Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Pellissier Route 220m M5

With weather settling for a couple of days myself and Julian headed back up the hill to look at the Pellissier route on pointe lachenel, this was one of the routes on my wish list so i was pretty keen to give it a crack, Things didn't start to good when one of the straps on my snow shoe snapped at the station, so using a sling and a bit of modding we managed to sort it, we set off across the glacier making steady progress, but with all the skiers flying by without even braking a sweat it was kind of demoralising. After wading through deep snow we eventually arrived at the base of the climb.
The line looked pretty awesome and looked in OK condition to, we geared up and started the slog up the snow slope to the base of the route, we set up belay and i led on up the first pitch, it was a ice/mixed pitch and wasn't to hard, there was quite abit of spindrift coming down but the climbing fairly easy, I arrived at the belay and Julian followed on up. Julian took the lead on the second pitch, this was a nice thin ice line running up a chimney moving onto an easy mixed section. Pitch three was fairly small with a small crux bulge, it wasn't to hard but a little awkward, I took an ice screw from my harness to place it and made the mistake of holding it in my mouth, due to it being frozen it stuck to my lips, i pulled it and removed most of the skin from my lips causing me to bleed quite bad, i pushed on though and arrived at the belay, Julian followed on up and asked what all the blood was up the pitch, he soon noticed. the next pitch seemed pretty easy, a steep snow section up a tight corner, Julian lead on up with ease and followed on up behind. we were now at the final and crux pitch, a overhanging mixed section, The climbing was awesome and i managed to get some good gear in, maybe been a little easier if i was wearing my mono points rather than my dual, the feet were little but there were allot of good axe placements, i eventually arrived at the top of the route, Julian followed on up and arrived at the top. The visibility was getting poor now due to cloud coming in so we didn't wait around and started rappelling down the route, it all seemed to be going good until the last abseil, we pulled the rope through and it was all fine until the end of the rope got stuck in a crack, we tried to free it but it wasn't moving, couldn't believe our luck, how??, no knot just the rope and it gets stuck.. typical alpine adventure, we decided to leave it due to the weather coming in and made do with one rope to get down off the route, we had to put in some of our own anchors but we eventually made it down. We were now in a white out at the base of the route, we quickly took some food and liquid on board and made the hard slog back up to the cosmiques, this was a killer and took a long time, vision was nowt and snow was very deep but we eventually arrived back at the cosmiques hut in darkness, the kind guardian was nice enough to do us some dinner before we headed off to bed.
We both didn't sleep to good so we decided to come back down to the valley today to recover. Weather isn't looking to good for the next few days so we are unsure on plans, we wanted to try the supercouloir or the Gabarrou - Albinoni but weather being the way it is we may play it safe, there is another new line on the petite verte called Pepite so we may look at that, or we may just go skiing instead..

Pellissier Route follows the red line.

Modification to snow shoe

Eventually arriving at the route

Julian following up the snow slope to the first pitch

Me on pitch 1

Julian coming up pitch 3

Leading pitch 3

Julian leading Pitch 4
Looking down pitch 4

The M5 Crux pitch

On the summit

Julian on the summit

Bad visibility on the return to the cosmiques

never put a frozen ice screw in your mouth.. they stick

The end to another great day in the mountains


  1. NIce pics. I think what you refer to as pitch 4 is usually the crux? Its usually a really steep thin crack with no/little ice but I think it's been banked out with snow now? in fact it def has from that picture of your mate leading it. That's pretty mental considering it's April! Learn to ski mate, makes winter alpinism a billion times less tiring! Hope you have a good rest of trip!

    1. Hi Phillip, Thanks for the comment, yes there was lots of snow and pitch 4 was by far the easiest pitch on the route, the hardest pitch on the day was probably the last rock one we did but none of it too hard.. i can ski ( Not great) but unfortunatley my partner dosent... yet! weather looking poor at the moment and for the rest of the week so not sure if we will get much else done, we did want to try the supercoilour but weather is not good enough and like you say very time consuming when on snow shoes, we may look at a newish route on the petite verte tomorrow called Pepite but i guess it all depends on weather.

  2. we did pepite straight out of the car after driving from england the other week. a good route and easy to get too and off, you can even get the bin back down!

    that amazes me about pitch 4 on the pellissier it was proper m5 when we did it, with people being lowered ropes and all sorts. Supercouloir is pretty nails to start, vs in big boots up the gervasutti or scottish VII on the direct. Bonne chance!


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