As some people might have noticed, my old vanny used to be too small for my purposes so we moved into a white Ford Transit, yeah!
Day 1+2: Transit back in Bayreuth, car registration and climbing courses. After that I drove straight to Chamonix and spent one week on the glacier near Aiguile du Midi with Richard. The sun was incredible hot and it was almost impossible NOT to dehydrate up there. Though it was nice and sunny camping (excuse me "bivviing" as camping is strictly forbidden) at 3500m. And in the end we got some fantastic rock-ice- and mixed climbing done.
Chèré Coloire up to Mont Blanc du Tacul (4248 m, D, WI4, 85°) was in good conditions and is a nice route to get used to Mont Blanc ice climbing! 6-8 ice screws, cams, nuts and slings are useful for protection, especially if you want to go all the way to the top of Mont Blanc du Tacul. Many parties abseil down after pitch 6.
Rebuffat Route on the Aiguille du Midi (200m,
6a). Great granite climbing day; except for that little hail storm and the small incident, where Richard dropped my boot into the bergschrund ;)
Next day we climbed "Küffner Ridge" from
Fourche Biwak up Mont Maudit (4465m D, WI2, 65°, 4c), poor snow conditions, maybe better earlier in the season or during the night! Nonetheless a fantastic route in fantastic scenery. Surrounded
by Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles du Diable we climbed almost 12h to the top of Mont Maudit as we had to avoid many snow and ice sections by climbing loose rock...
The Fourche Biwak is reached within 2-3h from
Aiguille du midi and can shelter up to 25 persons (VERY cosy). It is equipped with blankets (maybe 30) and thin matresses. On the ridge we found some belays on rock but mainly climbed
simultaneously on a short rope!
Contamine Route on Aiguilles du Midi with a stunning 50m crack at the end (7a, 200m)
We later backed off Gravasutti Pillar on the South Face of Mont Blanc du Tacul because of massive rockall. The bergschrund below this wall has grown massively; the route starts now right at the pillar: you can see a bolt 5m above the ground. The first belay is up and to the right, a 35m pitch. Freezing level on this day was above 4300m and rocks fell down from higher up on the route. Try this route in cooler conditions!
After a short detour via Munich and some excessive video cutting we drove to the Dolomites! North face climbing in cold temperatures should be the right thing to do! We climbed the Comici (oldschool 6b) on the Cima Grande and enjoyed the Italian campervan-friendly atmosphere at the parking of Rifugio Auronzo. Well…22€ to use the street und 5€ per day extra seems a bit like overdoing it but no doubt: this place is magic!
Next day we fought our way up the Cima Ouveste…up to the great ‘Bauer Roof’. Runout, poor protection, old detached pitons and hanging belays followed by hard roof climbing! Sounds like a new challenge to me! Game on =)