Hey all, looking for recommendations for routes in or near Chamonix that I could manage in a single long day.
I'll be on my own so no glaciers is a must, however I'm looking for something that's a little bit more than just a hike..
Plenty of things to do - what sort of adventure do you want, and at what sort of difficulty? The Via Corda Alpina would make a low stress solo for example if you're happy and confident on granite slabs. 600m of broken climbing and scrambling at no harder than 3c, starting in the valley finishing with a great view of the Drus and up the Mer de Glace.
Chamonix high street, 500m, PD+ (Pretty Dear +).
Required gear: harness and mountain boots (to be worn at all times), extra large wallet.
Safety precaution: warn your bank prior to setting off on route.
Description: lots of moving together and short pitches through gear shops. If you are going quickly you can stop for lunch at Maison du Burger, but careful you don't take too long, it's a long and tiring trudge back to the campsite past all those closed shop-fronts if you are too slow.
Serious answer: depends what you are happy soloing! The crochues traverse in the aiguille rouge is PD+ (4a oblig) and has a fair amount of solo 'ticks' on UKC. It's not a route I've done so I can't comment on difficulty/commitment level etc. and certainly when I was considering it a few years ago I'd have gone with partners/ropes/gear (https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/aiguilles_rouges_haute-savoie-2038/traversee_des_crochues-54400#overview)
Other option: hiking from first station of the Midi or from the top of the Brevent.
Poco Loco, surely?
What grade can you solo? If mild VS, try NNE Arete of the Aiguille de L'M. Can be done easily from Montenvers station and back in about 6 hours. You can ab back down the route and avoid having to go down the loose descent and onto the Nantillons Glacier. Nothing harder than mild VS although some bits are 'a bit polished'! A worthwhile route for anyone wanting to try out Cham granite.
Without more info about ability that is my best guess.
Move from one overpriced cafe to the next via overpriced boutiques while waiting for the rain to stop and the cloud to lift. Then drive somewhere else!
Nah, Midnight Express Fromage Fritte Baguette
Or, slightly easier, traverse of the Petits Charmoz?
I personally think the NNE Arete of the Aiguille de L'M is kinda tricky to solo, especially the wide corner crack pitch. It's D 5b **.
The south-east ridge of the Index might be better and shorter, however you need rope(s) to abseil off the end of it. It's AD 4c ***.
The Petits Charmoz Traverse AD 4c ** is a good shout, however watch the nasty Nantillons glacier is notorious for firing down fridge sized boulders late season. You're only ever on dry glacier and simply skirt the side of it, but take care.
The Traversée des Crochues PD+ 4a *** is probably the easiest route to solo.
The Aiguille de L'M and Petits Charmoz are a sizeable walk-in from the Montenvers train. The Index is literally a few minutes from the top of the Index lift and the Traversée des Crochues not a huge amount further. Good luck!
> Plenty of things to do - what sort of adventure do you want, and at what sort of difficulty? The Via Corda Alpina would make a low stress solo for example if you're happy and confident on granite slabs. 600m of broken climbing and scrambling at no harder than 3c, starting in the valley finishing with a great view of the Drus and up the Mer de Glace.
As an extension to this if you went up the Flegere lift, followed the signs from the top to the Via Ferrata and did that, continue on up the Via Corda as mentioned before. Take a rope for the abseils though.
The top of the via Corda is near the top of the Index chair, walk across to Lac Blanc and continue along the balcon eventually dropping down to Col des Montets, then walk back to Argentiere through the woods and get the bus back to town.
Different via corda (the Via Corda Alpina that I'm thinking of is on the other side of the valley), but doubtlessly another fun possibility.
Thanks for the input everyone. Via Corda Alpina is the plan.. Perhaps if I've got time afterwards I'll remortgage the house and go shopping. I've heard the Arc'teryx store on the High Street has very reasonable prices
I wouldn't solo the NNE arete of the M. It's well committed with a tricky crux (the offwidth / slab). Probably VS if you are used to the style. And a complex descent...
I'd go with the Crochues traverse in the Aiguilles Rouges.
It shouldn't take you more than a couple of hours if you're not dawdling and you don't get stuck in queues, so if that didn't leave you fully sated you could always hop on one of the slightly shorter routes next door, at close to the same grade. Then there'd be no question of whether you'd earned your top-out beer or not
Your profile suggests you have mostly top roped single pitch climbs and soloed some Mods and Diffs. Have you climbed any snow / do you have the equipment for snow? So whilst all the climbing routes mentioned above are great I cannot recommend them for you. The Crochues Traverse has only a short section of climbing around Diff / V. Diff but lots of extremely exposed scrambling ground and depending on when you go may have snow in some sections.
Alternatives could include:
-Le Buet, a lovely 3096 metre easy peak
-Take the train to Montenvers and descend the ladders ( can use via ferrata kit if not comfortable soloing them ) and then explore the dry Mer de Glace glacier.
- Le Belvedere has only a very short section of climbing around Mod / Diff ( likely to be some snow on the approach )
- Do the Crochues in reverse, starting from the col de Dards, and turn around when required ( likely to be some snow )
- Walk up to the spectacular Albert Premier hut and explore the ground behind the hut ( snow patches at the start of the season )
- Take the lift to the Brevent and do some of the spectacular little scrambles along the ridge heading towards the Index ( snow patches early in the season )
I had a fun long day from Chamonix a couple of years ago, soloing all 3 routes on Les Mottets - first Via Corda Alpina (mentioned by others above), then Voie Caline, then Princesse, so that each route was slightly harder than the previous one, though still nothing above 4a. Caline is the best and most sustained of the 3 routes, Princesse feels the hardest to solo with an exposed slab on the penultimate pitch, but is less sustained. Corda Alpina has a more rambly less serious feel compared to the others. All three are worthwhile. The starts can be a bit fiddly to find with lots of tracks through the forest, some unmarked...
They are all well bolted, so route finding is generally just a case of follow the bolts, though they can go missing for a bit on easier walking sections. There's a nice buvette at the top if it's open. Think it took me about 13 hours in total - not hurrying especially - I stopped at the buvette for a drink or two after each route ;-), starting and finishing in the centre of Chamonix, on foot. So I guess it depends how long a day you want, but certainly you could consider doing more than one of these routes.
If you preferred something with a more mountaineering feel - getting to the top of a peak, good options include Aig du Belvedere, Crochues Traverse or maybe voie normale on Aig de l'M.
I would just drink beer. Well, drink one beer. During happy hour. That would be most of the holiday budget gone...
This Alpine Conditions page gives a summary of what is being climbed at the moment, what is 'in' nick and what the prospects are...
In this video, Anna Hazlenutt and friends tackle the stunning Liathach Ridge Traverse, one of Scotland's great scrambles.