Salima Shafi in Chamonix • July 7 - 12, 2014

Salima Shafi, from Minnesota, made a last-minute trip to the Alps in search of a bit of alpine climbing. Her dates, however, coincided with some of most dismal weather so far this season. Fortunately, the flow of bad weather was from the north, so we were often able to avoid the worst of it with a quick trip to Italy, and to warm rock.

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Our first day was forecast to be good in the morning but deteriorating as the day progressed. We needed a relatively quick climb. The Traverse of the Aiguilles Crochues was our choice.

A rather delayed start was required as lightening from the previous evening had created a "technical problem" and a late lift opening.

 

So far, so good.

 

Still in the sun on the summit

 

Clouds coming in over the main Alpine ridge. This view from Lac Blanc on our way down.

 

We walked over the the Index lift to descend, and the fog and rain met us here.

 

The following day as terrible everywhere, so we simply chose to take it off, deciding to extend our dates by a day to compensate.

But on day 3, things were looking better in Italy. We zipped through the Mont Blanc Tunnel and found our way to Dr Jimmy.

 

The red line shows the approximate location of the route, above the Forte di Bard.

 

Working our way up the slabs of Dr Jimmy.

 

The following day continued poor on the north side of the mountains. So, once again, to Italy. Today's route was Diretta al Banano on the Paratone. Mouse over the pic to see, more or less, the line.

 

Salima on the first, and hardest, pitch.

 

The rock on this route is amazing.

 

Almost to the top. Our car is in the lot down below.

 

On the top of Diretta al Banano.

 

The following day, we were hoping for a bit of better weather up high. Our goal was the Traverse of the Aiguilles Marbrees. However, it was truly nasty at the start, and, once again headed to drier and warmer locales.

 

Another rock climb in Italy, this one Topo Pazzo.

 

Roll over the image to see the line of Topo Pazzo.

 

Climbing out of the vineyards on the first pitch.

 

And the rappels off...

 

And our last day... The weather in the valley was still under a gray overcast. But up high, not so bad. With only a small window of descent weather we needed something quick.

The Arete des Cosmiques.

 

Lots and lots of new snow from the previous day's storms.

 

Looking back up towards the Midi from partway up the route.

 

The route, with all the new snow, was in remarkably easy condition. A good track with big steps.

 

Just above the crux crack.

 

Salima's "John Muir" pose. Not bad.

 

The snowed-up exit chimney.

 

Salima leads the final "ladder".


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