Roland took Charlotte and myself up Rechasse last week.
The day before we hiked up from Pralongnan through some heavy weather to the refuge Vanoise.
Charlotte and I went on a successful edelweiss hunt in dramatic late afternoon light, before a hearty refuge lasagne. It was my first time in the new refuge which is considerably more comfy and clean than the last. Beer on tap of course.
We woke at 0430 and as usual Roland was already finishing his breaky as we fumbled up the stairs with all our gear in a disorganised mess. He gets ready like a ninja.
Although it had rained overnight, the skies had cleared to a still and magnificent day.
We put on crampons and roped up at the snow line, and the sun rose over the Grande Paradiso as we were half way up the glacier.
There was a small climb up a chimney to the arete, and then a slow climb up the arete itself before the summit. Although there were a few small whimpers, Charlotte managed to hold it together despite the novelty of crampons.
We had tea and madeleines on the summit with the most magnificent views in every direction, including back to the chalet at Courchevel where everyone else would have still been sleeping.
Charlotte freaked out a little on the descent which was probably expected. We descended down to the vastness of the Vanoise glacier which was like another planet, then down, negotiating a few crevasses back in to the cirque and then rejoining the trail of our ascent.
Roland demonstrated to us the traditional alpinist art of bum-sliding for faster descents, a technique used by Kilian Jornet for his Mt Blanc record.
Perhaps that's Charlotte's next objective.
Back in Pralongnan we returned her climbing boots and crampons before meeting with the rest of the family at Prioux for lunch in the sun.
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