3 days 3 routes on the Miroir D’Argentine.

Miroir D’Argentine

The miroir; A 400 m high clean slab of limestone rising up above the picture postcard Swiss chalets of Solalex, standing by neigbouring peaks of Diablerets and the Gran Muveran. Between 12 and 17 pitches gets you to the top with numerous routes to choose from at all grades from the classic Y route  4a to routes like Bel Hasard 6c+.  Superb quality rock at a steady angle gives incredible climbing in beautiful surroundings.

View from solalex

Direct – 5 pitches at 5a.

Taking a straight line up the face, the climbing involves crack climbing, chimneying, lay backing, overhangs and slabs – pretty much everything really. The first 5 pitches are a bit of a battle up wide cracks involving a lot of squirming and thrusting to make upward progress. The top 5 pitches on bulges, finger cracks and hand jams on a steady angle and immaculate rock makes for 5 incredible pitches of climbing. At a grade of 5a its not a route to underestimate though. There’s nothing that difficult but certainly some moves which feel pretty tricky for 5a! I think its fair to say that swiss grading is pretty hard compared with french or italian etc. Or maybe I’m being soft???

Kerry climbing the quality top pitches

We were pleased to be topping out before it got dark and just a quick walk around the side to get back to Solalex before the bar closed.

Voie Normal (and a bit of direct)

Being the classic line and the obvious crack going straight up the face you would think that route finding would be easy, however, think again. Having just teamed up with a guy, Matt who I had met a few days previous on an IML assessment,  I wanted things to get off to a good start by making fast progress up the route before the thunderstorms started in the afternoon. Unfortunately after about 10m of climbing I had managed to venture off route and onto something pretty difficile! The pitch should have been 4a however when your pulling on monos and smearing on pebbles then you know your not on 4a! After a bit of faffing I got back on route but wasted precious time.

Matt going up one of the crux pitches. 

2 great pitches of around 5a/b got us onto easy ground however some rope tangles halted our progress, meaning it was getting more and more likely we would end up in the thunderstorms in the afternoon. Easy ground meant we could move together and catch up some lost time until we realised that the crack line we were following ran out on the face meaning we were off route again! A crack of thunder focused the mind to make a decision and climb faster, so we rapped down to a ledge and got ourselves onto the direct route for the top pitches to the summit.

High up on the miroir with cloud and thunder, climbing quickly!

A few more cracks of thunder and an enveloping of cloud got the heart racing, as being caught on a wet limestone face 300m up in a storm wasn’t an appealing prospect! We climbed the top 5 pitches really quickly not making any mistakes with ropes, route or anything. A few specks of rain got us racing the last few steep pulls onto the summit and on to safety. literally 10 minutes after reaching the path the heavens opened and we got a total soaking! But we were off the face, safe and feeling like we had just got away with murder. We gleefully ran down the hill to the bar to congratulate ourselves for being the only 2 people daft enough to venture on to the face that day and get to the summit.

Remix 5c+

We woke up with a raging hangovers and aching bodies after the previous days ascent of the Miroir and a skinful of drinks until 5 in the morning. But the psyche was high and another ascent of the Mirroir was on the cards, this time choosing the Remix 5c+. The Remix is a very direct line up the face with sustained 5b/c climbing which goes over a big bulge in the middle. Climbing of the highest quality from the first pitch all the way to the last made for an incredible day in the mountains which even our hangovers couldn’t spoil.

Hungover, cold, but loving it on the remix!

On the approach I’m sure the smell of alcohol permeating from our skin intoxicated the air around us but fortunately there wasn’t anyone around to smell it so we had the face pretty much to ourselves again. The thunderstorm the day before had completely cleared the air and the temperature had plummeted so the shorts and tee shirt which had been too much the day before was no where near enough for today. This put off a group climbing next to us who returned to the valley, but fortunately we were still wearing our beer jackets so we continued up the route. We got really cold about half way up the face but the sun came out and we were pleased to have our fingers thaw out a little bit.

Reflection time.

Incredible climbing up crack lines, bulges, overhangs bought us to the crux of the route which was a steep pull over a roof. It was in a awesome position 200m up the face but feeling like 1000, you have to reach up for a pocket out of sight grab it and pull over the bulge, quite intimidating but pretty easy in the end. This brings you onto 5 pitches of the best quality slabs with very few holds and small bulges at just the right angle allow progress  upwards putting total faith in friction. Bolts are ‘sportingly’  spaced over 5m apart make for some exciting and exhilarating climbing!

Finishing top slabs – Awesome!

An awesome route, great climbing and a really enjoyable few days in the mountains! Highly recommended!

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