Ken Seamon mountaineering in France • July 7 - 11, 2005

Ken Seamon, currently residing in Cambridge, UK, joined Kathy for the second year in a row for a few days of climbing in the Mont Blanc massif. The weather was fairly challenging on this outing, with much climbing in fog and snow, but also some stunning sunshine and wintry crisp air.

Other Recent Trips

In unstable weather, but with the forecasters' promise of improvement always a couple of days away, we headed up to the Cosmiques hut area, "warming up" on a burly climb of the Pointes Lachenal. A "light zephyr" lent spice to the afternoon.

The following day was not much better, so after an abortive foray toward the Midi-Plan Traverse (note plastered rock, Scottish-style, in background), we managed to find a lift operator willing to shuttle us over into Italy, where rumor had it that conditions might be somewhat less bad.


Crossing to the Italian border on the Helbronner telepherique; the expected improvement in the weather did not seem immediately apparent however...


After a night in the Torino hut, the following morning did in fact dawn much better on both sides of the border. Here we are looking back toward the Aiguille du Midi, watching the light come up on Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Maudit, en route to the Tour Ronde.


We soon climbed back into the gathering clouds and fog, however this proved a good thing, keeping loose rock frozen in place, and lending a sense of "full conditions" to the adventure. We summited without views, but enjoyed the day despite that drawback.

After another night in the Torino hut, we woke to threatening clouds and a very uncertain forecast. Although the clouds soon cleared away, we had meanwhile opted to so some technical ice climbing instruction and practice on the north face of the nearby Aiguille de Toule.

Ken is seen here belaying Kathy up one of several steep crevasse walls, on the way to a narrow couloir that looked interesting.


The couloir did indeed prove interesting, and Ken's introduction to ice climbing became an introduction to ice and mixed climbing! After a busy hour or so in the steep, narrow gully, we re-emerged victorious into the sunshine (of course, as our luck would have it, by the time we reached the summit, the fog was back!)


We finished the day by taking the telepherique back over to the French side, and descending in much improved weather, to the Cosmiques hut for another night.


The following morning dawned clear and cold, with a brisk wind keeping us moving as fast as we comfortably could. Here we saw the sunrise from high on Mont Blanc du Tacul.

The early morning light is just touching some sculpted ice features near our route. The Grandes Jorasses is in the background.


Although beautiful, the sunlight didn't warm things up much as the terrain steepened toward the summit.


At last rewarded with a summit view—our first, and last, of the week!—, we enjoyed it for as long as the chill breeze would allow. Mont Maudit and Mont Blanc are seen here behind Ken.


A quick descent into the welcome warmth of mid morning, and back to town.

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