A fun week helping Rob out filming for Project Alpine Spirit. Becky Coles, Lou Bettlestone and Mo Barclay are currently out in the Alps attempting to climb all of the Alpine 4000 metre peaks in an extended summer season. Thanks to funding from the BMC and Montane Rob has taken on the less physical but still fairly daunting task of documenting the ladies’ journey on film. He followed the team near the start of their journey in the Spring where they were able to ascend the first of their 4000 metre summits on skis.
Back out in the Alps again last week I took little persuasion to tag along as tripod carrier, camera gimbal holder and literal ‘dead weight’ on the end of a rope for glacier crossings. Becky, Lou and Mo were in the Chamonix Valley when we joined them and as well as some filming in and around the campsite and town we accompanied them up to the Torrino Hut and followed them out part of the way during their ascent of Dent du Geant.
The list that the team are ticking is as given by the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA) and contains 82 ‘summits’. As far as I am aware only two British alpinists have completed the list, no woman of any nationality has ever climbed all on the list within a year and if they complete their challenge Becky, Lou and Mo will become the first all-female team to ever do so.
On a pathetically moderate level when compared to the girls’ efforts Rob and myself did manage to fit a little bit of climbing in amongst the work but the undoubted highlight of the week for us was sitting feet dangling from the helicopter as we filmed close up sunrise over the Petit Dru, Grandes Jorasses, Dent du Geant, Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Aiguilles.
We left the day after Becky, Lou and Mo had returned to the valley having climbed Mont Blanc du Tacul via the long and complicated Diable Ridge. At grade Difficile Plus it’s one of a number of difficult passages of climbing that the team will encounter in attempting to link together the highest of the Alpine summits. They have completed 40 out of the 82 as of now and looked like they were going pretty strong when we last saw them. Bonne chance ladies!!