Daily Archives: 25 June 2015

Waltz with crampons

June 25th

Start:  Refuge de la Vogealle; finish: refuge/bivouac Vallon de Tenneverge
Distance: 17,0 km (10 km along the frontier)
Time taken:  11 hours (plus 2 hours 30 minutes for the stops)
Vertical distance: 1590 m uphill, 1660 m downhill

Main summit:  Mont Ruan, 3044 m

This was the day we put on crampons and took them off again at least a dozen times!

Good breakfast in the hut at 3 a.m., off at 4 a.m.  A beautiful morning, but with clouds and cold wind on the ridges later in the day.  It was over 1100 m up to the top of Mont Ruan, the route-finding in the upper part was tricky and we had to retrace our steps once or twice, but we were rewarded by a beautiful 360° view.  Later, snow fields and low visibility caused us to avoid some minor summits on the French side, also Pic de Tenneverge, whose summit lies entirely in France.  The alternation of steep snow fields and scree meant we were continually putting on and removing our crampons.  We had intended to sleep out near the Col de Tenneverge but the cold wind would have made this very uncomfortable.  Victor, who has climbed Mount Everest 6 times, suggested descending to a small bivouac hut some 600 m down on the French side, where there might be some blankets.  Indeed, this was the case – we found some thin mattresses, a sleeping bag and 3 blankets!

1. Rupert on top of Mont Ruan, with Mont Blanc and Emosson (lakes and dam wall) behind
2.  Refuge/bivouac Vallon de Tenneverge
3.  Inside

IMG_7036C IMG_7037C IMG_7039C

Les Dents Blanches

June 24th

Start: Châlets Le Lapisa; finish: Refuge de la Vogealle (CAF)
Distance: 19 km (5 km along the frontier)
Time taken: 10 hours 30 minutes (plus 2 hours for the stops)
Vertical distance: 2200 m uphill, 2090 m downhill

Main summits:
Pointe de la Golette, 2634 m
Dent de Barme, 2759 m

Victor and I left the chalet at 5.00 a.m., our rucksacks heavy on the shoulders.  We planned at least one bivouac (without a sleeping bag!) and probably carried too much food.  A week earlier Victor had made a reconnaissance around the Dent de Barme, with a colleague.  They found a lot of snow and quite loose and friable rock;  their conclusion: the complete traverse of the Dents Blanches would take too much time and would probably be dangerous, if not impossible in these conditions. So we decided to limit our ambitions to the ascent of the two main summits, one at each end of the chain.  Which we did, at the cost of a descent of some 500 m in between.  On the other hand, the second summit was done without rucksacks. A beautiful day, magnificent views.  At the end, Victor persuaded me to go down to the refuge Vogealle another 250 meters below.  It was worth it:  comfortable dormitory and good hearty meal!