Sunday, 7 April 2013

Pepite 300m M4

After visiting the poilet D’or last night we were pretty psyched and inspired to try get out on the hill again, the forecast wasn’t great and we were running out of time. After some browsing we come across a new route called Pepite on the north face of the Petit Verte, the route was only put up in 2011 and is only a 10 minute walk from the Grande montets station so a perfect choice, the route itself is a 300m M4 so not too hard, we decided to give it a crack, we had to move to quick though as we were flying out the following morning and needed to be back in Chamonix and packed ready.

After a few problems at the station in the morning we eventually got the ski lift up to the montets, the weather was incredible, if anything a little too hot, we geared up and set off up the argentiere glacier, the approach was simple and within minutes we were at the foot of the route, the line looked pretty cool, Julian wanted me to lead the first pitch, so if doing alternative leads I would get the crux corner at pitch 3, I set on up, the climbing fairly easy, possible Scottish 4, I arrived at the belay joining another team on the route, Julian followed on up, we waiting for the other team to move, they were moving pretty slow and the guy belaying kept shouting up at his partner to hurry. Myself and Julian kept checking the time as we knew we needed to be on that last lift down, eventually they moved on and Julian set off behind, the climbing was fairly long and Julian was unaware that he was going to be climbing through the crux pitch, he managed it well though and before long was giving me the call of safe, I followed on up and the climbing was awesome, a nice delicate corner, might have been easier if there was some ice but it was pretty dry, I arrived at the belay and applauded Julian on the lead, we had a quick drink and pushed on, the next pitch a snow/neve corner,  it was pretty awesome, just running up the solid ice, axe after axe they just sunk in perfect, I arrived at the belay and we had caught up with the other party again, I down climbed a little and set up another belay off a stake and sunk my axes in, Julian followed on up, when he arrived he mentioned that there was a large avalanche down the North face of the Verte, there were some skiers down that area so we hoped knowone got caught up in it, the next two pitches were pretty straight forward, climbing no harder than Scottish 3/4. I finished on up and topped out on the crest of the slopes to petit verte summit, the sun was shining and it felt pretty cool, Julian followed on up and joined me at the top, we congratulated each other and geared up ready for the descent down the west slope back to the Grande montets station, we arrived back at the lift with time to spare, grabbed a bite to eat then head on down, at the half way station there was a massive event going on, a big party to celebrate 50 yrs. of the Grande montet, it was a shame we had to get back down or we could of stayed for a while to celebrate…
Pepite topo

The start ramp to bottom of Pepite

Julian arriving at pitch 1

Julian just about to head into the crux

Julian arriving at the belay on pitsch 3

Looking down the crux pitch

Coming over the roof of the crux pitch

Avalanche down the north face of the Verte

Summit time

The Dru with the mont blanc massif behind

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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