/ DESTINATION GUIDE: 10 Routes to Climb in Chamonix in Winter

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UKC Articles - on 20 Jan 2016
Tom Grant on an upper pitch of Ice is Nice, 4 kbWinter Alpinism is cold and serious, and can seem inaccessible. However do not fear!In this article UKC Chief Editor Jack Geldard looks at 10 routes that are well suited to that most masochistic of endeavours... winter Alpinism!

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Big Lee - on 20 Jan 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Your blog is beautifully laid out Jack.
In reply to Big Lee:

Thanks! My house it a sh*t tip unfortunately! At least the blog looks neat!

J
David Kay - on 20 Jan 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article, it's got me keen to go out to the Alps in winter! When is the best time to go? Obviously when conditions are good but being a teacher it would have to be February half term or over Easter.

David
Heike - on 20 Jan 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good stuff! Brings back many happy memories! Must get out there again soon
In reply to David Kay:

Both Feb half term and Easter could be great - all depends on weather and conditions.

You might get a good high pressure in Feb, but then it might be brutally cold with it, so short routes and warm clothes are the order of the day!

Easter (when even is it this year, I have no idea.) could be warmer with longer days.

Either way, hope you make it - post up if you do!

J
Morgan Woods - on 21 Jan 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Voie Pellisier might also be a good intro climb.
smithaldo - on 21 Jan 2016
In reply to Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor:

Good article, isn't vent du dragon often scottish VI/VII though?

The new topos look good from rockfax. Any ideas when it might be out?
In reply to smithaldo:

> Good article, isn't vent du dragon often scottish VI/VII though?

Could be, I've just given the grade quoted on various websites / books, and when I did it I thought it was more like Scottish V,6 - but then I've never been good with grades! ;-)

> The new topos look good from rockfax. Any ideas when it might be out?

This summer as far as I know.

Cheers,

Jack
Tom F Harding on 21 Jan 2016
In reply to Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor:
Is there a new RockFax Alps guide coming out? Will it be Chamonix only? I would be interested to know why you would want to produce a new one as there is already a huge number of other good quality English language guides available? (list below copied from article)

Guidebooks:
40 Falaises (2013), Falaises et via Ferrata en Vanoise et Beaufortain (2012), Schweiz Plaisir West (2012), Schweiz Plaisir Selection (2012), Les Aiguilles Rouges vol 2 (2012), Mountain Adventures in the Maurienne - The Vanoise and Dauphine Alps (2011), Crag Climbs In Chamonix (2011), Escalades autour d'Ailefroide (2010), Escalade en Brianconnais, Haut Val Durance, Queyras (2010), 33 Falaises de la r£gion d'Annecy (2010), Mont-Blanc easy ascents and glacier hikes (2009), Europe's High Points: Reaching the Highest Point of Every Country in Europe (2009), Topo des Blocs Ailefroide (2009), Escalades Choisies Mont-Blanc Aiguilles Routes (2009), Vall£e de l'Arve (2009), Les Aiguilles Rouges vol 1 (2008), Envers des Aiguilles (2008), Cascades de glace & dry-tooling, du Mont Blanc au L£man, tome 2 (2007), 28 Falaises (2007), Le topo de la Vanoise, Tarentaise et Beaufortain (2007), Massif Bornes Aravis (2006), Vallees de L'Arve & du Risse (2005), Snow, Ice and Mixed (2005), Crag Climbs in Chamonix (2005), Glace et mixte en cascade... Brian£onnais - Argenti£res - Embrunnais (2005), 22 Falaises autour d'Annecy (2004), Via Ferrata : a complete guide to France (2004), Grimper dans le Haut-val Durance (2002), Mont Blanc Massif Vol. 2 (2002), Mont Blanc Massif Vol. 1 (2002), Les Aiguilles Rouges (2001), Cascades Autour Du Mont Blanc - Vol 1 (1998), Neige, Glace et Mixte (1996), Chamonix Cragging, Vallee du Giffre, Escalade Massif des Aravis, Cascades de Glace & Dry-Tooling du Mont Blanc au L£man Tome I, Haut Chablais Escalade, Escalade en Brianconnais, Haut Val Durance, Queyras, Les Blocs de la region de Chamonix, Chablais Grimpe,

Out of print: Schweiz Plaisir West (2004), Crag Climbs in Chamonix (2001), Grimper dans le Haut Val Durance (1998)
Post edited at 12:29
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Chris Craggs - on 21 Jan 2016
In reply to Tom F Harding:

