Almost 6 weeks in to Helen’s recovery and it’s time for some tentative steps back into multi-pitch adventuring – we’d been saving the friendly granite slabs at Vallorcine for the occasion. We’d even managed a reasonably early start, but failed to take into account that these only come into the sun from around 2pm (in October at least).
Our first route was therefore a somewhat shady, chilly affair: Slab Direct, a 4 pitch 5b with a challenging 3rd pitch, given 5a, up a layback groove which wouldn’t be out of place on a 3* Gimmer HVS. Here’s Helen leading the final pitch into the welcome warmth.
By now the sun was warming the crag nicely
After a spot of lunch, we shed a couple of layers and set off up another 4 pitcher: Le Plantigrade Magnesophage, which after an easy start takes a great line up left of the central slab, via a fun 5c crack (spaced bolts but great holds – would take nuts if you carried them) and then a fine and well positioned 5b rib. Here’s Helen leading the rib
… being chased by her shadow, and then topping out
Great views of Barberine, up the valley and just over the border into Switzerland.
… and a parting shot of the crag now basking in the late afternoon sunshine.
… and back in time for a quick shower before catching up with Neil and Moira for pizza and beer in Les Houches