ICE/SNOW, ROCK OR MIXED CLIMBING?
According to the conditions, there are many ways to reach the summit of a mountain. Sometimes the face is dry and rocky : we do rock-climbing. Sometimes the mountain is covered with glaciers and we are hiking with crampons. Sometimes the rock is covered with snow, or we can encounter a little bit of everything in the same day : the conditions are called mixed. Whatever the method, the alpinist tries to reach the summits to discover how wide the horizon is. Along the way, overcoming the difficulties, he's outdoing his own limits. He focuses on his feelings and courage to achieve his goal. Mountaineering is an inner journey as much as a trip around the world, a pretext to discover and explore, a time when one is like left alone facing a demanding but stunning nature.
This is a white universe, made of snow and ice.
We move with crampons and one or two ice axes.
We use ice screws for the security.
For example, this could be a hike on a glacier, a snowy gully or a big icy face...
For example : Mont Blanc in Chamonix, Dôme de Neige in the Écrins massif...
This is here a mineral-dominant universe, whose approach can possibly be done by a glacier.
We do rock climbing in altitude, technically less difficult than rock climbing at a crag in the valley.
Sometimes we use mountains boots instead of rock climbing shoes.
For example, this could be a pilar, a ridge traverse, a multi-pitches route, a big rocky face...
For example : Rébuffat route on Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix, south ridge of pic du Glacier Blanc in the Écrins massif...
This is a universe that combines rock climbing and ice climbing.
This may result from the current conditions or simply because that's what we aim to do.
We adapt to the conditions : sometimes we put crampons on, sometimes we take them off.
For example, this could be an altitude ridge, a winter ascent, a big mixed face...
For example : Cosmiques ridge on Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix, normal route on Agneaux in the Écrins massif...