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Les Gaillands

After our first taste last year we decided to set a few days aside for a bit of climbing. The Chamonix guide company offer coaching for all abilities at Les Gaillands, bookable in advance from their offices in Town, and this can be a good way of getting started.

Although as we were to discover during our 3 morning sessions having different guides each day does not give any continuity and it can also be quite difficult to fully understand what is happening. Our first session was with two other French climbers and before we knew what was happening we were climbing a multi pitch and nearly two hours later ended up 60 metres high having to abseil down in three sections. As we are only used to short fixed rope climbs up to 10 metres this tested our nerves a little.

Having been taken a little by surprise we decided to opt for something a little safer and closer to what we do at home for our next session. Luckily we were the only people with the guide who was more appreciative of our wishes.

He had climbed Mont Blanc the day before so our morning coaching session may have been a bit too mundane but he spent a lot of time showing both of us new techniques and  really helped to inspire our mornings climbing.

Maybe it was just his little joke telling us the climb we were doing was graded 4+ when in fact according to the guide book it was much higher, 5C.

So, after our second session we were full of enthusiasm and keen to go back again to brush up on the techniques, repeat the climbs we had done and maybe try something a little harder.

The third guide however had a different idea, leading us up quite a difficult multi - pitch with a traverse section. Once again we were 60 metres up and not really enjoying it. In fact it was so demoralising we just wanted to get down and get back to the apartment.

On reflection it was  worth having the guides and courses but would have been much better if we had the same one throughout and at least we learnt new techniques and had new experiences which will be useful next time we climb here.




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