The weekend was busy as expected here at Rifugio Boccalatte. Saturday brought us an interesting mix of local climbing heroes from both the French and Italian sides of the range. For a while we were over-booked and were offering places on the floor to sleep. It was hard to be certain what the weather was going to do and it kept us guessing until the last moment. A group of 4 canceled Saturday morning because of the uncertainty of the weather, which left our final dinner count at 21; 16 bound for the summit of the Grandes Jorasses and five planning to climb the Tour des Jorasses. The rain was intermittent up until 2am when the climbers usually wake to tackle the mountain. Upon exiting the hut, climbers encountered an eerie fog around the hut, which was too much for some who went back to bed. Much to the luck of all parties, the weather took a turn for the better making the climbing conditions better than they have been in years. In all, 14 summited on the Grandes Jorasses, 2 went back to bed, and the 5 found the Tour (a grade 6 rock climb) too wet to climb.
We have finally entered a more summer-like weather system; nice in the morning, rain and clouds in the afternoon. Today was particularly bad with thunderstorms and spells of downpours. It seems that the rain has excited some glacial activity and yesterday we woke to find a large ice-fall had broken off the Grandes Jorasses Glacier (the one behind the hut). A couple of very large compact-car-sized pieces slid 100m down the moraine and stopped in the middle of the hiking trail. Where the serac clove off the glacier you could very clearly see the stratification of years of ice accumulation.
Christophe Profit has made this his new summer home and staging point for his work as a guide. He was up again last night for the 4th time in a week and a half and is coming back tomorrow to climb the Tour. Much thanks to him, the business has been steady despite the uncertain weather and the fact that he has blazed the trail to the summit and is always successful in his attempts encourages our guests.