Jon, Phil and me climbed Contamine-Grisolle on the Tacul Triangle for acclimatisation purposes. The lower slopes of the Triangle were icy and lean but the snow conditions on our route were excellent. The route was of no great difficulty and we moved together for the entirety. We abseiled down the Western side of triangle on completion.
Phil between my legs. On the lower slopes of Contamine-Grisolle
After a big day on Makalu the previous day, there was certainly enough reason for Nikolay, Anna and myself to return to Stavadalen in order to take advantage of some decent ice conditions. Some of the routes at Stavadalen were a little on the thin side but O'hoi looked fat and enticing, although apparently not as fat as it can be some years. It was both shorter and potentially easier than Makalu and, with no rising traverses to negotiate, it was hopefully more predictable. Some friends had also climbed the route the day before, which further reduced the uncertainties. Anna had climbed the route the previous season but she was more than happy to climb it again, given Stavadalen's close proximity to our cabin and the poor alternatives elsewhere, such as in Hemsedal. The route's name apparently originates from the first ascentionists who needed rescuing, and apparently shouted 'o'hoi' in the dark in order to gain attention.
A Silly Game
Esoteric... intimidating... worrying... exhausting... are some of the words that I would best describe climbing on the white cliffs at Dover. It's one of the most unique and memorable places that I have climbed at and somewhere that has filled me with equal measures of dread and ambition. The style of climbing is far from perfect but it is partly the imperfections combined with the unique experiences and high levels of adventure that kept me returning.What's more the journey time of under two hours from my former London home made the area positively 'local' by London standards.
Mick Fowler's exploits were one of the main catalysts to me trying chalk climbing. I visited Saltdean a few times to climb the bolted chalk routes at Saltdean but was keen for bigger adventures away from in situ protection. An excellent article on Dover by Ian Parnell in Climb Magazine further raised my interest in the purely trad form, particularly in a route called The Tube, …
At 7am I was slightly worried about our decision to wait until Sunday in order to climb Hægar, which was the planned main event for the weekend. I lay in my tent listening to the strong gusts of wind shake the trees regularly. Strong winds and slab climbing are far from being my favourite combination, particularly when the wind is across the face. However, a quick check of the wind direction raised my optimism that the ridge curving to the east of the main face would block it to some degree. Once we were off the initial slab pitches and into the corner system hopefully we would get further shelter.
Hægar is a route that has been on my wish list for a number of years, but only in more recent times has it found its way towards the top. That's partly because I'm generally climbing better (when not injured), meaning the difficulties have become manageable, and also partly because I'm not getting any younger. Waiting until I become an even better climber, or more to point when …