Thursday, 6 August 2009

NNE ridge, Grande Gliere

Big day out yesterday on the NNE ridge of the 3392m Grande Gliere. Tucked away between the Grand Bec and the Grande Casse this peak is often referred to as the 'Matterhorn of the Vanoise' and the NNE ridge is a classic AD+ outing.
Along with Dom and his daughter Emilie we left Laisonnay at 5 a.m. for the 3.5 hour walk in to the bottom of the ridge:

The NNE ridge takes the left to right ridge line between sun & shade:

1000m and many kms later and its nearly time to put crampons on for the glacier up to the start of the climbing...:

On the first easy ledges traversing onto the ridge proper, 650m of climbing to go:

Dom following on the lower slabs:

And heading off into the unknown:

Dom & Emilie on the middle section of the ridge. The rock was mostly very solid, with a bit of route-finding to stay on the best stuff. It was only above the steepening visible top of photo that the quality started to deteriorate a bit...:

Gradually gaining height - nearly level with the Aiguille de L'Epena, Grande Casse & top of Couloir des Italiens visible on right:

Easy ground below the summit 'icefield' (or what's left of it):

Dom & Emilie on the summit:

Looking over at the back of the Grand Bec:

Looking down onto the bottom of the descent glacier:

Amazingly for such a 'remote' mountain there was a Belgian team on the same route, seen here setting off on the descent of the South Ridge, a classic mountaineering route in its own right:

On the descent: never too difficult, but concentration needed at all times downclimbing steep ground:

At the foot of the South Ridge, looking across onto the Vanoise Glacier, Gebroulaz glacier over on right:

On the Gliere glacier, shortly before Emilie disappeared up to her waist down a crevasse!:

At the bottom of the chains. All the technical climbing behind us now, just a 1000m of descent remaining to Pralognan. 13 hour day with 1800m of up & down and some great climbing!

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