My most successful month ever, in my eyes. Both as a progressing, and a proving ground, in the most intense single month of my life, where I explored my mental and riding limits further than ever before, while pushing my climbing limits fast. photos featuring me, when not obviously self portrait, are credited to Liam Brophy..cheers mate! I tell you, the Irish make the most dependable mates, whether in town or the mountains…and climb HARD!
These photos are from just a few days when camera was present, but managed to capture at least line photos of quite a bit of what was done(most notable missed line is N col, aig de telefre…belayed first 4 turns) there were definitely down days; exhaustion, weather, italian hitch-hiking holiday and alot of cragging!
Read related post ”mortality and the mountain”, same month as this, for my thoughts during this time…
NE face Mt Blanc du Tacul. climbed lower crux with Liam, then climbed to summit ridge at very top of triangle du tacul(rocks)..rode skiiers left of face back down. abseils back through lower crux…wished v much for a rope longer than 30m! can you see where I skittered on hidden alpine ice for 30m on the lower fan?
jager couloir on right never truly came on…photo is too bright to show all the ice… but on May 29, my last alpine day in cham, I climbed Mt blanc du tacul nice and early, to hit Gervasutti Couloir (on left). I had several glorious hours on top as the sun rose over europe. a blancing act between softening snow(yay) and softening serac/cornice(nay). came off ok, bloody sustained, scary ride. angle never eases out of somewhere in 50’s till bergschrund!
Rode into Italy and spent day lying in meadows by a roaring alpine steam… bueno!
my tracks into midi poubelle.
up late may mer de glace in skate shoes. homage to snowboardings roots? I dont think so but….
strolling up the via ferrata to couvercle refuge with graham pinkerton
for some reason no-one bothers with these, which are here photographed from the upper span of the aiguillle du midi. wx was terrible up high, so after a restless night at top of midi /i headed down and had a nudge,. backed out of R one halfway up, downclimbed around and did snowboard left one, though with riding abseil through crux at bottom. both were horrible conditions
snowboarding on the N face tour ronde from right below, just starting to look for an anchor. poor angle. bit scary face but not very big at 350m vert.
my probable first descent on les courtes, into couloir angelique. not exactly the most aesthetic line, but stuff has been fairly picked over. That said, the main couloir angelique, where my line runs into halfway down, was only first done about a decade ago
…but as usual I find myself alone…NE face mt B du tacul
graeme pinkerton and myself start up NE face, Mt blanc du Tacul
backd out here, and downclimbed. steep rough ice. learning to check the reality of things!
midi couloir poubelle. An entertaining way to pass a solo eveing camping at the midi, if not a recommended one. . 2 rappells were neccessary or this scrappy descent. my tracks visible on sunny rib top right
mt maudit and kuffner arete
the view before riding N face. petite gervasutti drops to Left
compelling future project in background…this is what xavier and jeremy backed off in ‘deeper’.. however right time, right place is everthing, so maybe someday… Liam however has other matters on his mind. By the way he’s a machine..skiing the 52 degree, sustained petite gervasutti to wrap up his first season on skiis!! phew. John McCune’s progresion was also pretty phenomenal.
dropping into N face tour ronde
myself, tour ronde. photo L brophy
liam pitch 1, tour ronde N face
first ice lead ever. tha ks liam! photo liam. featured in Climber magazine, with my article ‘reality checking’, spring 2012
liam brophy using gaelic fire to surmount a crumbly wee schrund
N face tour ronde. photo r macfarlane. climbed w/ liam brophy. rode N face solo. (another day we did petite gervasutti off W side)