 5c -ish, bonus points for a nice summit. We were thinking about the papillons arete but unsure if the descent will be possible with what we've got.
When I did the Papillons Arete (many, many years ago), to descend we abseiled down Les Lepidopteres on the Peigne NW face which has a patch of snow below it which you need to cross to get back to the Lac Bleu where we were camping.
We didn't carry crampons because our friends who had climbed the route the previous day said the patch of snow was soft enough to cross without them. Given that we had a lunchtime however, darkness caught us up and by the time we got to the snow at around midnight the snow was frozen solid so we descended it via a sliding on our arses abseil.
It wasn't our finest hour but the point is the route can be usually be descended from without crampons one way or another, assuming there hasn't been an awful lot of snow recently making the patch longer than your ropes. Maybe the patch of snow doesn't even exist these days?
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