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Saturday 16th 08 2008 12:00:00 AM

Pictures by Andy Main and words by Neil Mackenzie

Conville course

So, this was the long awaited start to our Alpine adventures..... in the good company of our guides Dave and Phil we set off up the Grand Montets to cover simple crampon work, rope techniques and abalikov threads. this was then followed by a descent towards the Argentiere glacier and an easy scramble up the Aig. de montets back to the lift station.

IMG_0369 the blanc on aig de montets copy IMG_0373 the chadona from argantier side copy

At this point we confused the tourists by jumping back off the summit platform and performing the art of the assisted hoist, pretending that a drop off the iron railings was infact a crevasse! In all this activity my brand new Camelback decided to shed its bite-valve so i had to crawl under the cage and get photographed in my true habitat!

IMG_0377 neil under the grateing copy

The following day brought us up into the Tour Basin, where the plan was to practise crevasse rescue on the real deal, stay at the Albert Premiere hut then start early in the morning to tackle the South summit of Aig. de Tour.

IMG_0383 aig de tour walk in copy IMG_0421 into cham vally copy

The walk up was stunning, with the immense ice formations of the glacier emphasising the ruggedness of the basin and the obvious lefthand skyline on the Chardonnet forming the awesome 'Forbes arete'.

IMG_0395 camp site on the tour glacier copy

IMG_0388 aig de cahrdona tour side copy IMG_0398 tour glacier copy

After some playing around on the glacier we settled into the hut and it was time to enjoy ht e famous catering of the french mountain hut. Our wylie Scottish guide insisted we get all we can for our money so i treated myself to 5 bowls of soup, 4 platefuls of sausage stew and mash and some fruitsalad. (Andy, more concerned about his figure, stuck to a more sensible amount of 3 portions of each!) With all this to digest, we sat enjoying a beautiful sunset

IMG_0411 alberta premiare hut copy IMG_0409 the cahrdona and tour glacier copy

Unfortunately, a storm raged throught the night and our proposed set off at 5am was a non-starter! we had breakfast, played cards then contemplated the joys of our trip and the disappointment of not being able to climb. As we were readying to leave i happened to be putting my boots on next to the legendary Dave 'Cubby' Cuthbertson, so with small talk of home i drew him into conversation. A fine blether ensued and he recommended we did a rather obscure rock route (around HVS/E1) on the Praz Torrents by the name of Parat Signeur, so i said we would, thanked him and wished him all the best!

IMG_0420 cows and cham vally copy

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