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A week in Chamonix: Storms, Slabs, Digital Crack and an epic descent

The week in Chamonix began by getting caught in a storm, and ended the same way.  The first one expected, the second one less so, but sandwiched in the middle was a couple of peaks that will make the week a memorable one.

Some obscure routes and some classics: El Niño, Madame Rêve, Digital Crack and République Bananière.

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A State of Shock (Etat du Choc)

There was a list of four routes on Heather's fridge (the fridge list). Three weren't in condition after the recent storms in Chamonix, so that left one: Etat du Choc on the Petit Clocher du Portalet. My french brain didn't seem to be on form after a long week of work and I'd forgotten that this route translates as State of Shock, and not some sweeter alternative. That said the line, after a good few hours of upward fighting up a 9 pitch off-width was definitely worthy of being on the fridge list, and the north face of the Portalet is quite possibly the best face of granite in region.

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The Ginat, N Face of Les Droites

“Unlike the Bonatti pillar, the Walker or even the Freney, it seems improbable that the North Face of Les Droites will ever be downgraded, or become popular and lose its character. It will always remain remote and untamed.” Gaston Rebuffat. If Rebuffat turned ever so slightly in his grave upon Ueli Steck summiting in about …

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