Douves Blanches Arete

~ Thursday 10th October 2013

Sometimes the weather forecast really ruins your plans. On Tuesday morning it was saying good all day then terrible for the rest of the week, perfect for our blast up the Pigne with a nice rest promised afterwards. Sadly, by Tuesday evening "they" had decided that Wednesday would also be nice, the bad weather delayed til Thursday. Oh well, it seemed a shame to miss the sunny day so Tuesday's tired legs were slapped and forced up hill again. It was worth it. 

The first of several pinnacles

The Douves Blanches is the impressive ridge on your left as you walk to the Bertol hut, an Arolla classic, with fine exposed climbing and generally very good rock. Unusually for the Alps there's no obvious hut to start from - Bertol is a good 2 hours further uphill from the start - so a bivvy or walk-in from the valley make sense. Finding the start isn't easy - it goes up some unlikely-looking ground immediately left of the huge slabs below the "Quille". Once on the ridge it's all pretty obvious though...

Route description superfluous 

Fine climbing high up

Probably the crux, an awkward little traverse followed by a steep corner. There's very little fixed gear on the route but there are a few pegs around here. 

Brilliant scrambling to finish, increasing cloud adding (unnecessary) extra atmosphere. The descent is quick and obvious with some loose downclimbing to reach the glacier, then a quick trot down snow to the col. Or so we thought. In fact the glacier was very wet knee deep slog. The col de la Tsa gets steeper every visit and needed an Abalokov thread abseil. From there it's quick and easy down the glacier, find the stashed trainers, and off down the path to the car hoping it rains tomorrow. 

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