Thursday, 26 December 2013

Climbing Exposition Night

Sorry guys, this is an event for dutch-speaking people only ;)

Op 13 februari 2014 zijn Jeroen en ik (Bart) uitgenodigd op de "Climbing Exposition Night" in Leuven om te komen praten over onze "Alpine Rock Roadtrip 2013". We gaan proberen u een aangename en boeiende presentatie voor te schotelen over onze avonturen, die zoals alle avonturen niet verlopen zijn zonder slag of stoot...

Naast onze presentatie kan u ook een boeiende presentatie bijwonen van het Arriba Bolivia-project, een groep Vlaamse jongeren die naar Bolivia getrokken zijn om er een klimschool uit de grond te stampen en een klimmassief te behaken.

Ten slotte zal er een presentatie zijn van de heren van Mount Coach 4, die op expeditie geweest zijn naar Kirgizië om er duizelingwekkende granieten wanden te beklimmen.

Wij hopen u allen te kunnen verwelkomen op deze gezellige presentatie-avond.
Jeroen en Bart

Meer info over het evenement kan je hier terugvinden

Foto's en artikels over onze roadtrip kan je terugvinden op deze blog of op onze facebook-pagina 

Info over Arriba Bolivia en Mount Coach kan je terugvinden op hun blog

Monday, 21 October 2013

Mount Coach: Alpamayo

A short film of some Belgian friends of mine, about their expedition in Peru! Impressive!

Alpamayo Ferrari Route from Sam Van Brempt on Vimeo.

You can read the full story on the Mount Coach blog (in Dutch)

Monday, 7 October 2013

Review Black Diamond Vector Helmet

Black Diamond

In the late 1950’s, climber Yvon Chouniard began forging pitons and started selling them in the Yosemite Valley out of the trunk of his car. Chouniard Equipment was born and settled in Ventura, California. The gear Chouniard Equipment manufactured gained a good reputation for quality through the years.

But the success was only for short therm. In 1989, the company became bankrupt because of some product-liability lawsuits and lack of profitability. The leftovers from Chouniard Equipment where bought by a group of former employees under the supervision of Peter Metcalf, the current CEO and was renamed Black Diamond Equipment. The company was moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1991 to be closer to the climbing and skiing of the Wasatch Mountains.

In 1996, Black Diamond Equipment Europe was established in Switzerland and in 2006 Black Diamond Equipment Asia was established in China to ensure the global growth of the company.

Srce: Wikipedia


A revolutionary helmet that's ideal for long routes, alpine climbs and other weight-sensitive missions, the Black Diamond Vector Helmet combines lightweight protection, excellent ventilation and "barely there" comfort like never before. The geometric, co-molded EPS foam and polycarbonate shell provides full-coverage protection while remaining incredibly lightweight and comfortable, and the generous ventilation ports keep air flowing on warm days. The ratcheting suspension tucks away for easy storage in your pack, and when the sun gets down before you do, the Vector's in-mold headlamp clips provide an ultra-secure attachment.


  • Co-molded EPS foam with polycarbonate shell
  • Large ventilation ports provide max airflow
  • Ratchet adjuster with molded push buttons
  • In-mold headlamp clips for ultra-secure attachment
  • Tuck-away suspension makes for compact storage
  • Available in 2 sizes

Size Range :  [S/M] 53-59 cm, 21-23 in; [M/L] 58-63 cm, 23-25 in
Weight :  [S/M] 231 g, 8.1 oz; [M/L] 240 g, 8.5 oz

My opinion

When I’ve put on the helmet for the first time, I was astonished by its lightness and comfort. I also tried the Petzl Meteror III+ helmet, but I found out that the Vector was more comfortable because of the difference in the suspension. The Vector has a flat foam on the inside and doesn’t create pressure points on the forehead when tightened. On the rear the adjustment system works the same as the Meteor, but it appears to sit lower on the back of the head and it envelops the head in a more stable way.  

The rear suspension is very lightweight and it tucks away for easy storage, time will tell us if it will hold up years of abuse.

