Michele & Craig Iverson/Young in the Mont Blanc Massif • August 23 - 28, 2010

Michele and Craig, who now appear to be settling down in the Lake Tahoe area, joined Mark for six days of climbing in August. Recently married they also spent some time visiting Michele's relatives in Switzerland as well as several days in Paris.

We had some challenging weather, but still managed to climb (more or less) every day.

Other trips with Michele and Craig

Alps, July 2005

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Craig and Michele in the Restaurant Bartavel, looking at photos of the previous 6 days of climbing.


Our first climb was the classic Arete des Cosmiques. Though the weather looks a bit threatening and unstable, it held off all day nd we had a great ascent. This is the "approach" to the climb.


Michele squeezes though a tight chimney.


To avoid a crowded bottle-neck, we took a slight "variation" traversing along ledges on the steep SE face, avoiding both the mob and the time-consuming rappels in the process.


Michele cruises up the cruz of the route.


Only a couple short pitches from the top.


And the summit photo. Mont Maudit just visible behind. Mont Blanc is hiding in the cloud to the right.


The forecast for the following day was decidedly wet in the mountains. But with the weather coming in from the west, the Val d'Aosta in Italy is often sunny and dry. So we went rock climbing, enjoying a 10-pitch route called, oddly enough, "Dr. Jimmy".


This is a fun route, not extreme, but with a few challenging and balancy moves here and there.


On days 3 and 4, the forecast looked reasonably good. We hatched a plan to climb the Aiguille d'Entreves, seen here, then spend the night in the Cosmiques hut. The following day (or night) we would try the traverse of Mont Blanc.


The Entreves almost always starts with a spectacular ride on the "Panoramique" between the Aiguille du Midi on the French side, and Point Helbronner on the Italian side.


Looking down on a team of three climbers in the middle of a sea of crevasses.


The official border in the Point Helbronner station. No passport control here, however.


We had a beautiful day on the Entreves.


A view of the final few pitches of the route.


Almost to the summit.


After a leisurely descent of the Entreves, we rode the Panoramique back across the glacier to the Aiguille du Midi, and descended to the Cosmiques hut for the night. Sunset was spectacular, though the clouds look a little worrisome.


Low light from the setting sun on peaks to the east. The large mountain in the background is the Grand Combin, in Switzerland.


We certainly were not alone on this climb. At one in the morning, the entire hut, about 120 souls, came to life. This is the scene just outside the hut, where crampons are donned and everyone ties into his or her respective rope.


This morning, the stars were veiled, and as we climbed, we could watch the cloud ceiling descend, engulfing the summits, one by one, and finally us as well. Before long it began to snow lightly, and a very strong wind kicked up.

We continued over the shoulder of Mont Blanc du Tacul and were almost to the shoulder of Mont Maudit, when multiple parties who were ahead of us, began descending, retreating back to the Cosmiques hut. The wind was a big problem up ahead. Not knowing if the nasty weather would abate, we too began our descent.


Amazingly, not long after dawn, but much too late to head back up to the summit, the storm passed even more quickly than it arrived. Here, as we climb down the slopes of Mont Blanc du Tacul, the final clouds blow free of the Aiguille du Midi.


Parties descending after attempting Mont Blanc. Two weeks ago, the ladder was the only way across this crevasse. But a big storm a week previous, with its corresponding avalanches, created a convenient bridge.


In the end, the day turned out to be fantastic. The glacier was covered with climbers, perhaps more than I have ever seen.

However, having gotten up at 12:30 am, we were all a bit too tired to put the fine weather to good use.


The weather on our day 5 was anything but good. We started out, hoping to do a climb of the Aiguille Crochues, in the Aiguilles Rouges. But after about ten minutes of approach, we were all completely soaked by the hard rain. With boots rapidly filling up with water, we sought an alternative activity.

And the answer was Annecy.


We spent the day exploring this lovely little town.


Annecy lies on the edge of Lake Annecy, and the outflow runs through town in a series of pleasant restaurant-lined canals.


A typical Annecy "back yard".


Petites fritures for lunch.


The pig looks like he is struggling a bit, but still keeping up well with the horses.


Michele contemplates the tree roots, growing out into the canal.


It was a lovely day in Annecy, warm and relaxing.


But, enough of this lolligagging. We had mountains to climb. Unfortunately, we did not have the best of weather. Even so, we managed a good climb of the Petite Aiguille Verte. It did not feel so petite under the day's conditions.

We climbed a couple ice pitches on the north face, then a bit of rock to the summit, before descended the normal route of the NW Ridge. Here, we arrive at the bergschrund, and the start of the pitched climbing.


Michele on mixed ground at the top of the second pitch.


We did not stay long on the summit. Descending the NW Ridge.


The frosted up rock and marginal weather conditions meant we had the peak all to ourselves. I believe we were the only party to summit this day.


A final shot on our last day, reminding us all get out there and have fun, but do be careful.