Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chamonix family climbing trip

This weekend we went camping to Chamonix with the kids to make use of the beautiful "Indian summer" like weather and squeeze in some outdoor climbing.  We went to our fave spot "les Gaillands" where one can find plenty of easy and difficult routes, including a few shorter multipitch climbs.  The area is very easily accessible and has a nice grassy patch to rest/picnic on inbetween climbing.  There's even a small little hut with snacks/refreshments nearby for those who are thirsty or hungry.  Tommy is really getting into climbing now as he spent a few weeks climbing the sandstone pillars of Adr┼ípach in Czech Republic this summer and he was quite enthusiastic to try some 5b and 5c climbing.

It was unbelievably hot and "some" people went shirtless.

This is the view from Les Gaillands.

Anna getting in the groove.

The view from the parking lot. 

Where is Tommy?

More views of the Mont Blanc Massif.

After a very nice chill out day climbing, we headed to a campsite where we set up our tent and enjoyed the sun set while eating (what else?) than Czech goulash with dumplings :)))

Sun set, glaciers, mountains.

Moon rise.

Kitsch photo from the campsite.

A new drink we discovered. The CUBANISTO, or Rum flavoured beer.  Sounds scary enough??

The next day we had a big project to do.  We decided to do the "via corda alpina sur les sents des chamois".  Which is essentially an easy multipitch climb suitable for kids.  It takes roughly 3-4 hours to get up 600m and then roughly 1 hour for the descent.  There were a few easy segments that did not require using a rope but the rest, we treated as regular climbing.  The difficulty was 3c max, and the routes were very well bolted.  The rock was mostly slab (gneiss or granite).

The start of the via corda alpina.

Looming in the background once again, the all mighty Mont Blanc.

Anna giving it a go.

Tommy on his way up.

At the top of the world.

The first real multi-pitch climb accomplished.

Anna was exhausted but happy and when she heard the refuge was open, she had enough energy to finish the last few hundred meters.

At the top, we happily ordered some refreshing drinks and enjoyed the views of the needle mountains, waterfalls and glaciers.

Just around the bend of this valley is the very famous Mer de Glace glacier, where I did my alpinism initiation course 2 yrs ago.

Maybe there is a reason why the route is called "on the paths of the mountain goats" because we were suddenly attacked by a very feisty group of four goats (however, domesticated) who seemed to have gotten lost from their farm and were very hungry and eager to eat anything and everything that was around.  First they ran to my beer.  While I was trying to move it away from their mouth, they almost knocked down the remainder in the can.... they even started climbing on the picnic table and then decided if beer was not available, they would chew off all the flowers in the pots.  Eventually it got out of hand and the lady running the refuge, had to drag the goats away as they even went inside the hut.  Our kids were trying to assist and grabbed sticks and herded the goats.  Finally the local lady had to herd the goats to her truck and drive them back to the farm.  What an entertaining ending to the beautiful day. :D

Enough of that crappy grass from the farm, gimme some beer.

Mmmmm, look at those juicy flowers.

Anna was thrilled.

My two little goat herders.

After hiking back down, it was getting late, so we drove back home with an ice cream stop on the way as this was promised to our two awesome climbers.


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