Uisdean Hawthorn
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Climbing

Sunshine On Ice!

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The sun beating down on my back, I'm sweating buckets, breathing hard and over all failing to deal with the heat. Maybe my body was confused. Normally it is trying to conserve every bit of heat it possible while ice climbing but today there is no need. However this is the alps not Scotland. [embed]https://flic.kr/p/s2jood[/embed]

Unsure if I am sport climbing in The Verdon or Ice climbing!

 

So I am now based in the Alps for the whole of April hoping to climb some big mountain routes and get a few days on the rock in between.

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Ben, Guy and Tim getting blasted by the sun, with the Frendo Ravenel above.

 

The first week has been a great way to start it off. I spent a 2 days skiing and a day not getting anything done due to high winds. This Forced rest day let Guy Steven, Ben Cooling,Tim Miller and I get packed up and on the first lift the next day up to the top Grand Motets station. Leaving us with a 5 minute ski down hill to the base of The Frendo Ravenel. It was a very enjoyable day climbing next to Guy and Ben, on a 500m ice route with a few pitches of Scottish V with bolt belays to abseil back down the route. 2 hours later after a ski up the glacier we were having dinner in the Argentiere hut

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Tim leading one of the grade V sections and Guy seconding on the left. 

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View from the Argentiere Hut looking up towards the back of the Argentiere glacier 

The next day the 4 of us climbed the Swiss Route on Les Courts. A good route no harder than Scottish 4 with a stunning view from the summit and a straight forward descent.

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Looking back Across the Glacier to the hut from the base of Les Courtes 

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Tim looking up at the Swiss Route

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Ben Seconding up The Swiss Route on the top snow fields that go on for a bit to long. 

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Tim enjoying some food and water at the top. 

 

After dragging tired legs out of my bunk in the hut on Friday morning. Tim and I made the skin right up to the back of the Argentiere glacier to climb Petit Viking. A super route with 5 long 3 star pitches of 1m wide gully at Scottish IV 5 with another few easy pitches to the ridge. The guide says very few people go to the ridge but we thought it was really worth it. The equipped anchors all the way making a quick descent. The ski down all the way from the top of the Glacier right down to Argentiere was sensational.

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Tim looking back at Petit Viking after a satisfying climb.

Now fully acclimatised and feeling like I know the place a bit better. Guy and I are hatching plans to go climb something bigger and harder. I will give an Update after if we are successful, and be very quiet if we have an epic!