Droites NF …

On August 25, 2014 by Tim Neill

So Keith had to go to work leaving Nick and me to climb one more route before the end of our little trip. With a work deadline for me we took the (quicker/logistically easier than the Jorrasses) option of climbing from the Argentiere basin over the Droites North Face.

We had an urge to climb a route called The Richard Cranium Memorial route on the right side of the face probably due to reading about its first ascent in Mark Twight’s “Kiss or Kill”….one of Nick’s fav books.

The face from the easiest walk in ever....

The face from the easiest walk in ever….

We strolled to an ace bivi below the face and settled in. Then grossly early we shambled and post holed up to an epic ‘shrund then soloed for a small eternity to high on the face where the climbing proper started….and what a treat…amazing grooves and runnels of mega neve and bomber ice screws in a succession of long pitches to the sunny summit ridge.

Last bit of soloing at sunrise...

Last bit of soloing at sunrise…

Front pointing galore...

Front pointing galore…

10m 'til sunshine on the South side...

10m ’til sunshine on the South side…

A really great morning on a great alpine face…just me and Nick. The windy ridge didn’t invite a picnic and we set our belays diagonally down the steep S side to reach the in situ anchors on the S side of the breche couloir then carefully picked our way through some big crevasses towards the Couvercle hut.

We found a perfect flat slab with a small stream, brewed up a slept the rest of the day content. A “longer than I remember”walk back to the tram at Montenvers concluded a great Alpine holiday and a hasty repack for guiding the next day…

One of the best bivi views in the world....

One of the best bivi views in the world….

 

 

 

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