Snow and Ice – Brevent et La Cremerie

We’re in Chamonix for a long weekend.

We planned to meet up with some friends I had made while I was working in Nottingham. They are here for a long weekend skiing trip and we thought it would be great to catch up with them and maybe go for a ski tour together.

We all spent yesterday on the piste, getting our ski-legs back. Unfortunately, as there’s been no fresh snow here for nearly two weeks, the slopes weren’t in the best of conditions. It wasn’t bad tho’, just no powder to be seen anywhere. The sun was hot and it was sweltering. We had a great time, and I was really pleased my ski-legs came back so quickly. Bev and Tom are really good skiers, so I didn’t want to show myself up too much. Fortunately, we didn’t.

Pete enjoying lunch in the sun.

The conditions, however, mean that it’s not really worth going on a tour…. so today we went climbing.

We almost didn’t. First we forgot our helmets. We knew we’d forgotten them on the way to the airport, so we had the whole journey to come up with some excellent reasons why we both simply had to have new ones. A trip to Snells last night sorted us out.

Then, as we started packing the sacks, we realised we’d left all our ice screws at home. Disaster! Far too expensive to go buying new ones, and we’d got plenty of them at home, so we really couldn’t think of a good excuse to buy any more. Doh! We’d have to ski again. But then we remembered our stash of a few old screws used for tours on glaciers. Not enough for the big routes we had planned on the Argentiere Glacier, but enough (4) for some fun on some moderate ice. Well enough for belays anyway, or if we could get in some abalkovs, then maybe we could tackle something a bit harder.

We made our way up to La Cremerie. The ice was fat where in previous years it had been thin, and thin where previously fat. It was also quite popular, so we busied ourselves on a thin line on the right. It was a good warm up.

Laetitia on Cerise

We then made our way up to the far end of the ice and quickly finished off a nice route on some fat ice, managing to overcome the desire to place ice screws every three or four of metres.

Laetitia taking the lead on Moby Dick - great views in the background
Pete on the middle pitch of Moby Dick

We kept the day fairly short and met up with Bev and the team in a bar in Chamonix. I’m afraid to say we whimped out fairly early, leaving them to party the night away. Instead, we’ve opted for a Midnight Express American Fromage Bacon and a glass of coke.

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