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.
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
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.