Real roadside

Before heading off to catch our flight we tackled a little roadside gem, which had been mentioned to us in the hotel bar. Just down the road from Cogne, near Epinal. The belay at the top is a long way back on ice screws. It is also possible to walk in from above and lower down this pitch for top-roping. The walk in is down the road from the tunnel in the road, where parking is available. At the moment, if you drive down to the yellow crane you have gone too far. Next week the crane might have been removed!

 

Ollomont Ice Climbing

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Another successful day on the ice with West Coast Mountain Guides working for Bruce Poll. Local knowledge picked up by Bruce, found us at a different location on the north side of the Aosta valley. Good weather, a simple 45 minute approach and ice climbing , with bolted anchors. Check out a French book called Alpine Ice, or go onto Italian ice climbing forums for details. As often is the case, the routes can get crowded, but we were there at a weekend! Views up the valley towards the Grand Combin, add to the beauty of this spot. Parking can be a little cramped. The route we climbed was Gomarra, II 3+, with harder options at the start and finish.

Lovely Lillaz

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Compared to yesterday when we arrived in Cogne, today the sunshine Gods were leading the pack! An early start on the classic Cascade Lillaz .enabled us to stay ahead of the arriving coach loads . There were probably around two hundred people in the gorge today and all were having fun, working for the ‘Boss’ of West Coast Mountain Guides Bruce Poll.
We finished the main climb and descended by simple snowy tracks to the foot of the middle pitches and enjoyed more good ice.. Plenty of teams out working on the side walls and no avalanche issues at all in this area. A number of harder routes above the gorge were being climbed. We descended for well earned beers at around 1600 and it started snowing again.

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Heads below the clouds

Assisting Adele Pennington yesterday, we kept our heads down and visited two very good little hills above the West Highland Way, just an hours trek up from Lagangarbh. Fine views all day in between the wicked squalls, no avalanche hazard to speak of and good practice with map, compass and GPS. Obviously from the attached photos, I drew the lucky card:)

Best day so far in 2014

Finally! A brilliant day and no rain. A dry wind is blowing from the east-south-east, pushing away the Atlantic depressions. But not for long I’m afraid! According to many teams who have been up climbing, the unconsolidated snow is making for laborious progress. One group with Chris Thorne took the first pitches of Route One on the Great Buttress of Carn Dearg, as far as the traverse off to descend beneath the Curtain. They reported loads of snow clearing, reasonable gear, but nothing very icy or frozen. Any turf is buried deep beneath the snow and therefore not much use, or solid.

Storms arriving again shortly.

Rough conditions

Poor visibility and windy conditions reported by teams arriving back at Calluna Slow going on Castle Ridge and mixed conditions on Green Gully.

Substantial snow

Above 600 metres the snow cover is very full and continues to build. A soft cornice drop in Stob Coire nan Lochan (Glencoe) caused some angst today, but nothing serious I hear.

Another calm day

A blog worth following

Deep snow

Teams out today on the Douglas Boulder (S.W. Ridge) reported a lot of snow. This is also the case higher up the mountain as snow  has continued to fall over a number of recent weeks. Check out the Avalanche Quiz from Glenmore Lodge to see how much you know and hopefully avoid being part of the statistics

Calm weather today

A much better day today and some teams ventured out onto Number Three Gully Buttress, reporting poor conditions. Another groups climbed Green Gully and some were on Tower Ridge. Tomorrow it looks set to deteriorate in the afternoon. The avalanche potential still requires respect, even though some climbers have succeeded today, an increase in wind strength and/or temperature will transport and deposit less solid areas and develop more hazard overnight.

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