Jay Riley & Mark O'Day • August 13 - 18, 2005

Old buddies and brothers-in-law Jay Riley and Mark O'Day teamed up with Kathy and Mark to make a foursome. Our original plans had included the Eiger and Wetterhorn, both in the Bernese Oberland. However, the cold summer and frequent snowfall put the Eiger out of condition, so, at nearly the last minute, we changed venues to the Chamonix area, where the forecast was a bit drier and the options more numerous.

Other Recent Trips

We started with the old classic the Arête des Cosmiques. The weather was a tad funky this day, and the forecast was not very encouraging. But a bit of cloud is just right for the Cosmiques. Here, Mark makes his way down the arête off the top of the Aiguille du Midi. Kathy apparently took this photo while she was walking!


Mark and Kathy among the towers on the Cosmiques. You can see the large lenticular clouds over Mont Blanc.


Mark and Kathy somewhere on the Cosmiques. Fine rock and outrageous views.


Jay poses for the camera on the Cosmiques.


Kathy and Mark after the first major tower. Fortunately, these giant pinnacles are avoided by some clever traversing.


Kathy takes a photo of Mark in a similar location to the image above.


Jay cruises up the short aid ladder on the crux section of the route. Though it looks like he is lying on a slab, the rock here is really quite steep.


While we were enjoying our climb, a braver soul was scaling the rather pointed spire known as the "Obésisque", across the way. Jay and Mark look on.


The final moves of the Arête des Cosmiques, Kathy ascends the ladder.


I think maybe the beer has put them to sleep, or perhaps Jay and Mark tire of all the camera action. In any case, here we are in Chamonix.


With a generally rotten forecast for the mountains, we opt for shorts and rock shoes. We have driven into Italy, to a crag called Machaby. In this photo we struggle through the arduous approach.


Mark moves up the clean rock of Machaby. I'll have to admit to tilting this photo slightly. I couldn't resist.


One of the great things about climbing at Machaby is the descent which passes by this ancient church, "Our Lady of the Snows".


Exploring the area around the church.


Our next outing was into the Aiguilles Rouges, where we climbed the Aiguille de l'Index as well as nearby Mani Puliti. Here, Mark moves up the Index.


The fantastic backdrop of the Mont Blanc Massif is only one of the many benefits of climbing in the Rouges. In this photo Jay and Kathy are climbing on the SE Ridge of the Index.


Mark on the summit ridge of the Index.


Jay and Mont Blanc.


After the Index, we had enough time to also do a nearby route called Mani Puliti. This is a fine five or six pitch route, about 5.7 or so in difficulty. The afternoon clouds began to obscure our views.


Mark, Jay and Mark at the top of mani Puliti. You can see the tower of the Index behind, just to the left of the left-hand Mark.


Lots of other folks had the same idea of heading into the Aiguilles Rouges (though not to climb), and the line at the lift for the descent was of considerable length. So after having a beer or two we concluded that there was nothing for it but to stand in line ourselves. Jay and Mark indicate their displeasure.


For our last route we chose the Contamine-Grisolle on the North Face Triangle of Mont Blanc du Tacul. This is a fun mixed route and one of our favorites in the area. This photo, showing the route, was take from our ascent of the Cosmiques Arête a few days earlier.


Unfortunately, on the first pitch Kathy's leg was hit by a chunk of ice knocked off by climbers above. She decided that it was more prudent to descend while it was still easy to do so, rather than become too sore to climb up higher. So Mark and Jay carried on with Mark H. while Kathy went down to town. Fortunately, she only ended up with a large bruise and was back climbing in only a couple days.


Jay and mark on the summit of Mont Blanc du Tacul.

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