mercredi 15 janvier 2020

Cirque de Cagateille


A wander up into the Cirque de Cagateille with Sheri and Michiel. We hadn't planned on a long day, it's been sub-zero at night and the cirque gets little sun. We had two vague ideas - either head up to the Etang de la Hillette or take the little path that heads left two thirds of the way up the headwall to reach the Etang de Piède. We opted for the latter because none of us had done it before!

Waterfalls all frozen but not enough ice for good climbing

  The steep climb up the headwall

The left path continues to climb steeply through the forest crossing below the arête of Mont Terquet (below the Pointe de la Hillette) before emerging from the trees at about 1600m. Shortly after we hit the snow. 5 cm of relatively fresh stuff on top of iron hard névé or water ice. The path was quickly buried under a slope sat at about 35 degrees. I went ahead with ice axe and crampons and was soon forced to front point up an increasingly exposed and icy slope. I reached the water ice in the photo below, where I decided onward progress was too difficult and dangerous without rope protection, plus we only had two axes between four of us.


We turned around and headed back into the forest for lunch.



A bit of a disappointing sunless day...but snow is coming!!



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