Jan 09 12
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Terry and devotee of ice, Ted Rudd, were supposed to be in Iceland. Since November, my friend, Ivar, was texting how good it was. Then, at the last minute, it turned warm, like +6C in Reykjavik, so we opted for La Grave instead.

La Grave lies in the Romanche valley under the Meije, as in this picture.

meije

We actually stayed in Les Freaux, a sleepy little village. Many of the climbs were within walking distance.

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This gite was actually owned by a cat, whom you see on the left.
cat1

Here you see a close up of the cat. Her terms were that you shared your food 50/50, bite for you, bite for her. Otherwise, she’d just steal it anyway.
cat2

Well, the conditions were superb. Very cold with hard ice. Here you see us starting with the classic grade 4 of the area, ‘Caturgeas’.

caturas1

This next picture shows Ted on a long easy pitch before the cruxy top pitch. Note the rappel ropes to the left. Very soon afterwards, Tony and Sarah Whitehouse appeared on them!!!!

caturas2

Here you see Ted just coming up the top, with nice view down valley.

caturas3

It wasn’t just Tony and Sarah we bumped into……recognize these scallywags??

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Next day was ‘Mini Moulin’, a touch harder than Catureas. Here you see some shots of Ted…

minimul1

minimul2

Believe it or not, we were once again passed by Tony and Sarah on rappel!!!!!!

The classic of the area is ‘Pylon’ (which was my first ever ice climb). North facing and very hard ice indeed. I did top pitch, which was just as well since Ted’s boot came off.

pylon1

We decided to try ‘Les Moulin’ WI6. Here you see Ted on one of the lower WI4 pitches. (Un)fortunately, the top hard pitch, the cigar, was cracked, so no honour was lost.

lesmoul1

Well that’s enough for now. As Pete observed, one bit of ice looks like any other!!!

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