2013 was my 3rd time in the Alps and I was bored of getting the lift to the top of the midi to climb around the vallee blanche so we opted for something slightly obscure – Migot Spur on Aig. du Chardonnet (D-).
We set off in the evening for the long walk up to the Albert 1er hut via a “short cut” according to my partner – a steep walk up a lateral moraine, rather than the long winding motorway path normal folk take. I forget how long it took but I was about 45 mins behind my partners by the end on account of being 1: not fully acclimatised and 2: being unfit. It was September and the main hut was closed for the winter so we got to stay in the winter hut, which is free and should be quiet! yay…
It wasn’t – some army cadets got there before us, but we thought, there was only 4 of us so it shouldn’t be a huge problem and set about looking for space to lay our beds…problem numero deux – the main hut was undergoing refurbishment and the builders were occupying the very same hut as the cadets…and us. Hilarity ensued as Sam (who arrived later than us) hadn’t realised this and laid his bed on someone else’s space and was quickly evicted.
We’d managed to squeeze ourselves into a corner but It’s safe to say we ended up packed in like sardines. the funniest moment in there was Sam getting stood on by someone who tripped over someone else after visiting the toilet.
I don’t think the builders anticipated us doing an alpine start quite as early as we did (2am), but they certainly didn’t anticipate one of us cooking a 3 course breakfast on a jetboil. Neither did I to be fair.
It was cold outside but clear. Ideal conditions… Alex took the lead, crossing the ‘schrund in style and bringing me and stuart up to join him at the start. We quickly realised that the conditions were’nt as perfect as we’d hoped – unconsolidated snow and cruddy ice but there was plenty of rock around so we pressed ahead, constantly bitching about how shit the snow was and disbelief that someone had apparently skied down the route once.
About 2/3rd up the rock ranout and the shitty ice continued all the way to the top. We had to dig quite deep to get to some “good” ice that was barely deep enough to take the 19cm screws we’d brought.
Going was slow, made slower by climbing in a 3 but at least I was able to capture the best moments on my DSLR I bust a nut carrying it all that way.
We got to the top of the route by midday and made our way down. The first bit was a simple down climb a snow patch where I had to do a Cliffhanger style evasive maneouver to avoid a sizable lump of granite from taking my head off, kindly dislodged by one of my friends – He never knew about it until my wedding 3 years later.
After the snow patch there were a few abseils to do off some questionable tat followed by a terrifying later-afternoon walk across the glacier to the hut.
We stupidly only brought enough food for that one night so the decision was made up for us to do the long walk out that night back to the car. We finally got back to the apartment (5 of us crammed into a 2 seater car-derived van/camper) about 10pm to lots of beer and a lasagne.
A hilarious and difficult 28 hrs that i will never forget.