Alex Lockwood climbing in the Mont Blanc Massif • June 9 - 11, 2009

Alex, who hails from Australia, joined Mark for 3 days in the Chamonix area. The weather was decidedly mixed and the season just barely underway. However, we did manage some good climbing on a couple of the local favorites. Originally, we had Mont Blanc as our primary objective. However, much new snow and associated avalanche hazard forced a revision of the plan.

Other Recent Trips

Here's Alex on the Arête des Cosmiques on day 1.


In spite of a rather dreary start to the day (down in Chamonix we were wondering if we would see the sun at all) we had a great day on the Arête. We were first on the route, and had a good bit of new snow to play in.


A bit of down climbing on steep snow.


Over hill and dale on the Cosmiques.


...and down into the notch below the final bit of rock climbing to the summit amenities. We had a bite of late lunch on the summit before heading down to the Cosmiques hut for the night.


The following morning dawns mostly clear, with a veil of high cloud. The moon barely peaks through over Mont Blanc.


Looking east, towards the Aiguille du Midi and sunrise.


Climbers heading off across the Vallée Blanche, with the Grandes Jorasses and the Dent du Géant in the background.


Our objective for the day was the Traverse of the Pointes Lachenal. Post-holing across the Vallée Blanche was a bit of an effort.


After reaching the first, east, summit, we continue along the ridge.


The gap between the central and west (highest) summit. A few mixed moves were required to reach this belay point.


The last few steps to the west summit.


Looking back on our tracks on the east peak.


Just as we arrive on top, another party comes up the normal route.


We descended back down the normal route on the Pointes Lachenal, then walked over to do the Arête à Laurence, the more "fun" way to get back to the Cosmiques hut.


Alex takes a photo or two.


We arrived back at the hut early, and with energy to burn, we decided to go for a quick stroll across the Vallée Blanche, then ride the "Panoramique" from Point Helbronner back to the Aiguille du Midi, finally, once again reaching the Cosmiques.


A view up towards the Tour Ronde and Mont Blanc. We can see the weather deteriorating as it blows in from the west. The forecast that night was not good.


And so it came to pass... The wind picked up in the night and the snow started falling. In the morning it was clearly too nasty for much of anything. We battled our way back to the lift on top of the Aiguille du Midi (it was not easy) where we waited for the lift to open. With all the wind and poor weather, the first ride down was not until about 2 pm!