Monday, 3 September 2012

One Summer

How do you describe the most enjoyable and varied 6 weeks you’ve probably ever had. On the last night sat around the brew pan chatting we tried to think of a single bad thing that had happened during our time travelling across France. Not one came to our minds.

We’d spent 4 weeks in Chamonix climbing some brilliant alpine rock routes, suffering a fair amount (mostly due to my sleeping bag being rated to 11degC when it was –2degC) and living in the woods near Snells field just outside the town centre.

 Catching the coach in late July I had no idea what we would get upto. Would I enjoy it all, would I shit myself and get too intimidated by the scale and the reputations of the classic routes I so wanted to do. But I needn’t have worried, yes there were times when I shat myself, times when all I wanted to do was go cragging on a British mountain crag or sea cliff then go to a pub and eat chips and drink beer. But there were other moments where it all came together. The Grand Capucin day, linking 2 really cool routes and then doing it all lift-to-lift made for a knackering but brilliant day out. Seeing the image of the Gervasutti Pillar in my own eyes not just in the Rebuffat book. Doing the Frendo rock section in 3 hours (the ice was very shitty and I had bendy boots on so that took a long time and lots of pain, see the picture below).

Then the set-back of getting upto the Eccles Bivvi Hut in late August to do the Freney Pillar but after following others advice we only had one rope. You needed 2 this year. But despite this we walked back down, still friends, still alive and still keen for one more route. We picked Frendo as it would be something that we could race up in theory and be back down quickly so as to catch a lift with another friend to Font and then home!

 All in all this summer trip to the Alps was amazing, thinking back to all the things I’ve seen and done. Alpine routes, swimming in Lake Annecy, watching clouds vanish above me in blue evening skies, watching the light fade on the faces of massive rock spires, seeing a tree fall down (with no one pushing it), travelling across France in a classic English gentlemans transit van, climbing on sandstone blocs in Font and visiting Paris for the first time (ran across the Arc d’Triumph roundabout!). Life felt good, and we lived for the moment.

 Below is a selection of pictures Tom Livingstone and Rob Richardson took (my camera drowned in Annecy Lake) that I hope sum up our trip and the fun we had this one summer.

“Life is about love, last minutes and lost evenings. About fire in our bellies and furtive little feelings” – Frank Turner
Summit of the Grand Capucin - A Grand Day Out

The Dream Team in Font (the pool made us wear Budgie smugglers - we looked like paedo's)

Moving Right on shitty ice at the top of the Frendo spur

Straddling Papillon Arete - First Route of the Season

Last Alpine Camp of the season - Beautiful

Im not sure what we were looking at but it sums up the partnership - Pessimistic vs. Eternal Optimist

Climbing near the top of La Marchand de Sables

Gervasutti Pillar - Birthday Route!

We spent a week in font and this is my favourite picture - my white tshirt still shows up

Transit travel across France - we got bored at one traffic jam so surfed on the roof for a bit

A woodland Paradise - Moss included

Snickers and a Candle - one way to wake up at 3am on your birthday! - we look fucked already!
Sid the watermelon 22-24 Aug 2012 - he gave us stomach cramps so we threw him in the river