July 13th 2011

Mont Maudit - Kuffner arete

Sitting in town for the last week trying to catch up on lots of work left me pining to get up high and do something big and alpine. The temps have been hovering below the zero mark at the Aiguille du Midi in the morning so I planned on nipping the lack of acclimatisation in the bud and head up the north face of the Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey up to the summit of Mont Blanc.

Ben and Dave and I arrived nice and early at the Fourche as I was sure it would be rammed and wanted to make sure we got a bed. That night was no exception and a packed hut meant that two unfortunates had to sleep on the floor. The next morning we got up at 1.45 but the air temperature was a no-go. It turned out to be one of the hottest days this year so we were glad we didnt go for it. Instead we went back to bed for a couple of hours and then headed up the Kuffner arete on the Maudit.

The picture below that I took many years ago on a Berghaus shoot has been most my recognised photo and it felt nice to wander up past the exact spot that I took it. How my work and my climbing has changed since then! Still, yesterday was a perfect sunrise and I managed to snap a few other ‘classic’ alpine shots which is always a bonus to a day out on the hills.

The shot that ‘defined’ the start of my photography career

Years later. The mountains dont change but the style does. Ben Briggs at sunrise

Motoring on up. Grandes Jorasses in the background

Ben on the famous knife edge ridge before the crux. The massive face of the Brenva side of Mont Blanc in the sunrise

A windy and moody morning on the Grandes Jorasses

Ben past the Pointe Androsace

The Alpine Exposures coffee table photo book