©Jeroen VC
The Vector is one of the most protective foam helmets around. The helmet sits very low on your head so it doesn’t only protects the top of your head like most helmets, but it also covers the forehead, the back of the head and the sides. Thereby it also protects you well when you hit the rock face during a fall. The helmet also has a protective advantage above some hybrid helmets (foam inside, hard outer layer) those helmets are heavier and some tend to shift backwards when you look up, leaving your forehead exposed to impacts. On the vector, this problem is solved by its lightness and the stable suspension.

Although a foam helmet is designed to break on impact and thereby distribute the impact force, it is still pretty rugged. It took some hard ice-impacts while belaying a brittle alpine ice route and it was tossed around during transport. After a full alpine summer season it is still going strong! There are only a few little dents and scratches in the outer shell. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of it, because if you drop a heavy backpack on top there is a big chance it will be crushed.

The only issue I had with the protection of the helmet, was that when I looked down when ice or rocks where falling sometimes a small piece hit the back of my head, because it fell through the venting holes. I advise to keep your head straight when rocks are falling. BD did however a good job by placing the venting holes on places who are less prone to be struck by falling rocks.

©Jeroen VC
Like I said, most of the venting holes are placed on the back of the helmet and two on the front. At first I thought this was going to be an issue because there is less ventilation on the sides, but my head was always very well ventilated. On the inside, the sides of the foam are cut out to create an airflow from the front to the back which solves the problem.

There were some times I even wished the helmet wasn’t so well ventilated and a cold wind entered the ventilation in the back. This is where a hooded fleece or jacket came in handy. A hood easily covers most of the venting holes .

Although the design of the helmet is inferior to its protecting capabilities, it is still very important in my opinion. I mean, who wants to wear an ugly helmet? If you look cool with a helmet on your head you will wear it a more. That’s what it’s all about!

I think BD did a good job in designing these helmets. They used some beautifully contrasting colors and I like the geometrical lines running through the shell. I have the orange version and it looks great on the photos! ;) 


It’s a great well ventilated and -protective, lightweight helmet but it needs a bit more care and it has a high price tag.  

  •  Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Well-vented
  • Fall protection forehead/sides/back

  •  Less durable
  •  Expensive
  •  Stones can fall through vents
©Barry Smith

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Alpine Rock Roadtrip: Valle dell' Orco

We arrived at “Camping La Peschiera” in the Orco valley on a rainy afternoon. It was our first time in the valley and we were amazed by the tranquility of the place that should be the Mecca of crack climbing in Europe. There was hardly anyone on the camping except three tents and the camping was very basic compared to the campings in Cham but the hosts were very friendly. This camping is also the closest to the main climbing areas. The Sergent is on fifteen minutes walking from the camping and the legendary “Fessura Kosterliz” is less than five minutes walking.
Our camping spot, right underneath the Sergent

We gave the “Fessura Kosterliz”(6b) a try in the afternoon, when the rock was dry. We tried it toprope as we didn’t have crashpads and the boulder is pretty high. It was a very good lesson in crack climbing, because it’s pretty steep and there isn’t much for the feet except the crack. We both gave it some nice tries and Jeroen even managed to climb it. I took a bad fall and hit my knee against the rock, so I decided to give it another try in a few days.

Ready to give the Kosterliz another try!

Next day, we wanted to climb “Dièdro Nanchez”(TD+, 6b max, 250m) on the Caporal, but it appeared to be soaking wet and my knee was still hurting during the approach, so I turned back while Jeroen climbed another route with some Germans he met on the camping.

"Dièdro Nanchez" soaking wet

After a good night sleep, my knee was a lot better and we descided to take the short approach to the Sergent for some nice crack climbing. We started with “Incastromania” (6a) a beautiful crack in a featureless, steep granite wall. After this warm-up, we climbed the two-pitch “Nicchia delle Torture” (6b) via its original (grassy) start. We recommend to take the direct, bolted start at 6b+ or 7a, because the original start is kinda overgrown with grass and unless you are into scary runout grass climbing, It’s not so much fun. The second pitch in contrary was a lot better, the first meters are still a bit grassy but it becomes better with the best handcrack I’ve ever climbed, a short traversing offwidth and a beautiful 6b crux to get out of the offwidth. Highly recommended! Fulfilled with these new experiences, we went to the Kosterliz boulder again, but our hands were wrecked by the sharp granite and our tries were in vain. The success on the other routes overshadowed the failure on the Kosterliz and we went back to the camping, where we ate some trout straight out of the water on the BBQ. Delicious!

