Limestone Ridges and the Dom

I was out this week on behalf of Frost Guiding with Chris. We had a successful week completing the following;

  • Rock climbing at the Vallorcine Slabs.
  • The traverse of Pointe Percee via the Arête du Doigt and Cheminee Sallanches.
  • Arete Marion.
  • The Dom (4545m).
  • Skills day near Arolla.

Matterhorn and Eldorado

John and I have had another busy few days. On Friday we walked to the Hörnli Hut before climbing the Matterhorn yesterday.

Today we visited the Eldorado Domes above Les Contamines. This excellent crag is 5/6 pitches high and rarely visited. Even though it is a Sunday in August, we were the only climbers there.

Bishorn and Gran Paradiso

John and I have been out in the Alps together the last few days.

On Sunday we walked to the Tracuit Hut before climbing the Bishorn on Monday. Conditions on the mountain were good. There are two areas of significant crevasses that need to be crossed. Having a good amount of rope out is important.

Yesterday we visited Servoz crag before making the approach to the Rifugio Vittorio Emanuel. Today we climbed the Gran Paradiso via the classic route. The snout of the glacier is getting icy as is the area around 3600m. Soon it may be better to go by the variation route described in Martin Moran’s 4000m peaks book.

 

Arolla and the Dufourspitze

This week I have been out with David, Mirsie, Mark, Micheal and Jack on behalf of Frost Guiding. We climbed the following;

  • Pointe 2940 above the Pas de Chèvre.
  • Le Serpentine (3789m) from the Col de la Serpentine in Scottish winter conditions. We accessed the mountain from the Dix Hut. Th conditions on the glacier were good.
  • Pointe du Pas de Chèvre (2991m).
  • The Dufourspitze (4634m). The conditions were good on the mountain.

Mont Blanc – The Italian Way

I have just had an excellent week with Mel, Michelle, Tom, Andy and www.frostguiding.co.uk.

Our week began with an ascent of the Bishorn (4153m) from the Tracuit Hut in perfect conditions. We then completed two via ferratas (Nax and Evolene) on Tuesday as a semi rest day before our next planned route!

On Wednesday we made the significant approach to the Refuge Gonella before traversing Mont Blanc (via the Pope Route and the Gouter Route) on Thursday and overnighting at the Refuge Gouter. Today we descended at 5am from the hut to the valley.

A few notes on conditions:

  • The glacier on the approach to the Rifugio Gonella is not as dry as normal. A rope is advised.
  • The glacier above the Rifugio Gonella has significant serac danger.
  • There are only a couple of icy sections around the Piton des Italiens.
  • There has been stonefall in the Grand Couloir. It is best to cross this early.

Summit of the Bishorn.

The final ridge to Mont Blanc.

Mont Blanc

Congratulations to Amanda and Trevor who summited Mont Blanc yesterday. We climbed the mountain via the Refuge du Gouter and the Refuge de Tete Rousse.

Amanda and Trevor with the summit behind.

The Grand Couloir was quiet during our ascent (between 2.15am and 4.15am) and our descent (between 5.00am and 7.00am). I did hear activity during the afternoon and evening. The conditions above the Gouter Hut were excellent.

A Varied Week in the Alps

This week I have been out in the Alps climbing with Ian, Ed and www.frostguiding.co.uk. We began the week last Sunday by traversing the superb Grand Perron  (2647m) above Lac d’Emosson.

Ian and Ed with the Perron Traverse behind.

We then moved to the Evolene and Arolla valley and climbed the Dent Blanche (4357m) via the South Ridge on Tuesday. The route was very dry and crampons were not needed above the second snowfield (although this may change in the current weather). I would not recommend being under other groups in the couloir behind the gendarme at the moment,.

Sunset from the Dent Blanche Hut.

 

 

On Wednesday we climbed two routes on the Contrefort de Droite in Les Aiguilles Rouges above Chamonix; Eperon Sublime and Robin Wood. A small rack is required for Eperon Sublime.

Yesterday the weather was poor so we made our way to the Rifugio Torino before climbing Les Aiguilles Marbrees (3535m) today under fresh snow and in Scottish winter style conditions. The glacier was in the worst condition I have seen it in.

There are many more photos on the facebook page.

La Frasse and Saas Fee

Paul, Hector and I are climbing together this week. On Monday we climbed at the excellent slab of La Frasse which is 30 minutes from Saint Gervais. The rock here is perfect, well bolted and the routes up to three pitches in length.

Yesterday, we climbed the Allalinhorn (4027m) from Saas Fee before overnighting at the Britannia Hutte.. The mountain was in good condition.

Today we traversed from the hut to Mattmark reservoir via the Holaub and Allalin Glaciers. Since I last did this route a number of years ago the route has become much more popular, well marked with paint and cairns and very easy to follow.

The view from the ascent of the Allalinhorn.

Alphubel

Today John and I climbed the Alphubel (4206m) from the Tasch Hutte. We ascended via the South East Ridge and descended via the Voie Normale.

The approach to the col which gives access to the ridge is incredibly dry for this time of year. Sharp crampons are needed on the very hard glacial ice.

The South East Ridge was good fun. We had to do pitches using ice screws for belays and protection on the Ice Nose.

The Voie Normale crosses several lines where seracs have fallen down.

A 3am breakfast and efficient movement are currently essential to get the mountain in reasonable condition.

The Weisshorn very early this morning.

Lyskamm and Other Summits of the Monte Rosa

John and I have spent the last three days in the Monte Rosa Massif. We approached from Staffal (Gressoney) on Thursday after driving from Saint Gervais les Bains and made the ascent of Pyramide Vincent (4215m) in good conditions.

During Thursday night/Friday morning a serac collapse crossed the track giving access to the summits of the Monte Rosa. John and I took a different line to avoid most of the danger over the next couple of days without any problems (although most teams kept walking on the main track through the debris!). Taking the line John and I took exposure to risk is a couple of minutes in ascent.

On Friday after crossing Il Naso (4272m) we climbed the Cresta Sella to the summit of Lyskamm (4527m) before descending the East Ridge. The Cresta Sella was great fun and in good condition (the section crossing the col between the two peaks may need ice screws for protection soon).

The route on Il Naso from the Rifugio Moantova is completely different this season from how I have ever done it before. It is worth checking on the best way to go with the Guardian as it is different from the guidebooks.

Yesterday we climbed Ludwigshohe (4341m), Parrotspitze (4432m) and Signalkuppe (4554m). A number of teams turned back due to the cold and wind chill factor from the strong breeze. Big jackets and gloves are advised!

More photos on the facebook page.

John exiting the Cresta Sella.