The Dauphiné is a rugged granite range, with climbs similar to the Mont Blanc massif. But it often enjoys better weather than the latter, and attracts climbers when the peaks around Chamonix are “platré” (plastered) with snow. I arrived in La Grave in early July, 1962, and had the good fortune of finding a group of French climbers who let me tag along with them on a couple of climbs, both classics of the area.
On July 6, we climbed the South Face of the Aiguille de la Dibona, which is described as follows: “The Aiguille Dibona, formerly called Pain de Sucre du Soreiller 3,130 m is a mountain in the French Alps, in the Massif des Écrins, notable for its ‘astonishing triangular granite spear'”. Wikipedia. The route we climbed is rated TD (tres difficile) which translates to “very difficult”.
Well … did I get my money’s worth on that climb or not? Spectacular! I was in seventh heaven. We followed this climb by tackling the great South Face Direct of La Meije, on July 10. Here’s what http://www.summitpost has to say about it:
Name: Meije direct Sud face
Difficulty: TD, 10 pitons
Time required: 7h-9h to Grand Pic
Essential gear: crampons, pitons > 10, mousquetons, rappels 40m
Start point: Promontoire hut (3092m)
Top point: Grand Pic (3983m)
Difference in height: 800m
After completing this wonderful route on La Meije, I was ready for Chamonix.