Aiguille Dibona

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As you round the last corner and climb up out of the ravine into the Soreiller cirque, the sharpened point of the Aiguille Dibona comes into view. At its summit it is only a few metres wide; it truly is the only mountain that I have ever seen that truly deserves the title of aiguille (needle).

I had been talking to JB for a while about going to the Dibona and we finally both had a weekend free with a clear weather window. We hiked in with two days of food planning to bivouac near the refuge, I’d already been before and knew that there were some places close by. After leaving most of our gear at a likely bivouac spot we tackled the Voie du Nain, a simple 5 pitch affair with a single pitch of 5a max. As people usually do, we finished up the normal route, topping out at around 3pm. As usual the views were stunning; the perfect end to the first day! On returning to the bivouac we prepared dinner and decided which routes to do the day after as we munched our couscous and mushroom soup (a classic culinary combination).

One thing which is so great about climbing around the Dibona in the height of summer is that all the climbing is so close that you don’t need to get up particularly early in order to be able to get a decent amount of climbing in in the day. We were able to roll out of our sleeping bags and be at the foot of the first route of the day at the leisurely hour of 9am, safe in the knowledge that we had about 12 hours of sunlight ahead of us. That day we would tackle two routes, each of about 4 pitches. We weren’t exactly pushing the envelope in terms of technical difficulty (these routes were of grade 4+ maximum), but it gave us a good opportunity to climb in our mountain boots, which was good training. After some brief trouble with a stuck rope on the final rappel we headed for the refuge for a pint of some locally brewed beer before starting the (long) descent back to the car in the late afternoon sunshine.