Granite Musketeering

On August 9, 2013 by Tim Neill

For the last bit of our weeks climbing trip Keith and I were joined by the irrepressible Calum Muskett. At 19yrs old he’s accomplished more climbing than most ever will. Read and weep…………….

He’s out in the Alps for 6 weeks and was at a loose end for a week as his partner had failed to connect flights. He didn’t seem to mind putting up with a couple of old guys for a bit of climbing.

We headed round to Courmayeur and managed to get on the 4th lift up to the Torino and so, as quickly as we could, to the foot of the Grand Capucin. Our chosen route, Capucines Direct had a couple of teams already stuck in. We were planning to camp after, so with no time pressure followed on. The relaxed pace of climbing and waiting was fine until we were waiting in the shade later…bbrrrrr!! Luckily the other teams finished up the Bonatti route which let us crack on up the last part of our line to the summit. The route was amazing with stupendous climbing all the way (even the wet and cold bit on the N Face right at the end) to a very definite summit.

A very rapid descent down a route called Echo des Alpage (defo on the list now) had us back on the glacier in no time. We camped at the foot of the Chandelle on some nice flatish ledges, so didn’t have to walk too far.

Next morning Calum jumped out of his pit into his rock shoes ( Keith and I creaked) and we set off up another amazing route called Linea Blanche. It gets rave revues and has an inspiring photo in the Mt Blanc Supercrack guidebook. Highlights were an amazing arête pitch and a never ending hand crack (Indian Creek style) up high.

The weather looked fairly threatening all the time and broke big style (as forecast) when we reached the valley. By that stage we were on our 2nd round of coffee and paninis.

Thanks to Cal for reminding me how amazing the Grand Cap is, and giving me some great new ideas. Good luck for all the big projects. And of course cheers to Keith for another quietly understated but highly productive climbing trip.


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