/ caching food and marking with wands in the Alps

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Mr-Cowdrey on 06 Jun 2013
I know that when climbing in Alaska etc, caching food and picking it up later is the norm. But is it often used in the Alps around Chamonix for example?

Reason I ask is because I'm planning my trip for next year and this is one way in which I avoid carrying 5days worth of food up the Frendo.

My plan is as followed:

Day 5: Restock food, lift up to Aiguille du Midi, cache food at top of Frendo, Helbronner cable car across to Torino Hut.
Day 6: Rochefort Ridge
Day 7: N.Face of La Tour Ronde
Day 8: Kuffner Ridge, return to Chamonix.
Day 9: Rest day
Day 10: Rock section of Frendo
Day 11: Top section of Frendo, pick up cache, chere couloir on the Triangle du Tacul.
Day 12: Contamine Grisolle
Day 13: Contamine Mazeaued
Day 14: Rest day
Day 15: 3 Monts Route

Now, will it be ok to cache food and mark it with a wand near the top of the Frendo on the Midi-Plan ridge or am I risking it being pinched or removed?

Any other suggestions welcome

Cheers.
MG - on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey:

> Now, will it be ok to cache food and mark it with a wand near the top of the Frendo on the Midi-Plan ridge or am I risking it being pinched or removed?

Probably. Also your sequence will not happen as planned - they never do.
Mr-Cowdrey on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to MG: some how I don't think it will either, but we're talking 'ideal world' here. More realistically it'll be along these lines:

Day 5 - 13: Stormy weather, get drunk.
Day 14 - 15: nice weather, hungover.
Petarghh - on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey: I've heard of people stashing food underneath the viewing platforms on the midi (near to the ladders up from the cosmiques).

Also, you're gonna be carrying a hell of a lot of gear up the Kuffner, we did it with 20L packs using the bivi hut, if you do it how you plan you're going to have all the bivi gear etc from the Ronde and Rocheforte.

Take it all slower, plan for more bad days of weather, and theres tons of less crowded routes around.

Mr-Cowdrey on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to Petarghh: completely forgot about the Fourche bivi. That'll be a better bet.

And that idea is a good idea. Cheers.
GridNorth - on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey: Forget it, you are over egging this. Alaska is a wilderness. I've never heard anyone describe Chamonix as such. The places you describe are like Oxford Street on sale day.
Mr-Cowdrey on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to GridNorth: and the prize for the most unhelpful answer goes to.......
GridNorth - on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey: FFS I'm getting sick of people on here reacting like spoilt bloody children. Grow up. I was giving you good advice.
Mr-Cowdrey on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to GridNorth: grow up? Seriously? If you're not going to be helpful (and I didn't find your reply helpful, more condescending) then don't reply. The question was referring to a way to avoid carrying excessive food up a climb, not about how 'wild' the area is.
GridNorth - on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey: I didn't mean to sound condescending and for that I apologise but your plan sounds a little naive and your response offended me when I thought I was helping. Have you ever been to Cham? I was just trying to contrast Cham with Alaska to highlight how the approach for one might not be appropriate for the other. The areas you talk about are very busy.
Mr-Cowdrey on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to GridNorth: that's the trouble with writing. One person interprets it a different way. I apologize too. Yes I have been to Cham and am aware that these areas are busy. Hence the question, whether caching food is a good idea or not.
GridNorth - on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey: Well in that case I would say it's not practical. Not least because it's impossible to plan an alpine trip so precisely. I've lost count of the times I've intended to climb A and ended up climbing B which could be in a totally different area. The key to successful alpine trips is flexibility. That's based on over 40 years of alpine climbing so I trust that you find that more helpful.
Bruce Hooker - on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey:

Seriously, you needn't get angry about the replies, your plan has been treated quite kindly compared to how it might have been as it is highly ambitious... One of the most constant factors at Chamonix is that the weather and conditions - notably the height of the zero isotherm - is anything but constant. The weather changes all the time in the Summer and lightning storms are very frequent and unpredictable over more than a day or two so the best laid plans of mice and men etc.

As for the question, I think you could stash food safely but theft is more of a problem now than ever so it would be best well hidden - the problem then is finding it again :-)
Petarghh - on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to GridNorth: I would agree with this,

You need to be able to react to changes in the weather, if you plan on doing a set number of routes, you'll do maybe one or two, but if you're flexible you can adapt and travel around to slot routes into weather windows.

Heading up to the rouge is the weather is bad on the Midi side can be a great way of slotting some nice climbing in, doing routes like the cheer couloir on days where the weather is due to turn bad in the evening gives you a good option too.
Mr-Cowdrey on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey: Thanks everyone. Maybe it is slightly ambitious but it's an 'ideal world' plan and I have factored in more days for weather etc but just didn't put all the info in my post. So marking a cache is a bad idea?
jon on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey:

You'd be buggered if someone else found it.
You can do all these routes from the Torino or the Cosmiques and eat there.
The chances of getting eleven days of perfect weather on the trot are rather low. If you manage half of your proposed itinerary you'll have had a great trip.
GridNorth - on 06 Jun 2013
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey: Its worth adding that these days the food doesn't need to weigh much but you would still be carrying a stove and fuel etc. So you wouldn't really be saving that much in weight. It's also worth considering that you could end up valley bound for the whole trip or as regularly happens bailing out to a more accommodating venue. My most successful alpine trips happened once I had embraced the idea of staying in huts. It allows you to get much more done and move quickly.

One option is to camp in the Vallee Blanche. Not officia;ly sanctioned and strictly speaking illegal but pitching at sunset and breaking camp before dawn and stashing the gear has been tolerated in the past. I have heard however that they have been a little less tolerant of late.

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