/ Red sentinel or Major in winter.

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fcy5 - on 22 Dec 2012

┐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?
┐Any advices?

Thanks!
crowberry gully - on 22 Dec 2012
In reply to fcy5: I don't remember us using any ice screws on Route Major. The Battlements were iced but it wasn't thick enough for a screw. You will need lots of nuts and slings and you might want a few pitons.
fcy5 - on 22 Dec 2012
In reply to crowberry gully:


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?

Thanks man!
Andy Nisbet - on 22 Dec 2012
In reply to crowberry gully:

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.
rif on 22 Dec 2012
In reply to fcy5:
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.

Rob F
fcy5 - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to rif:
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!
James Edwards - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to fcy5:
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.
James e
Andy Nisbet - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to James Edwards:

Someone else who didn't look at the 4 older messages!
James Edwards - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
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.
James
Andy Nisbet - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to James Edwards:

I knew because the original post was written using a Spanish typewriter, with the upside-down questions marks.
fcy5 - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to James Edwards:
Sorry James, I am referring to Mont Blanc Major's!
Thanks anyway!
rif on 24 Dec 2012
In reply to fcy5: > What do you think about the hardware for the final buttress and the serac?

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?

Rob



jcw on 24 Dec 2012
In reply to rif: As I understand it, the Major and indeed much of the Brenva face has dropped out of the scene since massive collapses of the upper sections that made it vey dangerous occured (at least 20 years ago).Whether that risk is attenuated in winter conditions I do not know. I too would be interested to know what the present state of play is (I did it in 1974). The problem then was the ice barrier above the final rock buttress.
rif on 24 Dec 2012
In reply to jcw:
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.
Rob
jcw on 24 Dec 2012
In reply to rif: Hi Rob and season's greetings. Yes, but there was a huge fall somewhere ages ago that threatened access and also left a vast loose scar. I remember looking at it shortly after and have understood that the danger had more or less put an end to what was one of the greatest Alpine routes.
Luca Signorelli - on 24 Dec 2012
In reply to fcy5:

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
Luca Signorelli - on 24 Dec 2012
In reply to fcy5:

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.
fcy5 - on 24 Dec 2012
In reply to Luca Signorelli:
Fantastic Luca!
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.
Thanks!

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