Climbing one of the ‘Big North Faces of the Alps’ is always a big deal to any climber. The Alps is covered in major climbs of historical significance. North Face of The Eiger, Matterhorn, Grand Jorrass and Doites. Its every Alpinists dream to ice climb up a big 1000m of ice and summit on one of these peaks. For every climber there is a North Face to match their experince and fitness. When considering to climb a North Face first think of:
- Your experience. Climbing North faces is for climbers with plenty of winter climbing experience already. Its not for novice ice climbers. Generally all climbers have climbed first during the Summer season.
- Your Fitness. Doing North faces can take an average of a 12-20 hr day. The approach, climb and descent. Sometimes requiring a bivaouc and carrying bivi kit. The heavier rucksac can slow you down. You need to be fit.
- Your acclimatisation. Its not possible to climb a stenuous climb to 4000m or above without first getting acclimatised.
- Get a period of time to catch the best weather. Many North faces need a minimum of 3 days. One day to approach, one to climb and one to descend from a hut.
Not all North Faces are multi day. Their are plenty of smaller North Face climbs and many great long Coulior climbs that are not so committing.
Suggested 5 day programme
- Meet t Twid’s place to make a plan for the week
- Climb a day on an ice climb mid height 3000-3500m around Chamonix.
- Climb a long gully on the Aiguille du Tacul above Chamonix. Spend a night out at 3600 to acclimatise.
- Descend the following morning down the Midi lift. Approach the Argentere hut on skis or snowshoes.
- Climb a North Face in the Argentere Basin. eg Doites, Verte, Courtes, Pre de Bar
- Descend to valley