Pictures taken on the meet are available.
33 mountaineers (plus one dog) attended the meet this year of whom 27 were members. Attendees ranged in age from 10 months to 75 and included some Alpine Meet regulars, recent ex-UBMCs, some who had never been to the Alps before, and some who were making a return to Alpine Mountaineering after a number of years.
Our base for the three week meet was Camping Aiguille Noire and this proved to be an excellent location and one that we would recommend. We were made very welcome by the campsite owners (not least, I’m sure, thanks to the steady flow of arrivals). The onsite restaurant was popular and some became such regulars that the grappa flowed freely on their last visit. The campsite was in Val Veny, 10 minutes and a short (almost vertical) bus ride from Courmayeur. Many arrived in Italy to temperatures in the high 30s and the high temperatures had had the expected effect on the snow conditions. Plans were made to accommodate this and nonetheless a great deal was achieved by those attending the meet.
The Tour de Mont Blanc passed very close to the campsite and parts of this were walked in various directions by among others Sue, Tim E (and Henry of course!), Rob, Gerry and Bill and Mike. Phil P even managed to run a section of the path and bumped into Bill and Mike a number of times as he powered up the mountain paths. Also close to the campsite were a number of via ferrata and multi-pitch sports climbs although the via ferrata up to the top of Mont Chatif was dismissed as more of an over-rated scramble than a via ferrata.
Val Ferret proved a popular destination - a short drive and easy parking as well as a warm welcome at the Dalmazzi Hut meant that a number of parties climbed on various routes there. One 18 pitch epic route was popular – ‘Chamois volant’ was not far from the Hut and had easy pitches leading to an exciting summit. The descent was more complicated however and I think a number of members felt that they had rather too many opportunities to practise their abseiling.
Despite the hot weather adventures into the high mountains were still possible. An excellent two day journey took a group of 7 on an ascent of Mont Emilius above Aosta. A fantastic night in a bivvi hut on a spectacular ridge with views of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn (thanks Tim and Oli for ‘volunteering’ to sleep outside) was followed the next day by a lovely via ferrata to the summit. More than half those on the meet climbed at least one 4000m peak during the meet with Gran Paradiso proving the most popular. The ladder to cross the bergshrund was particularly exciting and the Chabod Hut food (particularly the apfelstrudel) is to be recommended. The Dent du Geant was the target for other members of the group with spectacular views from the top and with yet more ‘exciting’ abseiling. Tim and Oli, always keen to head off the beaten track, tackled Le Grand Combin and returned in one piece but not in a hurry to go back. The Aiguille d’Entreves, a crossing of the Vallee Blanche and Petit Mont Blanc were also completed by a variety of parties. The newly restored lift system from Courmayeur up to Point Helbronner meant that many trips could take place in a day although plenty of nights were also spent in huts
There were far more achievements, too many to list and lots of time was also spent sport climbing, gliding (Tim crept off to Aosta and saw the Alps from a different angle!), researching ice cream flavours, touring the gear shops of Courmayeur, barbecuing and relaxing at the campsite.
It was great to see so many people at the meet and to welcome many members and friends for their first Alpine Meet. We already have some provisional plans for next year and look forward to confirming these as well as re-living Alpine memories at the Alpine Meet Reunion on 25th-27th September at Low House. If anyone would like to attend the reunion it would an excellent chance to meet those who went this year and make plans for next year. Thank you to all you attended the meet and here’s to next year.