Two weeks ago Tom and I battled our way up spindrift on Ice is Nice and I discovered, for myself, one of the nicest little pitches of Chamonix climbing I’ve done for a while.
I couldn’t help notice that the line in the topo avoided a direct and obvious chimney system continuation out of the ice that would add an extra 3 pitches of mixed climbing on top of the route. I was even more surprised because this was an Andy Parkin route and he’s not a man to shy away from such a plum line or any hard climbing. So I suspect that the topo is maybe wrong and that the original line might actually head directly out. In any case, a few days later, with poor weather and lots of fresh snow I roped in with Dan Joll and we headed up to go check it out.
The route was inundated with snow again and after breaking trail up the couloir we got stuck in to the fantastic pitches of Ice is Nice. Moving together to save time we climbed bomber squeaky nevee and make rapid progress to the base of the chimney system. The chimney was in fact much steeper than I had at first thought but provided some excellent climbing for two pitches with a bit of everything thrown in to the mix. Think Pinnochio style climbing but slightly harder. The final pitch was a question of swinging in to frozen turf and moss that provided a bit of Scottish climbing to an otherwise excellent day.
We don’t know if this exit has been climbed as we saw no pitons and the cracks required cleaning out but either way it’s an awesome little exit that is well worth doing!