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powdherb

[TR] Chamonix, FR - Variation on the Contamine/Rebuffat S. Face, Midi 4/18/2011

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Trip: Chamonix, FR - Variation on the Contamine/Rebuffat S. Face, Midi

 

Date: 4/18/2011

 

Trip Report:

 

 

This winter that wasn't (l'hiver qui n'a jamais été) has caused the rock to come into condition a month earlier than last year. I started this weekend with a beautiful crag situated above the lac d'Annecy, on the North Shore bra.

 

Michel Piola, who put up a lot of bolted routes in the Aiguilles Rouges of Chamonix and the l'envers, bolted some nasty-hard overhanging sport routes in this scenic limestone crag.

 

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After a leisurely day of pulling-tuff, we enjoyed coca-colas and glaces, with our multi-national team.

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The next day I went up to Chamonix to meet up with Tom-dick-yank. We wanted to do the Bonatti Couloir on the Petit Mont Blanc, but missing skins and desire to get on some alpine splitter forced us to reconsider. So, we decided on a variation of the giga-classic Rebuffat route on the S. Piller of the Aiguille du Midi.

The original plan was go ultra-mega-fast in our custom aerodynamic morph suits designed for our assault. We planned to rap off the top (walking distance from the top cable-car). 524680-morphsuit.jpg

 

However, recent snow made it look like a dick-around so we put our pumas back on and went 4-star glacier jogging.

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A few minutes later we arrived at the base of this throbbing tower of golden-pink alpine granite.

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We started up the Contamine route in the company of the the only other group: some friendly Americans. Great minds think alike. We were quickly into the fabled s-cracks of the Rebuffat route which I wanted to send on lead since I first epiced on them about a year ago. Tom creaming up the cracks.

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Tom sending the second part of the s-cracks. We were concerned that temps would be too cold to climb, but they sure weren't. Even with temps well below freezing we enjoyed sun that permitted us to climb in shirts.

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The next pitch was 'mixed' climbing. Ice filled a lot of the jam-cracks and I had fun repeatedly slipping out of the cracks and then sliding backwards on ramps of snow-covered ice in my climbing shoes. It was good training.

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Tom sending the next pitch, a nice walk among icicles. "Does anyone have an ice screw? My cam won't go in."

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As always, excellent ambience.

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Tom on the summit block just before the summit crux. Tom and I decided to do the variation exit: two sporty, fantastic arete-climbing pitches that take you to the true summit of the piler.

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Gear Notes:

pumas, gauffres, stimulation drinks.

 

Approach Notes:

10 minute jog from the top of the midi.

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