Jeroen, climbing "Incastromania"
Myself climbing the same route
Seconding the first pitch of "Nicchia delle Torture" 
The second pitch of "Nicchia delle Torture".
Note the grassy start and the offwidth in the distance 
Yummy! Fresh trout for dinner!
The trout gave us the force to try the überclassic “Fessura della Disperazione” (6b+, offwidth). It was our first real offwidth route ever and I can tell you, I’ve never suffered more in a route than in this one! You want to know how it was? Try it yourself, but I can tell you: “You’ ll never forget this route!”  (Major hint: Bringing camalot #5 and 6 will save you from some scary runouts!)

Jeroen leading the famous first pitch of "Fessura della Disperazione"

Jeroen following the second pitch
General info

The Orco valley is only a three hour drive from Europe’s capital of Alpinism, Chamonix. A great idea if the weather in Chamonix is bad! But save some money, because the Mont Blanc Tunnel is pretty expensive!

We stayed in camping La Peschiera two minutes driving from the center of Ceresole Reale, just underneath the Sergent. Very basic but cheap and friendly people!

It’s best to buy some food before you enter de valley, because there are only some little, expensive shops. 

We used the new guidebook written by Maurizio Oviglia and published by Versante Sud. It’s a very beautiful guidebook with lots of pictures and correct info. The guidebook is for sale in the valley.

Thanks to our sponsor: Kariboe Leuven

For more pictures, take a look at our facebook page!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Alpine Rock Roadtrip: Chamonix Part 2

Like you could have read in Jeroen’s article, I (Bart) went back down to Chamonix, because I was feeling ill. So I packed my bags while Jeroen was looking for a climbing partner at the hut and I was on my way to the train station of Montevers. I was really feeling tired and sick when I arrived at the crowded train station. Luckily the train came quickly and I was on my way back to Cham.

The Aiguille Verte looking pretty snowy on my way back to the valley

When I stepped out of the train, the warmth overwhelmed me. I dropped off my gear at the car and went for a burger and a drink in the Midnight Express and some drugs at the pharmacy to get healthy again.  Then there was the quest of finding a camping close enough to Cham, so I could bring all my gear to the camping by foot (cuz I don’t have a driving license yet). That camping became “Les Arolles” in Chamonix-Sud. A nice, cozy camping with a communal table and a ‘free box’. An ideal place to meet people, so it turned out…
Me and Jeroen at the camping, showing off our Camalot #6
©Martin Antvorskov
Frida, myself, Martin and Jeroen at the communal table in the camping.
©Judith Leegwater

The next few days where filled with resting, reading, meeting interesting people and I went cragging once, with the friendly Swedes I’ ve met. When Jeroen returned from Envers, he settled himself in the camping and took a few days off himself. Jeroen really wanted to go back to Envers les Aiguilles, but I was still not feeling fine enough for those routes. So, Jeroen went up with Steve, a Brittish climber he had met on the camping. The same day I went to the ‘Dalles de Chézerys’ with Martin, a Danish climber I’ ve met. We climbed a three-pitch route, called Dune. That day, I felt better and Martin came with the idea of climbing Arête des Cosmiques together. A route he really wanted to climb. Although I climbed the route already twice, I agreed because I needed some acclimatization and he insisted on paying my cable car ticket. But we had to be quick, because he was leaving in the afternoon. No sooner said than done, we went up the Midi next day. We soloed, almost the whole way and downclimbed the  first rappel. As usual, there were a lot of people on the route, but it wasn’t overcrowded. Although it was the third time I climbed this route, it is still a beautiful one. Nicely exposed, fun mixed climbing and different behind every corner.  There was still a lot of snow, so we kept on our crampons the whole way. The climbing took us two hours and we passed a lot of rope teams. When we sumitted with the usual tourist-crazyness, we took a bite and a rest  and took the lift back to Cham. In the end Martin still had time by spare to catch his bus to Aillefroide.

