John Hornbaker • August 21-25, 2006

John Hornbaker, who now calls London his home, joined Mark for a few days of climbing in the Chamonix area. We had a mix of weather, some great and other not so good, but we were able to get in some good climbing every day.

Other Recent Trips

For our first climb we chose a route in the Aiguilles Rouges called Fraise de Boâtchs, a rock climb on the Gran Floria. The climb includes three distinct steps, each a few pitches in length. By the time we had finished the route, we had perhaps climbed ten or so pitches.

Here, John climbs a pitch on the first step.


The Gran Floria and the three steps of the route. Though it look a bit scruffy in this photo, the route has some very good rock.


Riding the Index lift down to the valley after the climb. Ah, the only way to climb mountains.


We moved up into the mountains, basing from the Cosmiques hut for a few days. Our first route was the classic Arête des Cosmiques.


As we were approaching the climb, another team was coming down with an injured climber (a dislocated patella, it turned out). We watched the helicopter pluck him from the ridge and plunge down into the valley, hospital-bound.

Seeing the occasional rescue is both a good reminder to be careful, as well as a demonstration of the wonders of helicopter flight.


The final "pitch" of the Arête des Cosmiques.


The very pleasant Refuge des Cosmiques.


Sunset from the deck of the hut.


The next day we climbed the East Arête of the Pyramid du Tacul. This route is a great little rock climb. Here, we are still on the approach.


With all the recent snowfall, any time the route swung out onto the shady side of the ridge, it became mixed. Avoiding the snow made the upper part of the route quite a bit harder than it normally is.


John avoids the snow while traversing a ledge on the descent.


Lower on the descent.


The next day we climbed the Chèré Couloir, a fun little ice route on the North Face Triangle of Mont Blanc du Tacul.

This photo shows the location of the route. On the day of our climb, the weather was not particularly good. This pic was taken from the Cosmiques hut on the same day as the sunset photo above.


John near the top of Chèré Couloir.


With the weather not so good in the high mountains, we decided to venture into Italy for our last day, hosing a good rock climb at an area called Machaby.

The route here is Bucce d'Arancia.


An odd lenticular over the summit of Mont Blanc. This photo was taken from the Italian side of the peak, as we wait in line to pass through the Tunnel du Mont Blanc. An accident on the French side involving an overturned meat-hauling semi-trailer slowed our return to Chamonix considerably.

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