I think you have answered your own question there,


Chris
Tom F Harding on 21 Jan 2016
In reply to Chris Craggs:

No Chris, I didn't. Before I can comment further I really need to know what area the Rockfax guide is going to actually cover?
Brian Pollock - on 21 Jan 2016
In reply to Tom F Harding:

Presumably, based on the number of guides listed, the choice is a little overwhelming, in particular, for the first time (winter) visitor looking to do a range of popular modern routes such as the routes listed in the article. Personally, I have found the rockfax guides to be excellent for planning a first trip to a new area and would definitely pick up the new one when it comes out. I'm not saying you couldn't get the same thing from the other guides but then I wouldn't know where to start.

In short, I assume they're making a new guide because there is a market for it.
smithaldo - on 21 Jan 2016
In reply to Tom F Harding:

Have you actually looked at any of the guides you list?

I think (as well as rockfax obviously) that there is a gap in the market for a chamonix rockfax type guide, probably to use as a supplement to the niege, glace et mixte guides.

Most of those guides you listed are very much old school, and ceratinly very out of date conditions wise.
Big Lee - on 21 Jan 2016
In reply to Tom F Harding:

> Is there a new RockFax Alps guide coming out? Will it be Chamonix only? I would be interested to know why you would want to produce a new one as there is already a huge number of other good quality English language guides available? (list below copied from article)

I'd be interested in a Rockfax guide. Sure I'm not the only person who lugs half a dozen guidebooks to Chamonix. Coverage for the high altitude rock routes still seems to be crap despite all these guides. Eg something like Gervasutti Pillar still forces me to dust off my old AC guide.
Tom F Harding on 21 Jan 2016

It would be interesting to hear more details of the area covered, what season it will be aimed at and if its been targeted at the international market or UK only.

A lot of the more recent guides look pretty good. The dolomites Rockfax made a lot of sense but I don't see how a Cham really brings that much more to the table.

> In short, I assume they're making a new guide because there is a market for it.

Not a need...
Big Lee - on 21 Jan 2016
In reply to smithaldo:

> Good article, isn't vent du dragon often scottish VI/VII though?

It's not a Scottish grade, it's an alpine commitment grade. Taking into account length, exposure to seracs, complexity of decent, etc, but not techincal difficulty. The number following the roman numeral is the tech grade. Most guidebooks use this system now.
smithaldo - on 21 Jan 2016
In reply to Big Lee:

yup I knew that Lee,

It was the reference to 'should be climbing scottish V' as to why I was a little surprised to see vent du dragon on there as mates who have done it have said a fair bit harder, but like Jack says, very conditions dependent.

Had an interesting discussion on here before about the use of scottish grades for comparison. i.e. gab/alb is probs scottish IV (or hard III maybe), but the whole experience certainly feels alot more scottish IV than something like comb gully or aladdins mirror direct!
In reply to smithaldo:

Hi smithaldo,

I didn't specify that all the routes are grade V or below, I just said very broadly that these routes aren't for absolute beginners and some experience of climbing grade V in Scotland 'would be a start' - which I still think is reasonable advice, and as you say it all depends on conditions - and how you're feeling at the time, which can make a route seem much harder or easier than it really is.

Funny how I've been back on climbs years later and found them totally different to the first time!

J



smithaldo - on 21 Jan 2016
In reply to Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor:

Ha, indeed Jack!

I got what you meant, it wasn't a criticism and it's a good list, especially as I think more people will get into this sort of climbing as access to better equipment makes it alot less faff.

Fil a Plomb and Petit Viking are at the top of the wish list for our mid march trip so hopefully all this snow will fill in the PV schrund to make a lovely path......

One can hope.
In reply to smithaldo:

Great - hope you get good weather in March - good luck!
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Big Lee - on 21 Jan 2016
In reply to smithaldo:

Fil a Plomb was stupidly busy when I did it. Usual Frenchy ethics. We were one of about 5 teams climbing the same section of route, ropes were crossing everywhere, hardly any runners getting placed. I still enjoyed the route but my partner's head was exploding on the inside towards the top. We did it on a saturday, which was probably our mistake. The whole of Refuge du plan de l'aiguille's winter room was doing the route, minus two. Plus the same number again took the first lift. We stayed in the Refuge Saturday eve after the climb to save money and it was empty bar 2. Moral of the story is don't do Fil a Plomb on a saturday.

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