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Summer alpine: Children of the Moon Intégrale, and Traverse of La Meije

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After an absolutely awful spring and early summer, the weather has finally offered us a few windows of good climbing conditions (though as I write this, it is pouring and stormy outside…). I made the most of these opportunities, first with very good Danish friend Rune Bennike, with whom I pretty much started my climbing career, some years ago in a small club in Copenhagen. He had come last year to sample Chamonix granite, but a week of foehn winds had forced us to stay on crappy valley crags. This year, however, we climbed a big multipitch route nearly every day for his entire stay! And the highlight was undoubtedly the equally long and beautiful “Children of the Moon Intégrale”, 18 pitches of sustained 6a granite on the East Face of Aiguille de Roc.

A few days later, I headed south to the Écrins, the other major alpine range in France, and climbed the ultra-classic Traverse of la Meije with Hulya, in pretty good time. It was my first time in the Écrins, but Hulya’s 6th (if my count is right) on the summit of La Meije alone! The climb combined 900m of easy rock to the top of Grand Pic with an airy rock and mixed traverse of the ridgeline, all the way to the Doigt de Dieu and the hardest part of the day: a knee-breaking 3 hours descent back to the valley floor.

The season is far from over, let’s hope for a few more big routes before it’s time to leave for Yosemite!

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