Colin Bailey climbing in the Chamonix area • June 27 - July 1, 2010

Colin Bailey, who hails from Missouri, came to the Chamonix Valley for 5 days of climbing with Mark. This was Colin's first visit, so we chose climbs that offered a smorgasbord of different types of climbing.

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We began with an ascent of the Aiguille de l'Index. The SE Ridge offered a fine introduction to the exposure (and unfortunately the occasional crowds) of climbing in Chamonix.


Only a couple more pitches to go.


The next day, we took the cable-car up the Aiguille du Midi, an amazing "climb" in and of itself. Our plan was to climb the Arete des Cosmiques and return to Chamonix that afternoon.


Part of the "installation" on the summit of the Midi.


This photo shows the Aiguille du Midi from the southwest. The building is the Cosmiques hut, where we stay later in the trip. The Arete des Cosmiques follows the ridge on the left part of the peak. It begins easily enough but gets more difficult as some major towers are encountered.

Roll your mouse over the image to see the route.


This is another view of the Aiguille du Midi, taken from the Panoramique cable car.

The Arete des Cosmiques follows the left skyline. Again, roll your mouse over to see the route.


We had perfect weather for our climb. Here, we are about the descend the ridge leading down from the summit, to access our climb.


On the route.... With all the early-season snow, we climbed the entire route in crampons.


The climb was quite busy, unfortunately. But we did manage to get past all these folks by taking a slightly different route on a ledge system only a couple meters above their heads!


Colin on the second to last pitch of the climb.


And the famous final ladder to the observation platform. Another party arrives.


Colin at the end of the route.


The next day, our third, we went rock climbing again. This time to the Chézerys area above the town of Argentière. We started on the Aiguillette d'Argentière, a small but fun pinnacle.


Colin pulls hard on the starting flake of the Arête NE.


The following day, we were back in the mountains. This time for the Traverse of the Aiguille d'Entrèves, on the Franco-Italian border.

We rode the Aiguille du Midi Cable car again, and continued across to Point Helbronner on the Panoramique lift. We found an interesting assortment of warning signs. Mountains are dangerous!


On the Traverse of the Aiguille d'Entrèves.


Just past the summit, Colin begins the descent.


We spent that night in the Cosmiques hut, with the goal of climbing the Contamine Grisolle route on the North Face Triangle of Mont Blanc du Tacul.


We had a spectacular sunset from the hut.


Dramatic clouds to the west.


This photo, taken about 2 weeks earlier, shows the north side of Mont Blanc du Tacul. Mouse over to see the up, and down routes.


Sunrise on summit day. A lenticular cloud forms over the Grandes Jorasses.


Colin on easy group about 5 or 6 pitches up the climb. Sunrise was at 5:47 on this fine day.


A pitch or two higher. Behind is the Aiguille du Midi.


From here, we have only about 3 pitches of technical climbing to the upper snow ridge, and the summit.


The top of the difficulties.


From the location of the last photo, we climbed about 300 meters of mostly not-too-steep ridge to the summit.


Looking back towards the Aiguille du Midi.


And finally, the descent down the normal route and back to town.