Martin, feeling strong on the approach to the Chézerys!

Martin, follows the second pitch of Dune
View on the Aiguillette
©Martin Antvorskov
Martin downclimbs the first rappel

Martin rapelling on my way-too-long-for-this-route 70m rope

The classic Cosmiques photograph!

Martin climbs the crux

On the summit!

In the afternoon I went climbing in ‘Les Gaillands’ with Frieda and Josefin (the Swedish girls) and Barry, a South-African native who currently lives in Australia. Les gaillands is one of the most popular crags around Chamonix and it gets hot and crowded very quick on the main wall. That’s why we climbed on the left side of the wall. Shaded by the trees and less crowds! I made plans with Barry to go up to the Midi for some alpine climbing.

The next day, we took the Midi. Loaded with a tent and food to stay up for a few days. We dropped our gear on the Col du Midi and set off for the objective of the day; Chèré couloir on the Triangle du Tacul. When we arrived at the route, there were already some ropeteams in the route. We decided to wait until they were at the ridge, we hoped the ice would fall down to the sides and not trough the couloir. When they were a little higher, we climbed the first pitch, who was a bit sheltered from the falling ice. When we were at the safe stance, we decided to bail, because there was still too much ice coming down. When we were down again, we went for the Contamine-Mazeaud. The route was beautiful but it consisted out of constantly 60-70° of blank ice with no rests, not even at the belays! Quickly, my calves were exploding out of the back of my pants and I had to fight the pump, pitch after pitch. Barry, who had some more experience with ice climbing, had a much better technique and he kept the same rhythm, pitch after pitch. Halfway up the route, we came to the conclusion that the snow conditions were getting worse and we still had to get down, once again we had to bail! The route still had one surprise for us, we had to rappel trough a gigantic bergschrund! We walked back to the Col, we’ ve put up our tent and started making dinner, for once not with freeze-dried meals, but with real fresh food and even a bottle of wine.

The Chèré Couloir, pretty crowded as usual
©Barry Smith
Waiting for the other teams
©Barry Smith
Barry, leading the first steep section  ot the Contamine-Mazeaud

Bart, following the steepest part
©Barry Smith
Barry, leading a fun pitch with some mixed in the end

Rapelling over a gigantic bergschrund

Our camp on the Col du Midi

 Next morning, we took our tent down and went for the East-face of Pointe Lachenal to climb the classic Contamine route. The approach was easy, but there was some doubt about the right start of the route as our topo wasn’t very clear. Thank’s to Barry’s route-finding experience, we started the right route. A nice crack with a block underneath that served as a gear depot. The most pitches were relatively short, that’s why sometimes we climbed two pitches together. My lead of the second pitch consisted out of a short, but very beautiful dihedral and led to a ledge. After this plateau started a huge compact wall littered with beautiful cracks. Pitch after pitch, we were astonished by the beauty of the wall! There where surprises behind every corner! Halfway up the route we encountered a huge freestanding flake, with another flake lying on top of it and on the last pitch we passed a huge window in the rock, that looked out over the North-East face. We were also surprised by the toughness of the climbing for the grade or was it the altitude… After all the climbing is situated between 3100 and 3600m. Later-on we learned that the Voie Contamine follows the ridge and as we climbed more on the face, I believe we climbed some pitches of Harold et Maud, after we left the ledge. Anyway, if you know what we climbed, please comment below!

