Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Chamonix weekend: Climbing Pic Adolphe Rey, Bailing from Chandelle du Tacul and giving shit to shitters

With a promise of clear skies and rumours that the old LUMC gang was in Chamonix, I was very keen to go and check out some of the granite towers there. Chamonix is the mothership of alpine climbing with all the good and bad things that come with it. The sad part is that the crazy good access to the amazing terrain attracts all kind of folks, including the ones that may shit in the crack that you are about to jam. But about that a bit later.

We took the usual Friday afternoon train from Zurich with Cyrill and Saule. The ever-conscious of his food choices Cyrill wanted to buy some bread in the last Swiss stop of Martigny. Saule and I were waiting in the train when we realised it was about to move. I called Cyrill and told him to run. Unfortunately, he was a bit too late and saw the train leaving the platform. 

Now here comes the kicker. Being a strong young adult, he doesn't give up so easily. He imediately pulled off his Jonny Depp looks and appealed to the driver. A few seconds later, the train stopped, Cyrill was sending air-kisses to the driver and we were going onwards to the granite.

In Chamonix we received a warm welcome, since my friends "from Liverpool" (apparently no one of them lives there anymore) were in town. Big pizzas were eaten while catching up on the life events. It was super cool to see everyone after quite a few years. Also big thanks for letting us crash in the attic!

Adolphe Rey


Having gotten down with some snowclimbing in our rockshoes, we decided to go for a short, yet beautiful Chandelle du Tacul via the combination of Bonatti and Tabou routes for the second day. 

With an early morning start, everything was going well and climbing was very enjoyable. Unfortunately, pretty close to the top we picked a wrong way and I ended up setting up an abseil just below an offwidth crack. With time running low and us eager to get the lift down, we decided to bail and keep the route for the next visit.

About to go down
Sadly, on our way down we met a party of two who suggested that there will be a 'surprise' on our way down.. As it turned out, A fellow called Franco had pooped on one of the best ledges on the route. It stank and we were worried about our ropes, but most of all we were shocked how inappropriate the whole thing was. Sure, if you have to take a dump, there is sometimes nothing you can do, but the place he chose was as bad as one can imagine. Firstly you can think of shitting of the ledge, so then your crap has a chance to be washed off. And even if you end up shitting on the ledge, maybe try a corner of it? This guy placed his crap right above a rather difficult crack, where once you get through the hard bit, you just want to get the good hold and pull on it.. Well, you might get your hands brown then.. see the scheme below.


I wasn't quite sure what to make of it and if I had a fuller stomach myself, I might have tried to fill up the bags of these guys with the same stuff. Often people are against the rules imposed in places like national parks. But if we are unable to handle these things ourselves, I think having stricter regulations and penalties may help us in preserving the places we like so much.

Ever the optimist, Saule was sure that this is just a temporary thing and in a decade there will be no more people shitting like this. I hope it indeed turns out to be the case!

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