Page:Whymper - Scrambles amongst the Alps.djvu/231

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chap. viii.
189
ASCENT OF AIGUILLE DE LA SAUSSE.

We left the chalets at 4.15 a.m. [under a shower of good wishes from our hostesses], proceeded at first towards the upper end of the ravine, then doubled back up a long buttress which projects in an unusual way, and went towards the Col de Martignare; but before arriving at its summit we again doubled, and resumed the original course.[1] At 6 a.m. we stood on the watershed, and followed it towards the east; keeping for some distance strictly to the ridge, and afterwards diverging a little to the south to avoid a considerable secondary aiguille, which prevented a straight track being made to the summit at which we were aiming. At 9.15 we stood on its top, and saw at once the lay of the land.

We found that our peak was one of four which enclosed a plateau that was filled by a glacier. Let us call these summits a, b, c, d (see plan on p. 183). We stood upon c, which was almost exactly the same elevation as b, but was higher than d, and lower than a. Peak a was the highest of the four, and was about 200 feet higher than b and c; we identified it as the Aiguille de Goléon (French survey, 11,250 feet). Peak d we considered was the Bec-du-Grenier; and, in default of other names, we called b and c the Aiguilles de la Sausse. The glacier flowed in a south-easterly direction, and was the Glacier Lombard.

Peaks b and c overhung the Ravine de la Sausse, and were connected with another aiguille—e—which did the same. A continuation of the ridge out of which these three aiguilles rose joined the Aiguilles d'Arve. The head of the Eavine de la Sausse was therefore encircled by six peaks; three of which it was convenient to term the Aiguilles de la Sausse, and the others were the Aiguilles d'Arve.

We were very fortunate in the selection of our summit. Not to

  1. fusion of these names at greater length. It is sufficient to say that they were confounded in a most perplexing manner by all the authorities we were able to consult, and also by the natives on the spot.

  2. A great part of this morning's route led over shales, which were loose and troublesome, and were probably a continuation of the well-known beds of the Col du Galibier and the Col de Lautaret.