November 10th 2008

Pointes Lachenal - Pellissier Gully

Pellissier gully is one of these climbs that you just have to do if you are in Chamonix and interested in getting into mixed climbing. Its quick access from the Aiguille Du Midi and the non-committing atmosphere of the climb even though you are thrust up surrounded by some of the Alps fines peaks is awesome. It’s a short one at only 350m but when you can ski in right to the base of the climb and then ski out via the Vallee Blanche you cant really complain.

The climb itself goes at guide book grade of M5 but in reality its just one move of M5 if that. The rest is just easier mixed. Obviously its conditions dependent but I’ve done it almost bone dry before with water running down parts of it and reckon its pretty soft for the grade (if that actually matters to you).

The first pitch after the shrund is a nice warm up and never steep. You can move on this together as its pretty straight forward with pretty good ice most of the time.

The second pitch starts to get a little more interesting with a small step of 85 mixed. Nothing serious and there are good foot holds on the Right hand side, and it really is a small step (2m or something). This leads up along a snow slope to the third pitch

Once past this the route splits. You can either go up left or right. The left hand exit is far more fun (in my view) with the right hand exit going at 5C rock. To be honest the rock exit is harder but it really is rock and not mixed and well, you’re here for the mixed climbing really.

The left side looks a bit complicated from the belay below but really its an awesome exercise in hooking big flakes and great cracks with good foot placements. It’s a little steep for a few moves here and there but it always feels safe due to excellent pro (stuck Alien in there too). You top out on a ridge and there is a belay above and right.

If you are quick and happy to move together on the easier beginning ground you can do the route and back down in just over a couple of hours.

Gear that you will need: 2×50m ropes. A set of wires. A few cams (BD camalot 1, 0.75. 0.5 useful). Micro wires are useful here too though not essential. Route Is fully equipped for abseils and belays but as always bring tat if it is the beginning of the season and always check the anchors

The Alpine Exposures coffee table photo book