My and a good friend Oli Lyon decided to get a winter trip in, Oli has been living in Chamonix for the winter season so I was keen to get over and do some routes with him.
I flew out on an early morning flight from London City airport and by 4pm we were already up on the hill on way to the Abri Simmond hut (only open in winter) where we planned to stay. The weather when we arrived was brilliant and the sunset led to some great photographic conditions.
The alpen glow was epic and we got some good shots of the Midi!
We decamped at the hut (3600m) the temperature was probably about -18 degrees Celcius – so cold and high enough to feel fairly rotten. We ate tortellini with Spicy Italian Dolmio sauce with cheddar chunks melted in. This heavy carb dinner had our bodies burning hot which helped us get to sleep in the cold.
I have been on 6 winter trips to the Alps and I have never seen the face of Tacul looking this snow covered; there was in places 2 ft of rime! It made it look really wintery and pretty cool.
We got up the next morning to go and climb Chere couloir a fantastic ice route with the odd 90 degree section, although actually having done it before in winter, it is a great warm up climb to get you into the ice climbing mind set.
We climbed the steep burchund, soloed up the first pitch to the base of the steeper climbing.
The climbing was fantastic, and the weather was pretty stable throughout the day, we climbed the 400m route quickly and ended up on the top of the ridge after a couple of hours. We rappelled back down, the route has bolts on belay anchors so this is a really quick process. at the bottom our ropes were not long enough so we ended up rapping off some very thin looking Abolkov threads left by another climber which I was glad to say held for both of us. Sooo much fun!