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Frendo Spur in lean (dry) years -- chamonix

Original Post
pjc30943 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

There are reports on MP, on the alps having gone through a very dry winter. What is the top third of Frendo Spur like in these sorts of conditions, does the vertical ice section become exceedingly steep, or does it melt out evenly, or...?

We're hoping to attempt in first week of July, which of course is still a ways this isn't asking for conditions beta, but asking a general route question.

(Sadly the last time i was there two years ago, it was also unusually hot and dry and some of the routes were out of condition)

Sharon2802 · · Wellesley, MA · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 15

Following...and planning on this as a *maybe* option in August. Would love to hear about your experience in July!

Bogdan P · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 281

I remember two years ago in September people were saying conditions were dry. It was my first time so I couldn't judge. Was there again last year mid July-early August and while nobody was saying it was "dry" it didn't seem necessarily much better than 2015. Wanted to do the Frendo in 2015 as my last climb of the trip, and although it didn't work out (got snowed on, and I wasn't prepared to do the rock section in mixed conditions), I was keeping on eye on trip reports at the OHM and talking to the guides in the days leading up. The OHM guides were pretty pessimistic all around, but despite that we were never discouraged from doing the Frendo, and it was getting done by others. 

I only did the Frendo last year, so I don't know first hand what it was actually like in 2015, and even so there was no vertical ice. Just a short 70-80 degree section at the end. It would need to melt out quite a bit for it to become vertical.

My bet would be it's going to be fine.

Rui Ferreira · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 869

Dry conditions on the Frendo allow you to rock climb and move much faster on the bottom 2/3 of the route (climbing without crampons and tools).  The upper section could be wet snow on the ridge to two or three rope pitches of hard ice.  Exiting right is less steep than the left side, but either way it will not be 90 degrees

I recommend that you monitor the isotherm (0C temperature) altitude in the French weather reports ahead of your planned climb to see if the route is freezing overnight and during the day.  You can also see the state of the route from the mid station at Plan d'Aiguille (possible to approach by foot) or when riding the cable car to the top of Aiguille du Midi

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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