MingulayThe weather out in Chamonix at the moment is really hot. Too hot for anything in the valley and walk ups to the plan have to be attempted either very early or very late. A lot of people seem to have just sacked off their objectives, which are mainly snow-conditions based, but we've managed to get up to the aiguilles a fair bit.
The first day was the usual harsh introduction to alpine ascent, with a 1,500 metre walk up to the L'M. We managed to do the classic Menegaux with a direct finish which involved an aid pitch through a roof- most bon.
Our second trip up to the Aiguilles was a little more pleasant, with a 5 O'Clock start and nearly 2,000 metres of ascent, climbing the modern classic 'Majorette Thatcher'. It was a bit of a challenge I had my eye on as a few mates had had a go on it a couple of years ago and failed to climb the entire crux pitch free and onsight. The Roof is quite tricky! A really nice route at about E3 I reckon.
A bivy back down on the plan aloud us to stock up on Cous Cous before the next day's thrutching on 'Les Diamants du President' and a quick go on a route graded ABO- to the left of the Majorette. We didn't know what the route was, as we had no guidebook, but the line is pretty obvious- following a crack rising out of a strange juggy dish feature. There were a few bolts here and there and I followed some up a blank wall directly below the dish, but apparently the route followed a flake on the right. I eventually fell off near the top anyway, but was a bit disappointed to see that the direct version wasn't recorded anywhere. It was quite thin, moving up granite crystals.
So a first week in the alps has provided a bit of cragging in the Aguilles, dodging thunder storms and getting used to Granite climbing. A bit of research has also revealed that the west face of the blaitiere has lost a lot of routes and the Fou is unapproachable apart from via the Midi. I'm not really very stoked to use the Cable Cars, so we'll have to see if there is a way to approach it from elsewhere. Bon Bon.