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.


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.

Arolla and Zermatt

This week I have been out with www.frostguiding.co.uk. We were out with fundraisers from the charity www.indeerosetrust.org. This charity supports ‘children and their families who have been diagnosed with a brain or spinal tumour’. Please get involved if you can.

Notes on the peaks we climbed and conditions;

  • La Luette (3548m) Arolla. Good conditions.
  • Pigne d’Arolla (3796m) Arolla. Good conditions on the ascent from Dix. Getting icy on the descent to Vignettes.
  • Breithorn (4164m) Zermatt. Good conditions.
  • Pollux (4092m) Zermatt. Good conditions
  • Castor (4223m). Zermatt. Climbed by other members of our team. Very icy for this time of the year. Sharp crampons and screws needed.

More photos on the facebook page.

Neil Johnson on Pollux.

Summits with Chris and Frost Guiding

Chris Rigg and I have been out this week with www.frostguiding.co.uk.

We met on Saturday and after walking to the Orny Hut climbed Bon Accueil on the Aiguille de la Cabane (2999m). This route climbs superb rock and by using a couple of points of aid can be climbed at Very Severe.

After staying at the hut we climbed the North West Arete of the Tete Blanche (including the final tower) and the Petite Fourche (3520m). By climbing the final tower rather than avoiding it by loose ground on the right the route warrants solid PD+.

We descended back into Switzerland via the abseil from the col near Petite Fourche. It is suggested in the guidebooks this can be completed on a 60m rope. This is incorrect. Two ropes are required.

During Mondays bad weather Chris and I travelled to Hotel Flualp. Yesterday, we climbed Rimpfishhorn (4199m) which was in Scottish winter condition following the poor weather the day before. Great preparation for when the snows arrive in Scotland in November (hopefully!).

More photos on the facebook page.

Great rock on the Aiguille de la Cabanne.

Great rock on the Aiguille de la Cabanne.

Great Mountaineering with Andrew, Nigel and Frost Guiding

Andrew, Nigel and I have just had a great weeks mountaineering with www.frostguiding.co.uk. We completed the following routes, days and summits;

  • Traverse of the Aiguille d’Entreves (3600m).
  • Aiguille Marbres (3535m).
  • Traverse of Le Petit Flambeau (3440m).
  • Traverse of Aiguille Crochues (2840m).
  • Rock climbing at Bramois.
  • Traverse of Breithorn East (4139m) and West (4165m) from Col 4022m.
  • Pollux (4092m).

There are many more photos on the facebook page.

The snowy section of the Breithorn traverse.

The snowy section of the Breithorn traverse.

Monte Rosa Massif

Paul and Hector Skipworth and I have been out in the Monte Rosa Massif over the last couple of days. Yesterday, in poor weather we made the approach to the Rifugio Mantova. Today we climbed Pyramid Vincent (4215m) and Balmenhorn (4167m). These were Hectors first 4000m peaks aged 14. A great age to start at.

The mountains were in good condition.

Paul and Hector on the summit of Pyramid Vincent.

Paul and Hector on the summit of Pyramid Vincent.

8 Summits with Willie, Neil and www.frostguiding.co.uk

Willie, Neil and I have had a great weeks mountaineering with www.frostguiding.co.uk.

We spent Sunday and Monday in the Arolla area climbing Point 2943m and the Pigne d’Arolla (3796m) visiting the Cabane des Dix on the way. The mountains were in good condition.

On Tuesday during the bad weather we made use  of the day by approaching the Rifugio Quintino Sella from Staffal near Gressoney. After overnighting we traversed Il Naso (4272m) and climbed Piramide Vincent (4215m) before staying at the  Rifugio Mantova.

The line on Il Naso  when climbing from the Rifugio Quintino Sella is not currently that described in the British guidebooks. Rather than climbing the face on the right, it now climbs a rocky ridge which borders the left side of this face followed by a icy nose above which leads to easy ground and the summit. We used ice screws for belays on the nose.

On Thursday we climbed Balmenhorn (4167m), Ludwigshohe (4342m), Parrotspitze (4432m) and the Signalkuppe (4554m) before overnighting at the Rifugio Margherita. The mountains were in good condition.

The Rifugio Margherita is an amazing place to stay being the highest building in Europe and also having some of the best hut food in the Alps.

The weather was poor overnight on Thursday and on Friday morning with fresh snow and high winds giving poor visibility. Using compass, map and GPS we descended to the Punta Indren and then onto Gressoney.

The conditions in the Monte Rosa Massif are currently excellent with much more snow on the glaciers than at this time last year.

There are more photos on the facebook page.

The summit of Ludwigshohe.

The summit of Ludwigshohe.

Pizza Margherita at the Rifugio Margherita.

Pizza Margherita at the Rifugio Margherita.

High Tops with John

John and I have had a successful week in the Alps visiting two different areas.

On Sunday we walked to the Hotel Fluhalp to overnight before climbing the Rimpfischhorn (4199m) the next day. The route was quiet and in good condition. On the facebook I have added the www.camptocamp.org topo which is useful for those doing the peak.

We walked to the Dom Hutte on Tuesday. The next morning we climbed the brilliant Festigrat to the summit of the Dom (4545m) before descending the Voie Normale. The Festigrat was in reasonably good condition. There are some sections of ice and we pitched the steeper ice section as mentioned in the guidebook. The Voie Normale was in good condition. However, the track is too close to the seracs so I put in my own line.

Yesterday we traversed the Petite Aiguille Verte (3512m) above Chamonix. The rimaye is currently climbable at a number of locations.

Lots more photos on the climbnow facebook page.

The Weisshorn from the Dom.

The Weisshorn from the Dom.

John on the summit of the Dom.

John on the summit of the Dom.