Norm Numerof in the Chamonix area • July 6-10, 2011

Norm Numerof once again ventured from his home in Colorado to climb in the Alps. Norm has made lots of visits over the years, some with great luck with the weather, and others, not so much. These five days have to rate with the "not so much" group. A strong and persistent low pressure over Great Britain kept a nearly constant stream of warm and moist air flowing over the Alps. The forecast was unpredictable except for the high winds that swept the bigger peaks, reaching speeds of 130 kmph on Mont Blanc.

So we were forced to content ourselves with somewhat smaller objectives.

Other Trips with Norm

Alps - September, 2009
Alps - July, 2008
Alps - July, 2007
Alps - July, 2006
Alps - July, 2005
Alps - July, 2003

Return to all recent trips

On our first day, we climbed the Chapelle de la Glière, a fun rock route in the Aiguilles Rouges. Luckily, we were virtually alone on the climb, as we had to race up the 12-pitch route to beat the ever threatening weather. On this pitch, the classic "Razor" it was actually raining very lightly.


The following day, the weather was a bit sunnier, but still with threatening clouds over Mont Blanc. And the forecast for the afternoon was truly grim.

This photo shows Mont Blanc from the Brévent lift, the access point for our route-of-the-day.


We contented ourselves with another rock route in the Aiguille Rouges, this time a 10-pitch climb called Somone. The great virtue of this route is that escape in the event of rain is mostly a simple affair.

Here we see the last 2 pitches. Roll your mouse over the photo to see the line.


Another "razor"-like move on Somone.

After Somone, we completed the day with one more fine pitch, the last of the route called Crakoukass.


The forecast for days 3 and 4 were not too bad. We planned to climb Point Isabella, a snow and ice climb in the heart of the Mont Blanc Massif.

This photo was taken on the approach to the Couvercle hut. The Tour Ronde (and location of a previous adventure of Norm's in July of 2007, is just left of center.


Point Isabella as seen from near the Couvercle hut. Mouse over to see the route and peak.


The Couvercle hut offer what I believe to be the best view in the Alps, no kidding. This photo is even looking in the most ho-hum direction!


But Point Isabella was not to be. We woke up at 2:30, rain. And again at 5:00, more and harder rain. Not much to do but sleep in a bit more and hike out. We did have a nice walk out though, over the ladder-intensive Balcon route. Here, Norm traverses the bare rock slabs below the Charpoua Glacier.


A view up the Mer de Glace from the Balcon trail. Les Grands Charmoz is the big peak on the right.


Norm on the "via ferrata" climbing back up to Montenvers.


We had one more day of climbing, again with a rapidly deteriorating forecast. The storms were expected to be "precocious" and develop early in the day. With a strong desire to at least put on his crampons, we chose the Petite Aiguille Verte, a fun, but not too long climb that Norm has already climbed.

We did the Demi-lune ice route on the left side of the face. Mouse over to see the route up (red) the normal descent route (green) and the peak outlined in blue (to distinguish it from the Aiguille Verte behind.


Another climber at the start of the ice face. You can see the clouds approaching in the background.


Norm leads up pitch two, to the Demi-lune.


A busy day on the summit. We did manage to get down before the weather clouded in.