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.
In reply to CurlyStevo: Mostly trad and the trad is the best but there are a number of bolted venues. The area around the Sella Towers is very good, easy access and offers both trad and sport within a few miles. If you base yourself around Canazei or Cortina there's tons to go at. In fact I remember standing near the top of the Sella pass anc commenting to my mate that I could see more climbable rock than in the whole of North Wales and the Lakes put together. The scenery is stunning.
In reply to CurlyStevo: La berarde in the ecrins.
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.
> There's loads of sport multipitch, up to 12-15 pitches all within 30 minutes walk from the camp site.
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.
> (In reply to CurlyStevo) In fact I remember standing near the top of the Sella pass anc commenting to my mate that I could see more climbable rock than in the whole of North Wales and the Lakes put together. The scenery is stunning.
In reply to gowla: The Ailefroide side is much better and when you are well and truly "slabbed out" which you will be after a few days you can drive a few miles and get on some limestone. But the OP was asking for trad so I'm not sure why e ar discussing this.
In reply to Al Randall:
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.
In reply to CurlyStevo: The La Berarde side of the Ecrins is good for trad: the Dibona, Meije (Nous Partirons dan's Livresse is a bolted 6a which is a joy), Tete Rouget, Aig Soreiller, Bans, Grand Aig. de la Berarde, Pic Bord Des Cavales etc. Also Ailefroide - I would visit both in a two week holiday: Bans south side, Sialouze, Pic Sans Nom, Pointe des Cineastes, etc...
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.
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.
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.
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).
In reply to DannyB: the bregalia is a great area with the n ridge of the badile the classic at your grade. Loads to do at the albigna dam though there are more bolts than necessary, though inevitably this being granite slabs do feature! The ecrin is a national park and you can tell.the.difference to many of the swiss mountains eg no cable cars.and no hydro, valley cragging in la berarde is very average but high up things improve and the dibona is tremendous with a great trad hs/vs route.
In reply to Gary in Germany:
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!)