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Triangle du Tacul, Contamine-Mauzeaud (AD+, 350m, 60°)

After wondering what to do as our next weekend mission we decided that since we already knew the place it would be logistically easier to go back to the Tacul and try something slightly “harder”. This time the Cosmique hut was fully booked so we took a tent and sleeping bags. We would eat at the hut to make things simpler and more convenient.

We geared up and started descending to the glacier. The day was perfect, blue sky, no clouds, no wind, and loads of people going down. Getting closer we could see a party of three on the route, the leader was at the middle of the ice crux, a tinny spot on a large dark blue ice ramp. From the Midi the route looked steep and I was somewhat anxious with the whole thing but as we approached I relaxed, it was not so steep and I could now see the features that would help our progress.

Approaching the Pyramid du Tacul

It was 10h30 when we started. Pawel soloed the first bit until the point it got steep and set up a belay. I joined him and started up the crux. The ice ramp was steep but soon I found eased off and I found soft ice. I made a belay and Pawel joined me. We kept going up and leftwards until we reached the snow field traversed right.

From here we started celebrating until we discovered there still 3 more pitches of mixed climbing. We took five hours to reach the top of the pyramid. We were knackered and decided that the safest – but longest – way down was the normal route which we already knew. It was late in the day and it hot. Many crevasses were exposed and the snow pack had weakened considerably. It was a different feeling from the previous trip. Many times I would step in what looked liked solid snow just to realize that it was actually a thin bridge over the unknown. I was going ahead and twice felt into holes up to my waist. Nerve racking. Eventually we joined the normal route and descend under the threat of the massive serac band.

Pawel in action
Approaching the top

It was late in we lost dinner. We had no water since the top and feeling thirsty I decided to go to the hut to buy a few bottles while Pawel pitched the tent. When I got there it was 10pm and the kitchen would be closed ’til 1am. I decided to wait. Breakfast time came and the place got crowed. I sneakily manage to get myself a free bed and as soon as daylight came and I head back to the tent to wake Pawel up and give him some water.

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