With the weather perking up around Chamonix, and bizarrely looking better than the usual fleshpots of Provence, we decided to take advantage and spend a few days enjoying an out-of-season Cham. I’d previously dismissed Servoz as a roadside secteur d’initiation, which would inevitablly be rammed with kids groups and polished to death. Closer inspection of the guide revealed scope for a great variety of grades, with the potential for huge pitches linking easier territory into some tougher upper pitches – worth a look…

Well, you can’t complain about the walk-in, and once the sun comes around at just after midday it’s a very pleasant sun-trap.

Sure enough, the link-up plan worked, and I did three stupendous 40m routes, battling horrendous rope drag as the cruxes kicked in for the final 10m or so. Surbac a Bras, 6b; Perds pas les Pedales, 6c; and Six Sept a L’Envers, 7a. Very steep (mostly) jug-pulling on superb incut holds. The Rockfax grades are a bit more generous than the local guide gives for the routes done as multi-pitch climbs, but probably reasonable when you do them in a oner. After finally ending my 7a drought I’m not being too snooty!

Here’s Helen on the penultimate pitch of the latter – a steep 6a/b wall which leads up to the seriously overhanging finale

… and here she is leading La Variee

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