After a hard months climbing in and around the Chamonix area, we were beginning to run out of steam, there was some still left in the tank, so we chose to have a crack at some routes in the Aiguille Rouges. The entire trip we had not used lifts as we were on a massive budget, so going up the Index lift was a luxury and my feet were happy for the relief of not having to hike to the base of the climbs.
We decided that as a 3 we would climb in pairs whilst one waited with the gear, and Colin and me set out to climb the Southeast Ridge of the Aiguille L’Index, which stands in front of you as soon as you exit the chair lift. To get to the start of the route you need to cross a grassy ledge that clearly parts the face of the rock, at the end of a clear path you reach the base of the climb, and it is clearly marked by the worn ground at its base.
This climb can be summarised quite simply, as all the pitches roll together with a similar difficulty and climbing style. It’s a traditional route so we were carrying a full rack, although there was occasional fixed gear, pegs and the like. We were able to occasionally link pitches together, which helped, as the route was so busy! Many pitches on the route were exposed and that added an extra dimension to the climb.
I really enjoyed being on such easy climbing terrain with that amount of exposure; it really gave the sense of being on a great and fun adventure, but with a serious edge to it, a terrific alpine route. I later learnt that it is in Rebuffat’s 100 finest routes in the Mont Blanc Massif, and if that’s true then I think it deserves its place!
Once at the summit, a decent abseil and some scrambling bring you back to the base and the start of the climb. Throughout all of this, especially on a sunny day like we had, you have a fantastic view of the Mont Blanc range which I was able to enjoy for a few hours, whilst Mike and Colin went back up, but on the Brunat-Perroux route. I heartily recommend everyone to get on this climb and have a great day out!