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After the Matterhorn week I spent with Helen I spent more time in Chamonix for some classic summer  alpinism courses. The good weather and heat did not give up, and it was very interesting to me to go back and climb again the traverse of the Aiguille d’Entreves few days after, and see the rapid change on the glacier conditions. As you can see in the gallery, the normal route to the Tour Ronde was out order as the bergschrund was now fully open, the way out from the Aiguille d’Entreves required a 25-meter rappel on the north side to cross the bergschrund, and still some care on crossing few more crevasses.

Andy looking happy – was he really happy? :-) – while traversing the Aiguille d’Entreves. Mont Blanc massif.

On a pretty gloomy day I went back to the Aiguilles Rouges to traverse the Aiguille  Crochues with Ryan and Andy, and again I climbed Dent du Geant on a spectacular day. Finally I got to the top of this very popular 4000 meter peak with a warm sun and no wind! I would like to point out that the descent from the Giant Tooth is now perfectly equipped with bolted anchors with chains (a second rap line, bolted as well, goes down parallel, climber’s left) so you can rappel down with a a single 50 meter rope,  6 rappels and you’ll be down at the Salle a Manger.
Before watching his video footage about climbing Dent du Geant, here his words describing his personal experience.
“The first time I laid eyes on the Dent du Géant (4,013m/13,166ft), a soaring dagger of a peak that broods over the Vallée Blanche near Chamonix, France, I became fascinated with the idea of climbing it one day. Is there an “easy” route to the summit for climbers of modest ability (like me)? Would I be up to the challenge: physically, technically, and mentally? Would it scare the shit out of me? How amazing is the view from the top? After five years of visiting the area regularly to climb and ski, my fixation with the Dent was undiminished. Yesterday I finally got the answers to those questions, after climbing the Dent with my friend and mountain guide Albi! Together we climbed the classic SW Face route, which is graded AD V (IV with use of the fixed ropes). After leaving the glacier, the route consists of an hour or so of 3rd class scrambling, followed by about 6 rope lengths of rock-climbing on solid granite with difficulties up to about grade 5.9. With the help of fixed ropes on most pitches, however, the technical difficulty is within reach of average climbers like me. Having said that, the presence of those fixed ropes doesn’t make this route a cake-walk. Batmaning up thick, icy ropes with polished or non-existent footholds, while wearing clunky mountain boots at 4000m (or 13,000ft) of elevation, was more challenging than expected. While some guides suggest that the fixed ropes reduce the technical difficulty of the route to 5.6, there were several moves that felt more like 5.10 to me! In any event, I made it to the top (gasping for air), and, yes, the view was amazing! The highlight of the route was no doubt the airy traverse from the lower summit (Pointe Sella) to the true summit (the aptly named Pointe Graham). Together these two spires make up one of the most spectacular summits I have had the privilege of standing on. Thanks Albi for making this amazing day possible!”

Dent du Géant (4013m) SW Face, Courmayeur, ITA. from grahamski on Vimeo.