/ Aiguille Du Midi route in April

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Sam29 on 15 Mar 2011 - d515324BE.access.telenet.be
Hi,


Does anybody here have experience with the Arete de Cosmiques route on Aiguille Du Midi in Winter? Or knowledge of the condition? Are ski's necessary to go from the cable station to the cosmiques hut? And is the climb from the cosmiques hut back to the station (via the Cosmiques arete) much harder in winter conditions, or pretty much the same?

Assuming good clear weather that is...

Thanks in advance,

Sam


Petarghh - on 15 Mar 2011
In reply to Sam29: ask in the guides office in cham ?
smithaldo - on 15 Mar 2011
In reply to Sam29: depends on snowfall, in feb people were walking from the midi to the abri simond hut and on to chere colouir, and routes as far away as goloutte non-stop then back to the hut. I imagine this got to be a royal pain in the ass after the recent snow falls and there can be alot at the end of march into april.

but you 'should' be o.k. walking down to it.

there will be more snow on it maybe, but again, not if there hasnt been alot of fresh stuff. it will be harder under snow.
Sam29 on 15 Mar 2011 - d515324BE.access.telenet.be
In reply to smithaldo:

Thanks for the information! I'm not used to climbing in winter. Is it generally true that snowfall is higher in march/april than february?

Or is this just this year's phenomenon
jonnylowes - on 16 Mar 2011
In reply to Sam29:

first off, i havne't climbed the route yet, but doing it in July so I'm gathering a lot of beta myself...so i could be wrong on this, but so far this is what i've managed to figure out

yes annual snowfall in the winter is considerably more during those months, making progress by walking difficult. there will also be unstable weather patterns during this period, what sort of window do you have for making your bid? I would recommend at least a week, two would be more suitable.

the hill is very very steep from the cable car to the bottom of the route. there is a very informative video on youtube if you search aiguille du midi. its by a yank, and he is climbing but not on the arete, though you'll get so good info from this. i wouldn't have thought ski-ing it would be possible.

as with most alpine routes, i'd imagine this would be a much more serious undertaking in the winter compared with summer, i'd say add two grades. have you done simmilar, like winter asecnt of tower ridge etc?

hope that helps and doesn't come across as trying to put you off - thats not the intention! please let me know how you get on. and good luck. cheers.
lowersharpnose - on 16 Mar 2011
In reply to jonnylowes:

Routes are not necessarilly more difficult in winter.

I have done the Cosmiques Arete when there has been plenty of snow.

IIRC all the rock difficulties were covered in snow and were straightforward with crampons and axes.
chris bedford - on 16 Mar 2011
In reply to Sam29:
Did it a few years ago at Easter. Snow shoes to the base (light, easy to carry up the route). If anything found it slightly easier than in the summer - especially the steep wall near the end which was nicely banked out.
Jon Bracey - on 16 Mar 2011
In reply to Sam29: The Cosmiques gets climbed all winter long in fine weather and is the same difficulty as in summer.
smithaldo - on 16 Mar 2011
In reply to jonnylowes: the initial slope out of the tunnel is indeed steep, but when the vallee blanche is being guided it is protected by ropes and posts either side, like when people are put in lines to queue for a rollercoaster.

people walk down with skis and put skis on when it finishes at a flat col.

Not sure when this rope is taken down usually, but it isn't there in summer

because of this, if you are worried about the steep way down it is probably less serious in winter, as the man who knows says, it is climbed all year round. Do it when the forecast is settled and you will really enjoy it.

Its less likely to be rammed in april as well.
stevev on 16 Mar 2011
because of this, if you are worried about the steep way down it is probably less serious in winter, as the man who knows says, it is climbed all year round. Do it when the forecast is settled and you will really enjoy it.
>
if the steep slope concerns you then the Cosmique Arete will be fun. The slope is steep down form the Midi, but it's just an intimidating walk, there is worse exposure on the top of the ridge. Once you pass the crux and switch to the Cham side of the arete there are much bigger drops.
smithaldo - on 16 Mar 2011
In reply to stevev: I realise this but i think its the straight into it factor on the midi ridge that gets alot of people. You are in a nice sheltered cable car and then bam, out into the mountains... by the time you get on a route you are used to the mountain exposure etc so I think are 'warmed up' for it.

The fact you have done a few pitches by the time the big exposure comes on the ridge and that you are roped up with gear will make it feel alot less intimidating.
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John Cuthbert - on 20 Mar 2011
In reply to Sam29:

There is currently 40cm of fresh snow outside the Cosmiques Refuge, according to Ohm-Chamonix.

Right now you would have to wad to the base of the ridge if you did not have skis.

Some 7 days or more ago, you could have walked..

Al this illustrates is that these routes are condition dependent. There is no substitute - I repeat no substitute - for knowing the prevailing conditions.

JC

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