|Hooked up with young Paul late afternoon mid-week and did Kalynka: 5a, 5b, 4c, 5c, 5b, 4c, 5a about 250m of bolted alpine ridge climbing. Basic idea was to see how he was with something off the ground and the general discomfort that long routes entail – sore feet, anaconda ropes, uncomfortable belays, my crap route finding, etc. Did the mountain goat walk in, geared up and then Paul realised he'd had left the rope in the car. “Well mate, the options are either solo this, which despite not testing the things I'm interested in seeing today I'm quite happy with, or you can go back and get the rope”. With wide, spooked eyes he headed off at a trot. I settled in for the wait a couple of photos then got a bit of sun on the belly.
30 minutes later Paul arrived looking like he'd taken a shower in a sauna, I took the first pitch and off we went. The whole thing went OK reversing leads and after a few corrective suggestions his use of bolted belay's was sorted by the end of the route. ..and I managed to score 3 pieces of nice new shiny Black Diamond gear during the lovely moves around the arete in the last 5b pitch. The bountiful joys of debutant routes.
The next day I reccied the approach to Les Ecandies in the bucolique Vallon d'Arpette. After 4 hours walking and exploring the valley for boulders, potential new routes and bivouac spots all I can say is “fcuk me, the place is incredible”. Go there.
You can see the Ecandies ridge right at the end of the valley.
Plenty of granite towers around, plenty still virgin.
Looking back into Switzerland.
I texted Paul to see if we could do a day over the weekend, Saturday worked for him so an 8:30 RDV was made in Val de Bagnes.