|Aiguille Rouges, A Customary Cham Adventure 2/3
Got a good a look at our impressive looking face starting from the last 40 minutes of the approach, nice and steep. Starts with 3 pitches heading up vertical from the left side of the right hand snow bank. You can also see a jagged shadow line in the vertical face 1/3rd down to the right of the summit, the last 5 pitches go straight up there and exit through that jagged looking roof system.
Got to the base easy enough, snacked looking at the scenery and were ready to climb before 11AM.
Rod: "Sandra, by the way what's the objective of the day?"
Sandra: "Well its been a long standing objective for me, Cyrille copied the topo..."
Cyrille hands it over: Aiguille Rouges, Aiguille de Belvedere, Baisers Orageux, 8L - 6a, 6c+, 6c+, vire 3 (ramp/ledge), 6b, 6b+, 6c+ roof, 6c+, 6a+ (6c oblig). Granite, Sport.
Rod: "Granite, 6c+/6c oblig, sounds a bit stiff"
Cyrille/Sandra: snickers accompanied by knowing grins that had "3 days on at 7a/b...Rod you're about to suffer" written all over them.
So off we went. Being a team of 3 Cyrille was either leading the whole way or, if we were making good time we'd switch every couple of pitches...I was in full on tourism mode at this stage so I was kind of hoping NOT to make particularly good time.
Easy 6a pitch to start, seemed more like 5b to me. I took a photo of Cyrille from side on in pitch 1, then Sandra took one of both of us with our shiny new hats at the belay, then it was action time with the first serious pitch.
Pitch 2 features a really nice opening pillar, steep and bouldery to start before backing off in angle between bolt 4 and 5 then entering a steep corner system of quite difficult climbing before establishing yourself back to the right side of the corner onto the pillar proper once again. Some more technical face climbing follows then a steep roof system or a slight traverse left into an easier corner system than the earlier corner followed by some bridging and face work before the chains. Cyrille was looking pretty torched from the onsight on the first pillar but got through that and the first corner system before a slump after attempt one through the steep roof system; he then got it after a de-pump and the first serious attempt - overall it looked a very stiff 6c+ to onsight. Sandra went next and dogged the first pillar, the first corner and the roof. I think she did all the moves free though, can't really say because after she got through the first pillar I set off with a bunch of beta. Went OK for me, first pillar was easier than expected, first corner was tougher than expected and I took one up and down run to check the roof before looking left at the adjacent corner and decided that was my solution. I managed to get the pitch done with one slump due to an error exiting the first pillar after bolt 4; pleasantly surprised with my form all things considered.
This is a great pitch, Cyrille's solution would be 7a and mine 6c+, 45m. Turned out this is the crux so if you want the glory, claim this lead - with the beta above you should be able to flash it.
In the last shot in the sequence above you should be able to make out Cyrille silouetted against the arete in the base of the cloud formation. Unfortunately, these are the last shots we got, I crushed my phone in the first corner.
If you're keen on more shots I found this smugbug link from a TR elsewhere on the web: