Quo vadis, or rather, quo "climbis" Chamonix?Another playground of our colleague Lumír Fajkoš (sales representative for the Czech Republic) became the routes under the Mont Blanc mountain. Lumír shared his experiences and his next motivation.
In August we went to Chamonix again after a two-year corona break, more precisely to Courmayeur, as the access to the planned routes is better (and now necessary, see the second part of the text) from the Italian side. We had three trips planned, or three days of good weather forecast on the glacier. On the first day we managed to climb the Empire State Building 7c route on the Clocher du Mont Blanc du Tacul. The second day we tried one route that was too much of a bite for the temperature conditions. We felt like we were on the Adriatic, so perfect for climbers who like to sunbathe... On the third day we had to change our plan due to the breakaways. However, we live in the 21st century, so despite the crappy signal on the glacier, a friend sent us tips on alternative routes. We chose Ligne Blanche 7b on Chandelle Du Tacul, which is a gem in the area (however, the broken glacier bridge to the summit is on the border of the "brown undershorts" and potentially beyond in the future) and which we climbed to OS. Perhaps one could write, managed to climb, as we had already managed to climb one route while it was complete in 2016. Two years later, a chunk of the Trident du Tacul wall collapsed and changed the Les Intouchables route beyond recognition, along with Lépiney see: https://www.planetmountain.com/en/news/alpinism/significant-rockfall-on-trident-du-tacul-in-mont-blanc-massif.html
This trip was quite alarming for me. Everybody knows that the planet is warming (except our anti-green ex-president Václav Klaus...). However, now it seems to have picked up even more momentum. The summer months were reportedly (moreover) the hottest ever in Chamonix. A few years ago at the same place where we climbed this year, i.e. at an altitude of about 3300 - 3800 m above sea level, rocks were falling from the walls in the afternoon when they were melting off the firn parts. Each year the number and frequency increased and the time in which this occurred increased. Three years ago the stones were falling at night and often there were more and bigger stones and you couldn't miss it because you could hear it very clearly... This year it was falling off some of the walls all day. The cracks in the glacier opened up to gigantic proportions. The passage from Midi to the walls around Grand Capucin is almost impossible. Some routes or walls are currently impossible to climb due to the large crevasses. One of the few positives is that some routes, if they can be reached, will get the bonus of a zero extension, so new climbing pitches will be added. I even managed to film the icing on the cake, the tower on Tour Ronde. Besides the fact that the avalanche stopped near the pavement (the powdery snow wave rolled massively over it), it also rolled one boulder. So there are new opportunities for first ascents... I write this with exaggeration, but it is true that after this experience I am motivated to be more "ecologically active". So I'm starting at least with this documentary article...