Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Forbes Arete

As acclimatisation peaks go this one certainly got the head banging, a truly amazing route with lots of exposure and fun climbing that never seemed to end.

We made our way up to the la tour Glacier mid morning on sunday with the idea of a bivy under the Aiguille du chardonnet before climbing the forbes arete monday and then back down in the valley for dinner... yeah right!
After a cold bivy and not much sleep we decided to go ahead with the climb, the first sections were basically a steady snow climb through very seraced terrain, this was tough due to the fact we were not acclimatised, once on the ridge itself is when things got good, the climbing was great, myself and scott took turns on the lead keeping paul in the centre of the rope as we moved across the ridge, the climbing wasnt to difficult other than a few thin ice traverses.
After around 10 hours from leaving the bivy we finally topped out on the summit 16:00, we were all pretty happy but also very tired, the ridge seemed allot longer than first anticipated. with bad weather knocking at the door we took a few summit shots before making our way down.
Weather hit us hard just has we were leaving the summit, with white out conditions and snowfall things didnt look too good, I lead on down from the summit crossing a few small cornices before finding the descent col, we started on down this moving together on the rope, things started to get a bit steep and unstable so we decided to start abseilling to lay things safe, dont want to go into it too much but after around 10 abseils, close encounters of rockfall and some pretty grim weather we finally made it down to the col, once here we tried to melt some water has we were all getting pretty dehydrated but due to the cold the jetboils failed us ,All feeling the strain we decided to push on down through some very unstable mountain terrain to try and make it back to the glacier before nightfall, we finally managed to make it down and get across the glacier to the albert premier hut around 23:30, all feeling pretty wrecked and done for we decided to take another bivy, Think i slept the best I have ever slept in the mountains so I must of been tired, we woke in the morning before heading back down the valley.

Overall all a very good route but due to weather made it pretty commiting, But great teamwork made a succseful climb, one more thing, want to mention how well paul done on the climb, he hasnt been climbing long now so he would have found this tough, he was really cool and confident and climbed very well, he also did amazing to finish the second half of the route with only one glove after making the error of dropping it down the face half way along the route.

Auguille de chardonnet with the forbes arete taking the ridgeline
 from left to right

Paul and scott on the approach

looking for a good bivy spot

relaxing in the sun at our bed for the night

Paul enjoying the joys of french veggie soup.

watching the sun set from the bivy always puts a smile on your face.

Paul on the snow slope approach to the ridge

Me leading across one of the snow/Ice traverses

paul on summit

Me on the summit with bad weather looming

scott on summit

me moving across the ridge

scott and paul on the ridge

Due to weather and bad conditions there wasnt many
photos of the descent other than this one of me on
one of the abseils.

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Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are
naught without prudence, and that a momentary negliance may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; Look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end