On Neil’s recommendation we made a trip to Coupeau, a hidden gem of Chamonix Valley cragging – always handy to have a bit of local knowledge!

It’s not a huge crag – about 15m high and just a couple of dozen routes, but with a good spread of grades from 5s to 7a, great rock blessed with square cut, crimpy holds, and a really easy access (downhill about 2 minutes). It faces pretty much due south but is heavily shaded by trees, making for comfortable climbing temperatures (belaying in jackets in October).

We did about 10 routes between us, and would particularly recommend Un Peut de Toit…, 6b

Helen led a bunch of the newly bolted 5s on the right, including Peiorsene

I also managed Si je le veux bien, 6c, and a somewhat indirect ascent of Doigts de fee…, 7a. Here’s a shot of another visiting Brit having a go at the latter

Short, burley routes meant we packed in a decent workout before the sun had sunk behind the big hills (the Valley goes into shade around 5:30 at this time of year) so celebrated with an early swift half at Le Solerey. Whilst I might have whinged about the price of the beer, in comparison with our local, I have to admit that it comes out on top in terms of the view!

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