Samstag, 19. September 2015

California Dreams - Pointe Trélaporte and República Bananera - Pointe de la République

Pointe de Trélaporte - California Dreams -11.08.2015

After having climbed the American Direct even though the weather was still good we had to rest a bit. That meant sleep and eat a lot. Then, (how else could it be?) it started to rain, but just for two days. Monday morning Thomas returned to Italy by bus and train. Fortunately I stayed in the same camping as Isra, a Spanish friend of mine.
We decided to climb two routes, the first on the Pointe de Trélaporte and the second on the Aiguille de la République. The advantage of climbing these two peaks was that they are really close to each other and that we knew a perfect bivouac place where we could spend the night and quickly get to the base of the routes. 
So on Tuesday we took the first train to Montenvers at  8 a.m., our backpacks filled with our climbing gear, sleeping bags and food. We didn't hurry up too much because we wanted to avoid to get to the base of the route already tired. After about two hours we got to the bivouac cave, where we left our stuff and ate something before walking up to the base of the route.

bivouac cave

 To get to the route you have to walk up a snow-ice slope that steepens up towards the end. In order not to have to carry to much weight we just wore hiking shoes and our crampons were not exactly designed for that kind of stuff, at least not mine. I had never tested those rubber crampons with some kind of of spikes underneath (yes...the ones you use in the city) before. I think the next time I'll take some better ones. They work until the snow surface doesn't get too soft. Fortunately we each had brought a walking pole and a light ice axe, so somehow we managed to get to the start of the route. 

very nice and clean 6b pitch in the lower part

the 7a pitch

7a pitch

6c+ slab at the end

This 12 pitches-route has been first ascended by Michel Piola in 2005 and follows a line of cracks and dihedrals to the top of the Pointe de Trélaporte.  The climbing is really good as in most Piola routes and offers pitches up to 7a. The slab pitches are quite well bolted while as the cracks are mostly clean. As we started quite late we got to the summit at about 19.00, after about 5 hours of climbing. From the summit we quickly rappelled down to the base. We didn't directly go to the bivouac as underneath the glacier we met two guys with whom we  started to talk a bit (they also were going to do the República bananera the next day). Perhaps it would have been better to go directly to our bivouac cave as afterwards, in the dark, we had some "route-finding" problems what means that we got there at about 11. At the bivouac we cooked some rice and finally went to sleep at about midnight.
We had to get up early because the route we planned to climb was quite long and the descend on the normal route takes some time. 

Aiguille de la République - República bananera - 12.08.2015

We got up at half past five and started around six o'clock. We passed by the bivouac where Jorge and Fabio had spent the night and at about seven we were at the base of the face. There were already two other guys at the start - or perhaps it would be better to say they tried to figure out where the start was. The problem is that there weren't any bolts in view and so it wasn't really evident where the route started. It was already quite late, almost half past seven, so we decided to skip the first pitches by going up the normal route and rejoin the Bananera underneath the old refuge. After a few pitches on snow and quite easy rock we left all the stuff we didn't need for the route at the first bolted rappel anchor. 

at the base

overneath the old refuge

We already heard the voices of Fabio and Jorge higher up and that reassured us that we were on the right route. The route, like most routes of that style doesn't always follow the easiest and most logical line, even though some pitches are very logical indeed because you follow straight cracks or dihedrals. All in all it is a superb route and the climbing is quite sustained as most pitches are 6a to 6c. The route finishes some pitches underneath the top of the Aiguille de la République where you join the normal route. The last pitch to get to the top is a short pitch with many bolts that can be aid-climbed, but it's worth to free-climb it as it isn't that hard (6c+) and offers very nice slab climbing. 

awesome - the 6b+ dihedral

one of the 6b+ pitches

the 6c+ pitch that leads to the top


We topped out at about five o'clock.
We thought the descend would be a nightmare and would cost us a lot of time but actually it didn't find it is that complicated, at least compared to other descents in the Mt. Blanc range or the Dolomites. We descended quite fast, basically down climbing almost everything (we did 5 rappels). At about eight o'clock we were on the glacier again. It had been a long day and we were quite tired but I had to work the next day so we descended to the Montenvers train station. Isra decided to spend the night there and descend by train in the morning. I had to return down to Chamonix by foot, as I still had to prepare my stuff for the next day :-)

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