Suite-Next Retour à Sommaire/Contents Retour-backLes Aiguilles de Chamonix

We made several trips up to the Chamonix Aiguilles. A bivouac at the Chalet Austria, a semi-ruined shack on the Montenvers - Plan de l’Aiguille path or at Plan de l’Aiguillle itself (there is a pleasant spot to camp next to the lake) is preferable to a hard slog up from the valley before the climb. Good training climbs can be found on the Aiguille de l’M, either the easy North North East Ridge or a choice of more technical rock routes on the Chamonix face, all of which are safe even in poor weather.

Most of the other aiguilles, despite the proximity of the valley, can be dangerous in bad weather, notably if a thunder storm comes along, as they frequently do. The Aiguille du Peigne, although one of the lowest, has I very bad reputation for lightning, perhaps because of it’s crenulated ridge. Feeling the current running down a wet rope is an interesting experience, as I discovered a few years later.

In 1969, apart from the M we had a salutary experience on the Grepon and the dreaded Nantillons Glacier, and a very pleasant climb on the Peigne by the Papillons Arête, the Chamonix Face, and the Lépiney crack. For this last climb of the season, we broke our rule and took the télépherique du Midi to Plan de l’Aiguille first thing in the morning and got back comfortably the same evening to the Biolay.