After the mission that was the Findlay-Geldard I was keen for more rock climbing and a little less faff. The Grand Capucin is only a couple hours walk from the midi, which compared to our 1 day walk in for the Auguille de Saussure, would obviously feel like a walk in the park.
I think it may have felt like a walk in the park if it weren’t for the mine field of terrifyingly deep crevasses. Fortunately I was tied to Matt Perier (Ug), who – being named Ug for a reason – probably wouldn’t have noticed had I fallen in the crevasse; all 13stone of him may have even kept walking pulling me straight back out! That being said, if he had been the one to fall, it would have been a different story.
Because we had to deal with high winds we chose to do a route on the more sheltered Trident (which is just to the left of the Grand Capucin). A friend of ours had climbed ‘The Intouchables’ and pictures of overhanging splitter cracks lured us in. We made it to the base, at the not-so-alpine start of 9.30 with only one crevasse-related mishap. I broke through a thin bridge of snow and ended up stuck neck deep with my feet waving around in a scarily deep and wide cavernous crevasse. With some careful distribution of body weight I managed to climb out without falling in entirely, but far from ideal.
The route was really cool. Every pitch – even the easy ones – were interesting and varied. The penultimate crux pitch, rated 7c+, was awesome. An overhanging (maybe 30m) crack, which went from baggy fingers at the start to fists at the top, was just a dream to climb. I managed to onsight it, but it certainly wouldn’t have got 5.13/7c+ if it were in North America. I think the grades on granite in Europe are all over the place, sometimes I think the 6′s are harder than the 7′s. But it certainly wasn’t a path and I had to dig deep at the top.
The next day we wanted to climb Gulliver’s Travels on the Grand Cap, but complaining shoulders pushed us to opt for the more chilled Rebufat, 6a, on the South Face of the midi, which is such a nice route, albeit busy.
With the Desire’s exhaust back to what seems like it’s natural resting position (dragging along the road), our travel options are limited, so maybe there will be more alpine smashing, or back to Ceuse!