Jun 13 15
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We’ve come to Chamonix for the weekend for a quick fix of Alpine Rock adventure.

Plan A (Pointe Percée) and plan B (Aiguille de Praz Torrent) had to be postponed due to the large amounts of snow still covering the ground. Plan C(i) (Plilier Sud Ouest) and Plan C(ii) (Barbarine) were abandoned due to lack of enthusiasm. So a quick browse through the guidebook gave us plan D: Into the Wild up the beautiful Vallon de Bérard.

We have visited Vallon de Bérard a few times, climbing and skiing, but we hadn’t been to this climb before. From the parking, near Le Buet, you walk just under 1.5 hours up the valley to get the the bottom of the route. Today the air was beautifully clear and fresh, there were lots of meadow flowers, the river was very full, and, in places, snow was still down to the path.

To reinforce that fact that last winter was a great snow/ski season, theres' absolutely loads of snow still in, and around, Chamonix!

To reinforce that fact that this last winter was a great snow/ski season, there is absolutely loads of snow still in, and around, Chamonix! Many mountain cragging venues are still relatively inaccessible.

Fortunately, the route is on the sunny side of the valley so there was no snow to prevent access. As we reached the small cairn that identified the path to take us to the bottom of the route, we looked up and saw a couple of teams already en-route. We also saw a group of bouquetin just hanging around. We were sure they would run away as soon as the climbers approached, but they seemed quite contented to hang out and watch the goings on… probably wondering why we needed ropes to tackle the steep slopes!

The bouquetin hardly bothered moving as we approach the crag, and clearly didn't mind the climbers already at the crag either!

The herd of bouquetin hardly bothered moving as we approach the crag – and clearly didn’t mind the climbers already at the crag either!

An incredibly tame (indifferent to our presence) herd of Alpine Ibex (aka Bouquetin)

An incredibly tame (at least indifferent to our presence) herd of Alpine Ibex (aka Bouquetin)

Anyway, by the time we got to the bottom of the route, the teams ahead had cleared the way. There are two routes: Into the Wild and L’Été Indien. There pretty much the same grade so we chose Into the Wild.

Laetitia starting Into the Wild in the beautiful Vallon de Bérard

Laetitia starting Into the Wild in the beautiful Vallon de Bérard

Pete starting the second pitch of Into the Wild

Pete starting the second pitch of Into the Wild

The route was great, and soon another team were quickly following us. This was obviously a popular place, but it was all very amiable. An easy abseil off brought us back to our bags, a late lunch and some shared chocolate courtesy of a Swiss team.

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