Monday, July 28, 2008

Frenchie Stylie

When Jonny Copp last checked in with us, he and Micah Dash had made an attempt on the Le Petit Dru, bailed and were roaming around France. Here's the wrap-up...
All photos by Jonny Copp.

We pulled the ropes from the final rappel anchor, two pitons pounded upward into a flake, and began to dump our gear into a heap in the warming snow. We unclipped and freed ourselves of ice axes, slings, screws, cams, stoppers, a pack full of bivouac gear including two light sleeping bags (a bit too light it turns out), a micro-light tent, a stove and sundry other items that kept us comfortable enough on our foray onto the west face of Le Drus. That final rappel and pull is always a relief and this case was no different. It had taken us most of the day to descend in the storm and most of the night before to decide that continuing upward was not an option, shivering in the blowing spindrift as our hand-cracks filled with snow.

The ropes slipped from the final anchor. Finally grounded, Micah Dash and I grunted a few words of relief and anticipation.

“I’m so fucking psyched to be down right now! Can’t wait for a beer and some stinky French cheese.” Micah said.

Just then, as if the mountain sensed our waning presence and wanted to keep us in the game just a bit longer, a “craaaack” issued from above. We turned our heads, craning our necks up the snow-cone we’d rappelled, and saw two bus sized blocks of ice rolling towards us. Half of the bergschrund had collapsed and we were suddenly in its direct path.

I turned and ran as fast as my crampon clad feet could in the slushy snow, aiming myself across a depression and up another massive snow cone. As I gained elevation I glanced back for Micah and saw a massive hunk of the debris clip his feet as he flew through the air in a running, flying, flipping lurch. Then, within a second, all had come to rest. We were both on the surface.

“That was a bit too much like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” I said.

Both of our ropes were wrapped around and stretched to the breaking point between the many blocks of ice, like spaghetti around meatballs. And at that point we decided to just get the hell out of there. So we did, pretty much running all the way back to the Montenvers cog train and Chamonix proper.

Ceuse, France

We did get our beer and stinky cheese, and then we “waited” for the horrible weather season to improve by heading out for some slightly safer objectives: limestone sport climbing, wine sampling, music festivals, granite bouldering, castle storming, lake swimming, mountain running and hanging out with cute girls!

“Uhm, dood, this is a bit different than base camp in Pakistan,” Micah said at one point.

He was right.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha. I always wanted to get out to the French Alps, but current funds are a bit low at the moment.

7/29/2008 7:52 AM

Blogger powstash said...

Killer report! Thanks for posting this TC.

7/29/2008 8:03 AM


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