Part Deux: Into Chamonix

Dave arrived from his international flight early in the morning Chamonix time. I had croissants and coffee waiting, and looked outside at the passing rainstorm. This summer had been particularly stormy, and this morning was following suit. We caught each other up on our lives over the last several months, and I gave Dave an overview of the valley over maps. The rain finally let up, but the clouds lingered over the peaks. A great half-day option is the Frison Roche on the Brevent that I was hoping Dave would be up for after his long day of travel. Not surprisingly, he rallied.

This was Dave’s first visit to Chamonix. As a Cascadian climber, his climbing career has never included trams doing the approach work for you. Where’s the Devil’s club? No where to be found, only espresso waiting at the top. We arrived into the cloud of the Brevent, and walked a grueling 10 minutes down to the base of the 5 pitch sport route. I had to describe the view, as Dave joked that he could be anywhere in the thick cloud. I managed to keep my cool on the damp slab, and as we approached the crux pitch, a couple of groups had bunched up. A French guide ahead of us was taking a while, an unusual event. Trying not to psyche myself out, I ignored the grunting above, and kept chatting with Dave. My turn came, and oh yes, it was wet. Dripping wet in fact. But it was sport, and it was faster to continue so I got on with it. Near the top of the pitch was a soaking wet off-width 6a (5.10a) crack. “Well, here we go” I thought to myself. Somehow, the moves felt smooth. Probably because I forced my attention to every detail, and I made it cleanly to the top. The French guide admitted that he had pulled on gear because “Oh la! C’était difficile comme ça!” I smiled in agreement, and enjoyed my inner victory of climbing it clean in that state. We topped out, still in the cloud, and enjoyed our two minute walk to the tram. This was going to be a good week.

This was our second of what we are hoping is an annual climbing trip to destinations around the world. Here is the second installment of our "INTO" series. Enjoy!