/ Red sentinel or Major in winter.
┐Someone has climbed it?
I want to take 6-7 ice screws, 1 set of friends and a set of nuts.
Enough or too much hardware for a winter conditions?
How long we can take from the fourche?
Your climbing was in winter conditions?
Slings and pitons are essential of course, but do you think I should leave friends and take more nuts?
What about The Major, is just as good as the guides say?
Maybe I'm not supposed to take this seriously but the reference is to the Brenva Face of Mont Blanc, not Carn Etchachan in Scotland.
I can't tell you what they're like in winter but I did both of them in summer long ago. I thought the Major was much the better route, harder but safer and in a spectacular position. The only difficulties (apart from crossing the avalanche gutter in the Great Couloir) were a thrutchy rock pitch (UIAA V, some in situ pegs) at the start of the final buttress, followed by an easier but icy chimney, then a short steep serac wall a few rope lengths higher up. The Sentinelle had easy-angled scrambly rock on the twisting rib, then soft snow over 50-degree ice to reach the easy upper slopes; it's very much a moving-together climb but ice screws could be useful for runners.
Ok, I think the Major is better too.
What do you think about the hardware for the final buttress and the serac?
How many pitches can we expect? One for the buttress and 2 or 3 for the serac or less?
Is possible to use ice screws in the icy chimney or better with friends?
Thanks for all!
For route major I would take a couple of turf hooks, some hexes, a set of nuts, some friends and some slings. I wouldn't take any ice scews.
Ive climbed the route at least 5 times and ive never seen enough ice to warrant an ice screw.
BIG TIP. in the middle section the traverse right is father than you think. Keep going and if you see a load of tat at the top of a groove chimny, this isn't the way. It is the way lots of people go and then lower off the tat. keep on rightwards and round the corner you will see the line that leads back left at its top.
Someone else who didn't look at the 4 older messages!
Being in the 'winter climbing' climbing forum threw me slightly. I then thought, Ben Nevis and then I realised my mistake.
Oops, my fault for trying to be helpful.
I knew because the original post was written using a Spanish typewriter, with the upside-down questions marks.
Sorry James, I am referring to Mont Blanc Major's!
Cams hadn't been invented when I was there (1969!) and I imagine all we had were a few slings and karabiners, one or two nuts (= large wires or small hexes), 2 or 3 corkscrew ice screws, and a few pitons in reserve. I've located a slide of the crux pitch and it looks to start with a finger crack and end as a chimney with a chockstone. But I also see that the 1990 AC guidebook describes an alternative, more mixed, way up the final buttress.
Surely somebody on UKC has done Route Major a bit more recently? Or maybe Luca knows which way people climb the final buttress these days?
Hi John, season's greetings. Returning to topic, the top of the Major looks safe in a DSLR photo I took from the TMB in September 2011. I'll post a crop in my profile.
The Red Sentinel is almost totally abandoned because of the presence of enormous seracs threatening most of the route.
Route Major has seen some traffic in the last few years, as the slope near the Brenva spur that collapsed in '95 is now passable in decent snow conditions (and the upper serac above the last rock barrier normally in decent conditions. Everyone I've spoken with who has climbed it says it's an excellent route, however, the passage of the Great Couloir is still a dangerous proposition, and retreat after you've crossed very unlikely
Required gear - not much - there's enough protection on site in the final barrier. Few ice screws and a three or four medium size cams will do.
Good news for me. We need to take too much weight (tent, sleeping bag, mattress)because you know, is a long route and in winter conditions we need to be cautious.
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