Zack Whitley in Chamonix • August 10 - 12, 2015

Zack Whitley was back from L.A. for his second climbing trip with Kathy. Last year he got an introduction to the basics of snow, ice and glacier climbing, this year we focused more on rock and mixed climbing. His trip coincided with the last (for a while) of the hot weather.

Other trips with Zack

Alps, August 2014

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Our first day was a bit cloudy, but it stayed dry for us, and still warm enough for T-shirts. We climbed the Traverse of the Crochues, an exposed rock ridge in the Aiguilles Rouges.


A couple other climbers out ahead of us, but not crowded at all.


Pausing for a break on our high point, before finishing the rest of the ridge. The two other climbers show us what we have to look forward to!


Day 2 was much sunnier, so we rode the famous cable car to the top of the Aiguille du Midi, to climb the equally famous Cosmiques Arête.


Of course, the first challenge is the steep and icy ridge out of the cable car station, with thousands of feet of exposure on the left side, above the town of Chamonix. Zack gets ready to "drop in".


The view down the friendlier, right hand side of the ridge, shows views from the Grandes Jorasses (the spiky skyline, and border with Italy) all the way into Switzerland (the furthest peaks in the left background) — the Matterhorn is just barely discernable as a small spike to the right of the larger peak, the Grand Combin.


Near the bottom of the ridge, things mellow out a bit.


Lookiung back up at the amazing tourist complex on the top of the Aiguille.


A short glacier walk brings us to the base of our route. The beginning of the ridge in very dry condition, shows the nature of the rock scrambling on this climb.


Getting some fine views, about 1/3 of the eway up the climb.


A little bit of snow still left on the route.


Very near the top of our climb, we exchange photo opportunities with another party.


Zack kindly reduces the height inequality, visually at least.


We made it!


The famous last steps up a ladder, onto the viewing platform and back into the lift station complex.


On our last day, we headed back into the Aiguilles Rouges to climb the Index, a pointy summit very conveniently located near the top of a chairlift. No, this is not Kathy, this is Eva, a Swedish guide, coaching a rope team ahead of us.


Zack gives the last pitch a thumbs-up!


Eva on the first of several steep rappels off the summit.


And Zack nearing the bottom of said rappels. Steep!


Looking back up at the pointy summit of the Index, just in time for a paraglider's fly-by. There are plenty more peaks left for another visit next year. Thanks Zack!

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