Approaching the East-face of the Pointe Lachenal
©Barry Smith

Bart, following the third pitch of the route
©Barry Smith

Barry, climbing without helmet because he dropped it
(we were able to recover his helmet later on, because it lay on the bergschrund)

Barry crushing one of the harder pitches

Enjoyable climbing on the face!
When we arrived at the last belay, we walked to the actual summit. It was possible without crampons, as the rocky ridge was clear of snow. We took  some pictures and we walked back to the belay for a bite. We rappelled from our last belay and we got a bit of an epic on the wall. We ended up in the overhanging part of the wall and we had to do some scary traversing rappels on pretty bad stances, the “alpine feeling” was further strengthened by a thunderstorm in the distance and the Gervasutti couloir, who was avalanching the whole day long. The traversing rappels were necessary to get back to our depot, but the rappel line led us to a couloir to the left with a huge bergschrund underneath that was impossible to cross, especially without ice gear! After two hours of rappelling we were back at our equipment depot. We were relieved to get off the wall, but we didn’t knew the day wasn’t over yet! The thunderstorm was staying in Italy, we thought. But when we were ready to start walking, it started to rain. Lightly at first, but then the clouds dropped and the thunderstorm broke loose. By the time we passed underneath the first Lachenal point, we got into a complete whiteout. Sometimes we managed to see the foot of the mountains trough the mist, just before it closed in on us and we could only see a few meters ahead. I tried to adapt our course, by making a deliberate error. But, made an error in my calculation and I was still too close to the Mont Blanc du Tacul instead of the Aiguille du Midi, so we almost passed our tent. Luckily the skies cleared briefly and we were able to see our mistake. We put up our tent, ate some bread, drank some wine and went to bed.

Bart, arrives at the last belay after the 'window pitch'
©Barry Smith
Climbing to the actual summit
©Barry Smith

Yeah! But the day is far from over!
©Barry Smith

 General info
A return ticket for the Midi-cablecar cost you 50 euro’s, yeah pretty expensive! However if you don’t wish to pay for the expensive Cosmiques hut, you are allowed to bivouac in the Mont Blanc Masif. Beware! Camping is forbidden, so you have to take down your tent every day! Be careful because the camping fees are very high!

Thank's to our sponsor: Kariboe Leuven

For more pictures, take a look at our Facebook page

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Alpine Rock Roadtrip: Chamonix, part 1

It’s getting warmer and the sun starts to burn… We leave the snowy Furkapas behind us but a bitter feeling starts to get the upper hand. For me, it was the second time I passed the Albert Heimhutte and both times, I couldn’t do anything but look at the famous Graue Wand… Only one thought lingered in my head: third time best time, this summer, I will be on the summit!

Three hours of driving brings us to climbers’ heaven; Chamonix, a city that never seems to sleep. When the last drunk finally stumbles out of the pub, you can already hear the jingling of climbers who don’t want to miss the first cable car.

It was my first time in Chamonix and I have to admit that I got overwhelmed by the aggressive views. I couldn’t think but “waauw”. After a rainy day of waiting and lingering around, we packed our bags to set off for a couple days at Envers les Aiguilles. Our purpose was to climb some classics and to have the corners of our crack climbing technique rubbed off. We took the little train of Mer de Glace, which gave us some more time, and after a while we arrived at the glacier. There was only one problem: the clouds hadn't left yet and there we stood, like two clowns on the glacier in thick clouds, guessing the way to the ladders. We walked way too far and took the old way up, which led us over a loose moraine, where big rocks - as big as a car - fall down often. Hours of walking on steep slopes of grass and clambering over rocks finally took us to the old stairs and – some kind of – way, which led us to the Envers hut. We were both exhausted. We quickly drank some beer and after some negotiating with the friendly hut keeper, we were allowed to put up our tent at 50m from the hut. A beautiful place to bivouac, which overlooked Dent du Geant, Grandes Jorasses, Droites, Courtes, Verte, … Except for some cooking, eating and enjoying the view we weren’t capable anymore for doing anything. 

