Many thanks to Owain who ran this weeks Alpine Essentials Mountaineering Course – a quick rundown of what they got up to:
A good three days with some ‘challenging’ weather on the middle day:
Started at the Aiguille du Midi for the day. Covered glacier travel all rope systems and introduced snow belays. Then covered moving together on mixed ground with an ascent of the Arete Laurent. Team worked independently when safe to do so.
Lift to Torino hut. Strong winds, very cold and zero visibiltiy. Arrived at hut and did some navigation prep at hut. We then went to Aigulle Du Toule using compass, altimeter and GPS. I short roped to the summit. It was a wild day with one other Italian guide team doing Aiguille du Toule and no one else venturing out. Back at the hut we went through crevasse rescue systems in the kit room.
Clear but very cold. We made the traverse of the Aiguille Marbrees from the Geant side looking at route choice and moving belays. After descending the descent gully we found a great crevasse rescue training location and did full scenarios. Practising assisted / unassisted rescue and making anchors when holding the weight of a person.
We had a very good course – I gave the guys advice and recommendations for the future and went back in to town later to meet them for a drink. Relative to their ability and aspirations they learned a great deal.