Traverse of the Dorees

Sam Simpson

With the expedition nearing I teamed up with Chris Andrews  to finally climb together. Despite him living,talking and joking with us throughout the winter and summer we still had not climbed together. We needed to remedy this situation right away.

We both needed something long and more cardiovascular based was preferable, however all Alpine Climbing is, so we were not really in any shortage of good training routes.

Having not climbed together before we decided that climbing something big would be a bad idea so we opted what seemed to be a certain decent day out considering the weather conditions.

The Traverse of the Dorees is relatively low down in the Massif and would provide an excellent way to get to know one another moving together and setting ourselves up for bigger objectives in the future. It would be also a good base to acclimatize for a few higher objectives…

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Aiguille du Grépon 3842m – Mer de Glace Route – 12th August

Monday evening Chris Andrews and I raced up to the Envers Hut beside the Mer de Glace, for a stuffy night sleep.

Awaking at 4.30am, we had left by 4.55am and quickly walked along the snow slope by head torch. We swiftly crossed the bergschrund with minimal faff and reached rock.

We moved together with good momentum to halfway and paused to adsorb the sunrise.

20140812_070522Above, Chris Andrews oblivious to, and spoiling, an otherwise beautiful sunrise.

The final summit pitch is an amusing lay-back crack or leg-jamming off-width, depending on your taste. The reward of a Summit Mary awaits.

DSCF1303An abseil and scramble decent lead us down the other side of the Grepon to the Nantillions glacier, which we tediously down climbed.

A hop, skip and a jog in the rain took us to the Midi lift.

The hardest part was remembering where the car was parked; after having gone up the Montenvers train to the Mer de Glace and come down the Aig. du Midi two days later…


Start of August

Sam Simpson

It feels like autumn at the moment when there is a weather window in the mountains. The rain keeps coming and the optimistic weather forecasts have always taken a sour turn. But despite this foul weather I have been climbing everyday in August so far and just proves how amazing Chamonix and the surrounding area is.

The last 2 weeks I have managed to have some great days out with some really optimistic people who simply just love being out in the mountains.  I would have liked to have done more classic Alpine routes, however conditions have just pointed me to the granite!

DSCF4702 Contamine Route with James Matthews, a climb of absolutely classic status. Lots of people always climb there for a very good reason.

DSCF4832 Gavin Pike on The Unbelievable twin crack pitch on Lawrence of Arabia. A consistently awesome climb on the Red Pillar. Piola slab here and there!

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Aiguille de Moine – South Ridge


Chris Andrews and I set our sights on the classic Aiguille de Moine. We decided to treat ourselves to the Covercle Hut and hiked up in the rain.


After a solid night sleep, we were on the route early with Chris leading us through the damp start.


Chimney shuffles and squeezes are always an adventure.


Along the way we picked up ‘Solo Keith’ who was in Chamonix for his annual two week hollybobs. He had intended to be on the easy normal route, but finding himself at several tricky steps on the South Ridge, was very grateful to clip into our rope.

Becoming ever more responsible for our mate Keith…


A safe summit in good style.


The summit of Aiguille de Moine had an excellent and unique perspective of the massif.


The decent via the normal route is well marked with cairns and French men, so, with a little intuition, allowed us a quick and casual decent.

“Les Anglais descendent pas mal” –  said a French guide



"Oh the Places You'll Go!"

A good friend of mine recently got me Alastair Humphreys book ‘Microadventures – local discoveries for great escapes.’. He said Cora I know you are pretty adventurous and I thought you might like this. He was right, Alastairs book and blog are all about having adventures all year, no matter what, close to home and integrating adventure into your routine.

Last Tuesday I had my first #microadventure, myself and three friends from work packed our panieers with our bivvy kit and some dinner and cycled into the Warwickshire country side.

Setting off from Work Tuesday. Setting off from work on Tuesday

We had a vague plan, three of us where cycling to meet Callum at a red pin on a map, dropped randomly between our two places of work on an unnamed road, from here we didn’t know what we would find.

Meeting point. Meeting point.

Encouraged by Alastair’s advice for sleeping wild in the UK :

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Squatters Du Lune

Sam Simpson

Yesterday myself and fellow expedition member James Matthews went to check out the climbing on the Grand Perron. The weather in the Chamonix valley seemed to be positive so we set off in high (heel clipping) spirits up to the Emosson Dam. After the previous few days of dry tooling fun and a whiteout on the Vallee Blanche, all I needed was pristine rock, sun and a cool breeze……

photo (22) Dave Searle pumped silly on a M8 at the Zoo

Joel Evans looking at the excellent conditions from the Midi Joel Evans looking at the excellent conditions from the Midi

Col Du Montets was shrouded in mist. Early morning mist we thought….

The reliable combo chugged away unfolding cloudy picture frames of the Massif as we ascended up the steep road through Finhaut. A fog tunnel cleared to our left revealing a glimpse of the Aiguille Du Chardonnet, clouds rolling back again before we had chance to stop and take a picture.

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DCIM100GOPROMy first blog and an attempt to introduce myself to the Navlikin Expedition team of 2014 that I don’t already know so well. Looking forward to spending a more sustained period in the mountains than my flying visit to Skye:

Since moving South for the promise of glory in the vacuum cleaner industry, I may have neglected to spend enough quality time with the biggest and only brother (on the right).

However Good Friday saw Chris, Dad Tracey and Myself in Inverness – at the football – watching a most magnificently sunny 0-0 draw. At the risk of having too much excitement all in one weekend we headed to Skye. Late next morning we were standing on Kyle station, bikes in tow. After blasting it over the bridge and along the A87 to Broadfoot we may have well as been in the Mediterranean. Red hills and blue seas – we had hit the bank holiday…

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