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Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Mont Blanc 2

~ Sunday 22nd June 2014

A second success on Mont Blanc this week. With terrible weather and conditions at the start of the week on Gran Paradiso, things got off to a poor start - failing to make the summit was frustrating and disappointing, but still good preparation for the big goal.

Happily there was a perfect forecast for the end of the week! Glorious weather and good snow conditions saw us making good progress up to Gouter.

the last steps to the summit

Summit!

Heading down

Down the Dome de Gouter, Aiguille de Bionassay way below

The usual Gouter afternoon excitement. Tete Rousse and cold beer in sight, many slow-moving Russians with huge rucksacks blocking the way...

Evolene Parapente and Mountain Bike

~ Monday 16th June 2014

It's not just mountaineering in the Val d'Hérens - it's a great area for paragliding too. I've been driving the transport for the Evolene Parapente the last couple of days. Beautiful views from the morning take-off site at the Étoile Alpage.

Then today riding mountain bikes with old friends from Wales. Great singletrack descents, some hot and sweaty climbs, and more great scenery.

Mont Blanc

~ Sunday 15th June 2014

The summer season got off to a great start this week with success on Gran Paradiso, then Mont Blanc on Thursday. Beautiful weather and good snow conditions and a quiet, early season mountains made for a very enjoyable ascents of both peaks.

The scramble to the summit of Gran Paradiso

Paradiso summit. A tough start to the week but good preparation for Mont Blanc

Early morning on the Gouter ridge

Dome du Gouter, 2 hours to the summit!

High above the Chamonix valley.

Summit selfie

Kurt wins the summit banner competition!

Grand Couloir is in good condition but drying out fast in the warm weather.

Arc'teryx and the BMG

~ Saturday 7th June 2014

Great news about the renewal of the partnership between the BMG and Arc'teryx. I can honestly say that the Arc'teryx kit I've used over the last few years has been the best kit I've ever used. Simple design, quality materials and manufacture, and it lasts. I've climbed and skied in Arc'teryx kit now for several years without a single fault - no stitching failure, no zips breaking, no bits falling off. Sizing seems uniform across the range too - which is good if buying mail order. I'm a large in everything I've tried (but I bought my Atom LT in XL as an over-layer)

Favourite things have been:

Atom LT Hoody. Summer outer layer, winter mid layer, casual town wear. Does everything. Packs small. I bought mine XL as an over layer.

Atom SV Hoody Excellent, simple design warm jacket. Same as the LT but warmer.

Covert Hoody Lovely, warm, fleece jacket, worn loads for 3 years and still looking brand new.

Gamma SL Hybrid Hoody Lightweight, perfect summer Alpine or ski touring soft shell. I did the PDG in these!

Gamma AR Pant Alpine summer, ice climbing and ski touring (fits over a ski boot) I did the PDG in these!

Fury AR Pants Ski touring and skiing, with thermals if it's cold or without if it's warm. 2 winters (160 days?) and still going strong.

Gamma MX Jacket The BMG "uniform" jacket. Bulletproof, great chest pockets and big hood.

Rock Climbing in Wales (part 2)

~ Tuesday 3rd June 2014

And as the rain started in Pembroke we drove back north. Not known for dry weather, North Wales for once turned out to be the driest bit of Britain.

Dinas Mot, Llanberis Pass. Superdirect. Super good.

Climber on Cemetary Gates. There was only one other team on the cliff...wait a minute, it's the guys from Mother Carey's!

It wasn't all climbing. Warm, brown beer. Ahhh!

Where the footholds run out on Left Wall. 25 years since I first climbed this!

Sun, sea and rock. North-West Passage, Castell Helen.

Main Cliff. Al sets off into a world of steepness on the imaginatively named "Big Groove"

Rock Climbing in Wales (part 1)

~ Tuesday 3rd June 2014

Just back from a week rock climbing in Wales. In fact we started with a day at the Roaches, not in Wales at all but it's very close to Manchester airport and is home to some character-building HVS climbing for a "gentle" re-introduction to British trad. Battered and bleeding we drove south in the rain to Pembroke that evening...

Rock Idol, Mother Carey's Kitchen

...and the sun came out! At Mother Carey's the holds were big, the pitches long and steep, and then the tide came in.

Evening at St Govan's. "The Arrow" is the classic Pemboke E1, a bit polished now but still amazing climbing. Surprisingly for half-term week there was only 1 other team on the crag.

Recently named one of the best 5 HVS in Britain by UKClimbing, "Riders on the Storm" thinks it's E3.

Pembroke duck-egg

Lucky Strike. Low tide, calm sea, sunny and deserted. Does it get any better?

Huntsman's Leap. One of the most atmospheric places to climb in the UK. Al wondering how to get back out.

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