/ Best Alpine Areas for Long Rock Routes
I'm thinking of heading to the Alps late July early August sort of time. Looking for long rock routes to around uk VS / D+ (on trad gear) or F6a+ on bolts, although if anything either not sustained at this grade or a slightly easier overall grade. Primary interest is trad climbing.
It would be handy if there was both day trip & multi day hut based climbing available. In a similar vein it would be nice if some routes ended up on the top of a summit, although abseiling back down (and not carrying axes, boots and crampons) would generally be the norm.
Which are the best alpine areas for this sort of thing. I've only been to Chamonix so far, we are tinkering with going back there again and concentrating on Envers du Aiguilles area.
However it would be quite nice to go somewhere else and chamonix has had a lot of snow this winter / spring and is also exposed to more changeable weather than some of the more central / southern alpine areas. Also many of the trad routes are not super accessible for day trips up from the valley.
Grimsel/Handegg/Furka. Tons of routes, mostly bolted though some sparingly. Lots of "cragging" multipitch stuff (warm up on Azalee Beach - more or less roadside) and then look at the longer stuff. For an easy alpine ridge route with a real summit and easy off try the Gross Furkahorn.
Check out Swiss Plaisir West if you can get a copy.
Yah, wamup there...
Then Salbit/Furka for a bit more serious stuff...
Or Bregalia/Bergell area.
Val di Mello side has also some nice long routes.
Do these area's have much pure trad climbing?
Any specific areas in the Dolomites? Also are most the good routes bolted or is there a mixture of trad and bolted routes?
All the big routes in the Dolomites we did were trad with the odd random piton thrown in (not necessarily on your route though!). Stances may or may not be equipped.
There's loads of sport multipitch, up to 12-15 pitches all within 30 minutes walk from the camp site. Great spot, not too crowded and some single pitch sport too.
There is also access to huts / rock routes on the Aiguille dibona and la meije.Further south too so not so much snow.
Is that the Tete de La Maye? If so I did one of the long routes there ages ago and didn't think the climbing was very special. Beautiful area put lots of wandering around on slabs where only bolts showed what the line was.
That goes for a lot of the granite slab routes in the Ecrins really. V nice place mind.
Also I'm not that keen on slabs :) Probably should have mentioned that..... Its not that slabs are out of the question just in general I'd like the climbing to be steeper than that, doesn't have to be vertical or overhanging though.
The Dolomites can be very crowded in peak season, which is when you want to go. And I would also recommend the Bregaglia. Very easy to spend a holiday there doing great routes at the grades you mention.
For long trad (with a few pitons and some equipped belays)Dollies every time.
There are loads of really good routes at reasonable grades and the majority can be easily accessed without the need to stay in huts.
The scenery is stunning and there loads of history both climbing and from WW1.
Also stunning pizzas.
If you want some reccomendations I have just had to do a list of the routes I have climbed there to get myself on a trip there in Sep. They range from about Severe to few just touching E1.
If you want a copy just let me know.
Another vote for the Dolomites - or alternatively either the Kaisergebirge or the Wetterstein. I have climbed extensively in all three areas and any one of them would be ideal for your requirements. I have also climbed extensively in the Ecrins (La Berarde and Ailefroide), Bregaglia, Stubai, Central and Eastern Switzerland as well as the Karwendal but would recommend the first three over these latter areas.
No need for axes and crampons at any of them. The Kaisergebirge and the Wetterstein are somewhat 'below the radar' these days but for trad multi-pitch they take some beating. I suspect that you'd be lucky to meet any other Brits at either of them.
However, if I had to choose, it'd be the Dolomites every time. I've been there in July/ August and the honey pots - Vajolet and Sella Towers, Passo Pordoi, Cinque Torre for instance - will be quite busy. But it's very easy to find equally good climbing in much quieter spots; places where you can have a whole route, or even a whole mountain to yourself.
Is Ailefroide good for trad climbing?
Also I'm not majorly keen on slabs, isn't it mostly slab climbing?
> Like this:
Looks awesome :)
Must say the Dolomites are looking VERY interesting.
He's right about the pizzas too - the wild mushroom ones are bloody marvellous
The Bregaglia basing yourself in the Val di Mello is mega, everything from bouldering/clip-ups/big wall trad routes in the valley, to long mountain rock routes in the Bregaglia, with some real classics to go at. Plus its seriously beautiful & Italian (e.g. good food & wine, plus cheaper than the Swiss side). Would go back there in a flash.
No trad in Ailefroide itself, (apart from Le Fissure I suppose. Brits seem drawn to it like dung flies to a ...) There's multi-pitch trad on the rock peaks above the Glacier Blanc hut - Pointe Louise and Pointe des Cinéastes or the Aiguille de Sialouze above the Pelvoux hut for instance, but the valley's all bolted, including some truly superb, long multi-pitch sport routes.
There are an abundance of slabs, but it isn't all slab climbing by any means.
What are the best guidebooks for Bregaglia?
I have done the Bregalia 3 times and Dollies 9 and the best actual climbing is I think the Bregalia.
But for the whole package of many quality routes on pointy mountains with loads of history, great veiws and then great pizzas it the Dollies every time.
Also, repying to myself, lots more bolts in the Bregalia.
For the classics Plasir Sud.
There is a local one avliable for the low level stuff form local climbing shops (just over border into italy).
For other mountain stuff i think we had a copy of the very old climbers club one which made it a real challernge to locate anything.
The dollies are great, no doubt, and I've been 5 times (vs 1 trip to Mello). But for quality of climbing, Bregaglia, and this is partly a granite vs limestone thing too. The quality of the rock and the climbing on the big valley routes (both the cracks and the slabs) is outstanding.
The Climbers Club guide works for the mountains (just! Some descriptions are seriously out of date/sandbaggy), or there is a local italian guide for the valley routes. Next time I go, I'd pick up the SAC guidebook in german, these are generally excellent and current (but you need to speak some german).
I agree the actual climbing in the bregalia is better than the Dollies. Dente per Dente is my favourtite route I have climbed.
But the Dollies still takes it. It is more trad, has far more routes to do, has far more pointy mountains, has far more climbing history.
Once again I must mention the pizzas and with the strength of the Swiss Franc Dollies are cheaper.
And I am off to the Dollies tomorrow!
Versante Suds Solo Granito, I think they also have an english edition of it...
And the Plaisir books...
Gary, re CHF, not if you base yourself in Mello, which opens the door to more trad on your doorstep!
PS Guidebooks, I meant the AC guide, which dates back to the mid-90s.
Regarding Bregalia is it predominantly slab climbing (something I'm not so keen on) or is there a good amount of steeper stuff too (doesn't have to be vert or overhanging just not friction slabs or slabs of a similar angle to this!)
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