The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Making an Abalakov or 'V' Thread

I made this instructional video with Adrian Walter last week, on how to build an Abalakov or 'V' Thread, to create a safe and solid anchor in the ice. 
You generally do this when you need to abseil a route or pitch and can't find any fixed anchors such as bolts, pegs or fixed gear around trees in place.
Sometimes also if the bolts are badly positioned and the ice is so thick in very good years, you can struggle to find the abseil bolts and chains like I had one year at the top of Repentence in Valnontey so you need to build an Abalakov or 'V' Thread or even 2 if the ice isn't great and it's a big steep pitch!

Adrian Nelhams building an Abalakov Thread Vimeo 

Hope it's of some interest/help!

We also finished last week on some great ice....

Ben Tibbetts enjoying the lead in Valeille, Lillaz yesterday

Naomi Boxall cruising her first grade 4 - Happy Days!

Safe climbing

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Ice this week

Great ice climbing again this past week.

Ben Tibbetts enjoying L'Acheronte in Valnontey

High up in L'Acheronte, Valnontey Cogne

Secret spot! Cogne

Ben Tibbetts enjoy some great ice high up in 'Lillaz Gully' today

Will Boxall really enjoying his climbing in 'Lillaz Gully' today

Great ice in the narrow 'mixed' section at the moment and no need for any rock protection which was good as we didn't have any!

A beautiful part of the world!

Routes I know in good condition today here in Cogne......

Cogne Valnontey - 
Patri de Droite
Patri de Gauche
Monday Money
Flash Estivo
Di Fronte al Tradimento

Cogne Valeille -
Lillaz Gully
E Tutto Relativo 
Pattinaggio Artistico
Stella Artice
Inachevee Conception
Chandelle Levure

People have climbed 'Cold Couloir' but be very careful of the snow conditions at the moment.
We passed Lau Bij today coming down from 'Lilla Gully' and it looks very washed out from all the sun it's been getting.

Valsavarenche - Antares and Ravanod are in good condition.

Hope that helps
Safe climbing

Saturday, 21 February 2015


Great climbing again today.....'you've gotta love the Italian Alps for ice!'

Me enjoying some steep ice today in Cogne

Abseiling down I managed to take this of another team on the same pillar coming up behind.

Safe climbing

Friday, 20 February 2015

E Tutto Relativo

Headed up into Lillaz and Valeille again today.

'E Tutto Relativo' in great condition today out of the sun

Adrian Walter enjoying the steep pillar on 'E Tutto Relativo', Lillaz.

'Cristal Guisey' in good condition today, but 'Eau de Cristaux' to the left hasn't formed well this year and looks pretty washed out in the sun.

Beautiful weather and another very warm day in Lillaz today - +7 degrees back at the car in Lillaz and it was minus 14 degrees when we left La Barme this morning!

Fantastic views looking north, directly down the Cogne Valley from Lillaz at the South Face of Mt Blanc.

Safe Climbing

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Alps Ice today

Fantastic weather here in the Alps at the moment and the ice just keeps getting better!

Great views up Valnontey yesterday

Adrian Walter enjoying the 5th and final pitch on 'Patri de Gauche'

Adrian Walter staying focused on the mixed section in Lillaz Gully today

Great conditions on Lau Bij this afternoon, Lillaz

Highs of +8 in Cogne mid-day yesterday and overnight lows of minus 15 this morning at La Barme. Big swings in temperature change to be careful of, if you're climbing on steep ice that's seen any amount of sun. We climbed ice today that's seen no sun and hence had a lot less temperature change and the climbing was great.

Stay safe