Aug 13 31
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UTMB

I have no idea why, but we always seem to be in Chamonix on the weekend of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. Of course this is never a bad thing as the atmosphere in Chamonix while the event is on is electric. Anyway this year was no exception, but it was a little more interesting than usual as one of our friends, Zac, was competing in the CCC event. We watched his Tweets roll in through Friday evening as he made his way from Courmayer, through Champex, on his way to Chamonix. What a great effort – awesome job Zac! Laetitia, Ian, Anna, and I met up with Zac on Saturday evening, after he’d grabbed some sleep and recovered from the journey a little. Here’s a shot of Zac enjoying a beer…

Zac enjoying a little rehydration!

Zac, in his smart red finisher’s gilet, enjoying a little rehydration!

Poème à Lou

IMG_8113During the day, Ian and Anna went off for a run from Brévent to the Col des Montets, while Laetitia and I went to climb Poème à Lou.

We’ve tried Poème à Lou before but failed due – mostly – to a lack of finger strength. It is a brilliant fingery five pitch route straight up the vertical face of the Brévent as seen from down-town Chamonix. It gets TD+ with the hardest sections being 6b+. However, it is also pretty much non-stop sustained action, at around 6a+ standard, every centimetre of the way.

We’d left the hot and sunny Chamonix town centre wearing just shorts and t-shirts. Yet, up on the Brévent it was cloudy! :-( It seems from the view we had of the Chamonix valley that we were the only ones in the shade. :freeze: Luckily we each had a light weight fleece and windproof top with us.

The highlight of the route comes on the fourth pitch where the line crosses a couloir. It’s possible to climb across the couloir at a far higher standard. But most mortals, us included, use the in-situ rope to tyrolean across the chasm and swing on to the opposite rock wall. :cool:

Great training and fantastic fun! :?: I wonder if the UTMB support music beating out of Place de l’Église was helpful, keeping me moving upwards in some kind of motivational rhythm…

Pete setting off up 2nd pitch of Poeme a Lou, a lovely steep wall with an encouraging series of helpful holds!

Pete setting off up the 2nd pitch of Poème à Lou, a lovely steep wall with an encouraging series of helpful holds!

We were unlucky enough to be on the only cliff in the Chamonix valley not bathed in summer sun.  :-(

We were unlucky enough to be on the only cliff in the Chamonix valley not bathed in sun. :-(

Looking down on Laetitia following the 4th pitch of Poeme a Lou, another steep pitch but with even more helpful holds.  :razz:

Looking down on Laetitia following the 4th pitch of Poème à Lou, another steep pitch but with even more helpful holds. :razz:

Laetitia getting ready to scramble up the final slopes after the climb to the Brevent lift station.

Laetitia getting ready to scramble up the final slopes after the climb to the top Brévent lift station.

Cakes

Well, it seemed that everyone had had a successful day, so the only sensible way to celebrate was to have a cake! :yum: :yum: (Plus of course this has the added benefit of helping satisfy Colin’s needs too.)

Four yummy French cakes to celebrate another great day of adventure in Chamonix!

Four yummy French cakes to celebrate another great day of adventure in Chamonix!

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