The first stop on my 9 months of play after leaving my job in May is Chamonix, France. Chamonix is a small village in the French Alps, famous for “alpinism”. For the climbers reading this post, alpinism needs no definition, for those unfamiliar however, alpinism refers to the mixed set of disciplines (rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering) used in ascending complex peaks. Chamonix is the center for alpinism because it provides tram-based access to 4000m peaks with fairly good weather. It is one of the few places you can rock climb above a glacier at 10am, and be drinking a beer at a cozy bar by 4pm. This is contrast to many other mountain ranges around the world, like the Cascades in Washington in particular, where one must wrestle large alder bushes for miles and cross rivers on slippery logs just to reach the climb.
Recent trip reports:
All the beta you’ll ever need for a climbing trip to Chamonix- Because it is one of the birth places of modern day climbing and alpinism, there is a wealth of information about climbing in Chamonix. As a newcomer to the area, just figuring out which guidebooks you need can be daunting. The following page details everything I have learned that may be helpful for the person. […] The Frendo Spur: A Capstone Project- Since I have been in Chamonix, I feel like I have done a little bit of everything: alpine ice climbing, mixed climbing, slow slogging up snow slopes, daggering on steep neve, alpine rock climbing in mountain boots, lots of simul climbing, and even a little dry-tooling at the crag (Google “The Zoo” if you are […] Migot Spur and Forbes Arrete: Going back for round II- A few weeks ago, Simon and I hiked in with bivvy sacks and stoves to the Migot Spur, items that aren’t always necessary in Chamonix. We were a quarter way up the climb in the early morning when altitude hit Simon like a freight train and we bailed. This last week we went back for round […] Profit-Perroux and Voie Rebuffat: Maximizing the Day- One of the challenges with Chamonix this year has been the *relatively* small selection of routes that are in, accessible, doable in a day, and yet still provide you with a very worth sense of accomplishment. Not that the list is small, but picking one that resonates with all the members of your party, and […] Pyramid du Tacul: Fun rock climbing at 3400m- On Monday (6/20) and Tuesday (6/21), new friends Dalit (Israel), Kyriakos (Cyprus) and I finally were able to make a plan to get out together. Though we had all been messaging each other for a weeks, and Kyriakos and I had done some alpine cragging, we hadn’t collectively yet been able to pull it off. With a decent […] Les Aiguilles Rouges: Great climbing for sunny days, better for rainy ones- I think I have started nearly every one of my blogs while in Chamonix with something along the lines of “Its been raining again this week….” – last week was no exception. Fortunately, I found a new favorite rainy day/ bad weather activity: climbing in alpine boots on the Aiguilles Rouges. I haven’t done a whole […] Vent du Dragon: A mixture of ice, mixed and swimming- Note 6/19/2016: I’ve updated the rappel beta to include a third station on skiers right of the gully that I forgot about the first time around. — Simon and I met when I arrived in Chamonix nearly a month ago. He had been keen to get on Vent Du Dragon. Which is a short mixed […] The Migot Spur: Tackling it like its in the PNW- As I have discussed in previous posts, its not everywhere that you get lift-accessed alpine climbing and luxurious refuges that provide warm-beds and hot dinner. The only problems are that right now most of the lifts are closed and the refuges can cost up to 60 Euro a night! Well, all that led Simon and […] The Midi-Plan Traverse- Due to consistent afternoon thunderstorms, and a lack of weekday partners, I found myself with a short weather window on Tuesday, itching to get a little time in ze’ alpine. I took this as an opportunity to solo the Midi-Plan traverse. Soloing a couple easy routes has been a goal of mine while in Chamonix, for reasons […] 1000m Straight Up and Running Les Petits Balcons- More bad weather. That means more running, hiking, blogging, coffee and beer with new people, croissants, then more coffee; reading, guidebook oggling, some drawing, some outdoor cragging, some indoor climbing, more coffee, some broken french, and so it goes! Before coming to Chamonix, I had no idea that this is a paradise for running and hiking, […]
Recent tips and Techniques:
Climbing fast as a party of 3: Managing ropes and swapping leads- The more I climb as a party of three with competent folks, the more I am convinced that it can be as fast as two. There are a bunch of places where time can be saved with the right back of tricks, which means bigger routes with more friends, or making it home in time […] The Best harness Essentials for Speed and Safety on Multi-Pitch Rock- I enjoy seeing how people manage safety and speed within their rock climbing outings: cragging, multi-pitch, alpine days, ice, etc. As someone who is always chasing for the perfect system, I am continually eye-balling what people use to clip into the belay, what they keep on their harness, and how they are able to deal with […] Soloing easy stuff- Last Tuesday, I soloed the Midi-plan traverse. For those of you who hear the word “solo” and your heart begins to skip a few beats, slow your roll. This wasn’t wild, M6 R mixed climbing on thin-ice. This was a walk on a well-trodden ridge, close to civilization, well within my comfort zone. So why solo […] Maintaining a healthy diet and reducing stress while traveling abroad- Doesn’t that croissant look good?? France is the center of the world for baked goods and pastries, and gosh has it got me twisted. This post is about how I have been trying to maintain a healthy diet and stress level during long flights and while living in another country where the diet and grocery stores might differs […] Packing for Chamonix- It took me a while to narrow down the bag of goodies I wanted to bring to Chamonix, but I finally got it all packed for the trip. I figured it would be helpful to share my process, the final list of gear, and the reasons behind some of the specific items. I also wanted […]