/ Rock routes around Chamonix
The book you refer to is just that - crag climbs, not long mountain routes. I assume the above poster is referring to the Aiguilles Rouges guidebook (vol 1). http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/book.php?id=554 This gives you loads of suitable routes with short approaches. All these, in fact: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=2038
For the best valley climbing in the area the Vallorcine valley is much better than the Chamonix valley.
Thanks, I will get hold of that guide. Can you recommend a guide to the Vallorcine valley, and is it an ok drive from Chamonix?
An easy drive over the Col des Montets from Chamonix. Although there's other easily accessible rock in the valley the Barberine/Giétroz massif is the prime venue; Jon's is the definitive guide to this area, which, being a modest chap, is probably why he hasn't given it a plug.
Second all Aiguilles Rouge recommendations and add: if you fancy a climb in the Chamonix Aiguille for your "something in the mountains", one that meets all your criteria is Arete des Papillons on Aig. du Peigne - short approach, about 300m, (but felt a little longer to me) easy and quick descent.
A bit of a drive but easily do-able in the day is the Miroir d'Argentine at Solalex. A unique climbing experience in a beautiful valley with a lovely descent walk and a perfect restaurant beneath for the post climb beer! OK it's a very slightly longer approach and descent than you specify - but you can't have everything!
It takes exactly 20min to drive from Chamonix to Vallorcine (up through Argentière and over the Col des Montets). It's also very convenient on the train if you don't want to drive (assuming work on the Montets tunnel is finished by summer, though a good bus service is in place until the work is finished). By the way, if you stay in the Chamonix or Vallorcine valleys, public transport is free on the production of a Guest Card which you can get from the campsite or hotel you are staying at.
The two main areas to climb in Vallorcine are the Vallorcine slab (Rocher du Saix) and the crags of Barberine and Giétroz above the French/Swiss border at the lower end of the valley. The former has the easiest routes up to three or sometimes four pitches and the latter a large selection of all different styles and lengths on perfect rock.
Further to my earlier comment I have a nineties French version of what's become Crag Climbs in Chamonix - same authors and publisher. Bought it in Chamonix years ago and never used it. Could send you it for a fiver to cover postage and a pint for me. On reflection, at the price I paid for beer tonight, that'll be half a pint! Let me know if that's any good to you.
Thanks for the replies; I will check all this out.
Cheers Martin, but I have a 2011 one on order.
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