I posted an item about the Aiguille du Midi Arête several month ago which included an image of the Aiguille du Midi as seen from Chamonix in Summer, and another of skiers descending the infamous Arête in winter. You may like to view the images in that post for background information. Click the link that follows: ‘Descending the Midi Arête’.
Today’s image is of the Arête under rather different conditions [click to enlarge image]. This is a scan from a transparency taken a few years ago when my son and I went up the Aiguille du Midi lift in summer with the intention of climbing the Midi-Plan traverse. The Aiguille du Midi was in cloud early that morning but usually it burns off and there was plenty of blue sky in evidence to support that outcome in the direction of Mont Blanc itself. So we took a chance that the cloud would lift.
We were wrong! The cloud did not disperse. We descended the Arête and hung about for an hour or so hoping and hoping. No change. These were not the conditions to venture out into the mist , so we retreated back up, leaving behind us a cluster of climbers many of whom were having similar discussions to ours.
If you look to the left of the image you will see a rope snaking down into the void where there is a dimly seen climber. Bad weather doesn’t stop everyone: these climbers are just topping out after climbing one of the classic climbs on the North side of the Aiguille du Midi – The Frendo Spur.
For those keen on mountaineering the Frendo Spur can be seen clearly (click here) in this image. Look left of the summit of the Midi to the rocks that break the skyline and follow down from there towards seven o’clock on a watch dial to the major rock buttress that reaches down to the forest. Between those two rock zones you will see a sharply delineated curved snow Arête. That is the central section of the Frendo Spur. The climb emerges on the skyline after ascending the rock sections below and above the snow slope. Needless to say that is something I have not climbed!