Time to sleep. The next morning Bart didn’t feel well, maybe the effort had asked to much from him? We decided to take a day off, enjoying the sun and all magazines we could find in the mountain hut. Day two at Envers didn’t bring anything better, Bart felt even worse and seemed to have a little fever. He hadn’t slept very well and he looked like hell. After some deliberation, Bart decided to return to the valley. I stayed up there, alone, hoping to find a climbing partner. With success! After asking around a bit, I met Henink, a German who’s climbing partner had caught a cold and was forced to stay in bed. Together we climbed Le Piège a classic crack-climbing route of 6 pitches and a 6b+ start or a 5c variation. Henink had climbed this route before and asked me to lead the first pitch (the big crack). With an approach of only 2 minutes and no warming up, it was a heavy first pitch. After some cruxes with a lot of handjamming and fistjamming, you are finally able to put cam 4 in and from then on it gets easier. It was a very nice route with a lot of cracks, some dihedrals; all perfectly protectable. The whole route was only protected by a few bolts. After more or less three hours we got back to the terrace of the hut.

Approaching the Envers Hut
Base camp!

Bart, feeling a bit ill

The next day, Henink’s climbing partner felt a lot better and I had to look for a new climbing mate. This time it took me a little longer to find someone, but finally I got in touch with a group of youngsters from Paris. They treated me very friendly and a little later I got to know Kim and Joseph. After a while, our minds were made up: we would climb Guy-Anne insolité, at the first point of the Natillions. Although the day started slow, we were able to get off with a flying start in the route, with Kim on lead. I quickly found out that Joseph wasn’t really into shape. Already on the third pitch, a beautiful small crack with a big flake, he couldn’t manage to get to the stand. Kim and I had to rig him up. Joseph wasn’t in the mood to go ahead and told us to  carry on while he would wait right there. Then it’s my turn to lead a diagonal crack, heavy but beautiful. Each time I want to put some protection in the crack, I have to hold on close, crawl into the crack and put in the right size of friend/nut. What a beautiful pitch! Everything carried on very smoothly, with alternating cracks and slabs, which are quite difficult to me. At this moment, I don’t really like slab climbing, but I hope that one day, I will be able to change that. During our ascent, huge thunderclouds were starting to form above the Jorasses and  a little before the summit we decide to descend. The rappelling went very smooth and after six hours we got back to Joseph, who spent this time sleeping, hanging on the belay. He was happy to see us. Could it be he regretted that he had send us up without him? After a while we got back in the hut and the thunderstorm starts. The proof we made a wise and safe decision.

The next day I climb with Kim again, this time we go for Marchand de Sable. The route has a difficult slab start. The first bolt is at a height of 6m, and because of the huge bergschrund it isn’t recommended at all to fall before this bolt. The third pitch, I’m on lead and I get the chance to climb a dihedral pitch, which is said to be a 5c, quite tough and without any rests. To be honest: it doesn’t feel like a 5c at all… Although I’ve never climbed such a difficult 5c in my entire life, it was a magnificent climb. Nevertheless I was relieved when I got to the belay. After four pitches, we got the same experience.  A 5c (NOT) in a dihedral,  as hard as the previous, but at least as beautiful as the previous. Kim showed to be mentally strong while easily climbing over slabs where the distance between the bolts often was up to 5/6m, and sometimes even in a traverse… A little before another pitch of slabs, we were forced to descend because of bad weather. This time we got bad luck and already at the first rappel we turn up in a real rain-and hailstorm. We both rappel like crazy people, and after one hour we arrive at our backpacks, soaking wet… Luckily we didn’t get stuck in real heavy weather. Again a new adventure!

The whole group of Paris’ youngsters is going to descend tomorrow and I decide to join them, so I won’t have to do the long descend on my own. And I need to go down for some supplies anyway. That night we sat together to drink some cans of beer and the friendly hut keeper offered us some Génépi.  The next morning, the descend is a piece of cake and now I see the way we had to take in the first place at the ascent. So better next time!

Descending to chamonix

When I return to Chamonix, I find Bart, who is already looking a lot better. He has settled down on a cozy camping. There I get to know Steve, a British climber who has a lot of experience. Bart doesn’t feel entirely recuperated yet and decides to take some more rest. I also take a day off and the day after I climb a small route on the Aiguillette of the Aiguilles rouges, with a couple of Danes. Then, again, I made the ascent to Envers, with Steve. Because there isn’t enough place in the hut at this moment, we take our sleeping bags and matrasses with us and the first night we sleep outside, dreaming of our objective: Bienvenue chez George V, again a classic route. 

