Thursday, July 9, 2020

Fatality on French Side of Mont Blanc + Six Climbers Die Near Mont Blanc +

Mountaineer falls and dies on the French side od Mont Blanc - from (Translation)
Six climbers die near Mont Blanc in the French Alps - from the BBC News
Highline on Aux Aiguilles Du Diable - Video from
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Mountaineer falls and dies on the French side of Mont Blanc.

Alpinista precipita e muore sul versante francese del Monte Bianco - Montagna.TV

Mont Blanc Death Toll Climbs, Mayor Wants Action - Gripped Magazine   -- Six climbers die near Mont Blanc in the French Alps  --  Highline - Aux Aiguilles DU Diable 

Group of the Aiguilles du... : Photos, Diagrams & Topos : SummitPost

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I climbed the Petit Dru via the American Direct once already, three years ago with @mathieumaynadier and @nicofavresse. It was during early April, during an unusually dry period, so even though conditions in the mountains were generally still fairly wintery, and we climbed most of the upper north face with mixed climbing techniques, the west face was pretty much dry rock climbing on all the steeper sections. Nonetheless, the days are not that long yet in early April, and mixed climbing is usually slower than dry rock climbing, so we brought up a haul bag and bivied where the [modern version of the] American Direct joins the Allain-Leininger route. It was a great climb with great company, but I’m pretty lazy about bivying, and almost always prefer to climb with just day packs, if possible. I wondered to myself at the time, “What are we doing up here in the spring, bivying on this route, when it would just be a day climb in summer, rock-climbing conditions?”

Thus, the idea with @robsmith_mountainguide on Sunday was to climb the route as a nice rock climb, and be off the mountain before dark… things didn’t go quite as planned! For a whole host of reasons, we didn’t reach the Charpou Hut until midday on Monday. The upper north face was dry enough that ledges were covered in horribly loose blocks, but still snowy and icy enough that our aluminum crampons and approach shoes were very limiting to our speed. We descended the southeast face of the Grand Dru in a tired and dehydrated state, and it was a pretty nasty descent, with tons of loose rock on all the ledges.

Our climb the other day turned into a mini epic for a number of reasons. Reminiscing back to my ascent with Mémé and Nico, I realized that we experienced none of the horrible loose rock on the upper north face, and instead of a nasty descent down the southeast face, we had a super straightforward and relaxed descent of the north couloir. Bivies are never my preference, but I realize now that Mémé’s tactic of a springtime ascent was quite wise! Here are more pics from the other day, the second one by Rob. @patagonia_climb @petzl_official @scarpaspa @totemmt @ Chamonix, France 


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