Friday, 14 February 2014

Not quite an alpine route but not a bad day out!

Sometimes (quite often really...) I get scared of alpine climbing... I find my winter alpine psyche is a very fragile thing. On Wednesday, a missed top bin reservation, not being sure where the route actually started and putting in a high ski traverse above a lot of big crevasses, all took their toll on my motivation. The final straw was realising that I still haven't replaced my decrepit climbing gloves and I couldn't feel my fingers after just 5 minutes of skiing. Luckily for me, Dave was already wearing all of his spare clothing and didn't mind running away to the temptingly sunny slopes below.

Running away to the sunshine!
We then had a good old walk-pointy ski explore of the Rive Gauche ice falls. This felt slightly more adventurous than it should as we were guidebook-less and trying to remember where stuff was by memory. Turns out everyone had the same idea that day and most of the ab points had multiple sets of skis waiting for their owners. Fortunately as we finally sauntered down to the EMHM cascade the final climbing pair were just topping out so we had the ice fall to ourselves. After I pulled the ropes from our abseil I ummed and ahhed about leading the first steep pitch with only five ice screws on our rack. Then I remembered just how blunt my four ice screws were and managed to persuade Dave that he wanted to lead both of the pitches. Not that he really had much choice in the matter... Good job he's a beast and made short work of the route!

Running it out with our minimal ice climbing rack
By the time we skied down to the bottom of the Pierre a Ric I felt like I had had an alpine day out! Skiing for the first time of the season with a climbing bag is always a shock to the thighs. Although we only did a short route in the end, we skied further than we would have done if we had gone up Claire Chazal. Dave also has a report of our lovely day out here, who says you need to be scared to enjoy climbing?!

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