The next morning we got up early, but not early enough. At the base of our route, we find a couple of wiseacres who believe they are standing underneath Guy-Anne insolité. We show them the real way to the route, but they don’t take our advice. After a lot of discussing - in which those guys gave the wind direction as an argument -,  they had to admit we were right. They couldn’t ignore the fact that we already climbed this route, and we weren’t THAT forgettable yet… All together we lost almost half an hour talking to those guys. But we didn’t allow this incident to ruin our day, and little later I took off with the first pitch, a 6a+ which is hard but quite easy to protect. At the start we lost a lot of time by going in the wrong direction, which made us end up twice at the wrong belay. A guide passed us, he was very quick. His gear: 4 quickdraws and 3 cams. Our gear: three times as much as he has. He even omits some bolts and he seems to fly over the slabs where I’m almost trembling. The route we are climbing has a lot of variety: slabs, cracks, dihedrals,… all can be found in this route. I’m pleased to find out that the slabs are better protected than on the previous routes I’ve climbed this summer. 

We enjoyed each pitch, while the sun was burning above us. The rappels first gave us something to think about, because of the many boulders and cracks where the rope may get caught. Important to be careful! Some excellent teamwork brought us back to the snow quickly. That evening we were pleased to see there was some room in the hut, and after a night of some good sleep, we are ready for Children of the moon. Not an easy route. The approach takes us almost an hour, while climbing on a steep snowfield. Slipping isn’t an option, because it would mean a harsh landing on Mer de Glace, in only a few seconds. This means a great need to concentrate. Thereafter we lose time searching for the route and going over a bergschrund who may collapse anytime. When we finally reach the route, the first pitch goes on very smooth. But in the second pitch we find some difficulties: the way up isn’t very clear, so we take the wrong direction. When we look in the guidebook, we find out we need to do some crack climbing, but we can’t find one! After some looking around and doubting, I find the right way up and when I finally find the belay, I’m bursting with joy. One pitch later, we decide to bail. Because of the late start and the lots of time we lost, we decide it’s more likeable to start rappelling. We still need to do a very long descent and we aren’t willing to miss the last train to the city. This time we are lucky and at 7 p.m. we are both sitting in a pub, cheerfully drinking some beer. Envers les Aiguilles, I love it!!! Be sure, you will find me up there again!

The Aiguillette d' Argentière
Bivy at Envers
Steve in Guy-Anne insolité

Walking back to the Hut

The next day, again, I climb with Steve on a short multi pitch above the Flégère Index. A nice climb with a magnificent view, but the gneiss isn’t very well. After an easy climb and some relaxing in the cable car, we are able to enjoy Happy Hour in a English pub! Cheers!


You can find the guidebook of Envers les Aiguilles in every bookshop and newsstand in Chamonix, although you can find them a little cheaper in Belgium.

A round trip Chamonix-Montevers Mer de Glace costs 27, 40 euros.

The mountain hut is really great, with a kind hutkeeper and a great sphere of climbers who are always willingly to help you out or to recommend a great route. Staying up here for a couple of days is really recommended. Besides  you can enjoy a magnificent view and if you show your alpine club member-card, you even get some reduction! And if you’re not in the mood to do some cooking, you can take dinner at the hut, which makes you feel like you’re in a restaurant! Off course you’re also able to cook and sleep by yourself, which is a lot cheaper. That’s why there are some places to bivouac, although they aren’t that big and they are occupied really quick. Camping isn’t allowed! 

In Chamonix, we stayed in camping "les arolles". It is a nice camping site in Chamonix-sud, on walking distance of the Midi-cablecar. The camping is climber-orientated and with the communal table it is easy to meet people.

Thanks to our sponsor: Kariboe Leuven

Text: Jeroen Van Campenhout

Translation: Annelies Vaganée

Pictures: Jeroen Van Campenhout