Saturday, 4 July 2015

More Classics - Chapelle de la Glière & Aiguille Purtscheller South Ridge

It's a hard life! With the heatwave continuing in Cham (and seemingly across the rest of Europe) I've been sticking with the enjoyable theme of ticking off Valley classics and trying not to get sunburnt.

First up was another day with Ed on the superb Chapelle de la Glière in the Aiguilles Rouges. I've done it a few times but I always forget how good the climbing and the situations are. There were a lot of teams going for it so there was something of a queue at the start but eventually everyone spread out and we were able to enjoy some peace for the second half of the route.

French guide and client on the "Razoir" section - perhaps the most famous and photographed pitch in Chamonix.

Ed's subtle marketing on show in the Flegere car park.

With work looming I only had one day left and fancied a hard day so that I could sit, graft away and stuff my face free of guilt. The Aiguille Purtscheller fit the bill nicely - a long approach and then a classic alpine ridge of golden granite leading to a great summit. We got the first lift up at Le Tour and made good time up to the hut and then over the Col Purtscheller to the route. 

Once climbing, the route is great but very traditional in nature, with lots of thrutching up chimneys and all the other carry-on that comes with climbing "old school" routes. The rock quality is good though and the descent is really easy so overall the Purtscheller got a big thumbs up from us. However, it is a long way to go in a day and we were glad of the bikes we'd stashed at the top of the Le Tour chairlift to get us down the final bit of descent. 

Unlike the descent from the Flegere last week (see below) the jeep tracks are quite smooth and easy at Le Tour but unfortunately my bike seems to only have the front brake working, which meant that I had to do the whole thing without a back brake. Needless to say this made crashing almost inevitable so I was pleased to escape with 3 small falls and a sore elbow. The bike didn't fare so well though; the heat from me gripping the brake burst the front tyre 50 metres from the car. Thanks for holding out so long tyre, it certainly beat walking.

Tom on the Purtsheller

Abbing off, with the Col Purtscheller below.

Tom biking home and heading for a burger and a beer. A stunning view to cap a great day.

The heatwave sweeping Europe is showing no sign of abating so choose your routes carefully, put plenty of suncream on and enjoy the views.