De Mer de Glace à le Fayet

We had great plans today – catching the early télégraphique, ski across to the Tour Ronde, tick the North Face and ski the Mer de Glace… However, news of a fatality on that mountain the day before put us off somewhat – a bad vibe! But a ticket was already purchased, so plan B was hastily hatched – ski down to climb some rock below the Envers Hut. We still managed the early lift (not bad for us kats who like to sleep in late). We were early enough to avoid the tourists, the ice tunnel was charged with the silent concentration of alpinists in preparation…

The path down the arete was deeper than a few weeks before, the skis strapped on to Pete’s pack were catching on the side walls of the trench giving the wind something to blow into my face.

The ski down was spectacular, though less powder than last time. The views were stunning – it’s magical up there. The route was a little more precarious as many more crevasses had opened – at one point I heard Pete exclaim, “there’s a hole”, and then silence…. later followed by, “it’s okay, just keep skiing”. I decided to go an alternative way.

My legs struggled on some of the steeper slopes with our heavy packs but we made it to level with our selected route, ‘Les Contes de la Folie Ordinaire’. It took less than two seconds to decide that plan B was also not going to happen as we watched the many little avalanches flow over the rocks! The mountains were alive with rumbles, it was great to watch – from a safe distance.

There was nothing for it but to continue down the Mer de Glace to the Montenver station.

Plans A & B behind us, we descended back to Chamonix as temperatures soared – time for a little siesta on the terrace. 🙂

Batteries suitably recharged we decided to head down to Le Fayet for a spot of cragging. Le Fayet upper crag is through a pleasant and cool wood, the book describes the crag as “spooky”, I’d just call it “strenuous”.

There was nothing there I could lead, the routes were steep (overhanging) and the holds were flat; I’d become accustomed to granite slabs. We spent 20 minutes not getting more than three feet off the ground before deciding that perhaps our batteries weren’t as charged as we’d thought. Time to go home for a G&T!

7 thoughts on “De Mer de Glace à le Fayet”

  1. Still sounds like a full day to me! 😀 And time for a tea break :yum: :yum:
    Of course, just looking at the steep routes means you can tick them (a neck strain tick) and if you add up all the 3ft sections you did, i bet you did at least one whole route 😆 😆

  2. Never underestimate North Face of Tour Ronde. I climbed it in 1987 with my pal, Eddie, who was a potentially good alpinist 😀

    But Eddie had two problems, Firstly, he was a Liverpool scallywag, who couldn’t get up in the morning. Secondly, he had a terrible wife, who wouldn’t let him stay out overnight (in huts) in case he met other women 😛 The outcome was that we stood under North Face Tour Ronde at 11.30 one morning, just as the party ahead were finishing, traversing the little knife edge arete at the top :angry:

    However, we finished the route without eventuality but were horrified by the descent (we may have got it wrong). we arrived at the bottom in darkness, last Heilbronner long since departed, and made for the Torrino hut. Eddie kicked something in the snow. It was a wooden ice axe shaft (still relatively modern at that time), he picked it up and in the torchlight identified a good viable ice axe, which was more than could be said for the hand attached to it 😈

    We had a jolly night in the Torrino hut, but all hell broke out next morning when we arrived back in Chamonix and the wrath of Eddie’s wife. That was the end of his holiday and, in the event, his alpine carreer :angry:

    A few weeks later, four Germans died on the face 🙁 soon after, Smiler had his bad accident 🙁 Since then, there seems to have been a disproportinate number of accidents on that face, culminating in the one last w/e 👿

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *