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.

Wild weather in the Alps

Following our retreat from the Plan de Bertol, the lads from St. James School, the www.frostguiding.co.uk team and I had a great day above Arolla on Wednesday. We climbed the Pointe du Pas de Chevres and traversed Point 2940m under mostly blue skies. These ridges provide fun scrambles that are rarely busy.

Traversing Point 2940m.

The weather from early evening Wednesday and through the whole of yesterday and last night has been very, very poor with 30cm of new snow at 2800m and I would suspect significantly more higher than this.

Due to this we went to the climbing wall yesterday. Today we attempted to go to the Saas Valley but unfortunately could not get up the road due to a significant landslide. Not to be put off, we travelled to Fiesch before having a fun day in the snow while ascending the Eggishorn.

The Aletschhorn during a clearing in the weather. It doesn’t normally look like this in August!

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.

Ski Touring in Arolla

Steve and John on the summit of La Luette.

Steve and John on the summit of La Luette.

Last week I was ski touring in the Arolla area with Gordon, Steve and John on behalf of www.frostguiding.co.uk. We found lots of good snow for skiing with fresh tracks on spring snow on both the Tete Blanche and La Luette. Below is the details of where we went;

  • 9th April. The Arolla ski area and Pas de Chevre (2855m).
  • 10th April. Transceiver searches and crevasse rescue training near and around the Glacier de Tsijiore Neuve.
  • 11th April. The Cabane de Bertol (3268m). This is a long ascent and therefore it is worth leaving early in the morning before the day gets hot..
  • 12th April. The Tete Blanche (3724m).
  • 13th April. The Cabane des Dix (2928m).
  • 14th April. La Luette (3548m).
Skinning roped together on a glacier.

Skinning roped together on a glacier.

There are many more photos on the facebook page.

Ski Touring and Skye Availability

From the 9th to the 14th April Euan will be running an introductory ski touring course for www.frostguiding.co.uk. The course will be based in the beautiful Arolla valley. Please contact Janine and Graham if interested.

P1140099The climbnow  team also have availability for Alpine ski touring from the 20th April until the middle of May. Example tours are; the Vanoise traverse, the Saas Fee  and Zermatt 4000 metre peaks, the Bernese Oberland Traverse, Chamonix single and multi day tours and the 4000 metre summits of the Mote Rosa Massif. Please contact the team if interested.

Additionally, the climbnow team also have some availability for Skye scrambles and ridge traverse courses this May and June. Please get in contact if interested.

The In-Pinn.

The In-Pinn.

 

 

The Alps, Fastcastle and the Souter

Last week, Andy, Rob and I had a quick visit to the Alps. Even though the weather was poor over the three days we still managed to climb; Pointe du Pas de Chevres (2991m) and Pointe 2940m (both accessed from the Pas de Chevres in the Arolla area) followed by Pigne de la Le (3396m, Moiry Valley). We then had a days cragging at Le Fayet.

The recent weather in the Alps will make climbing high rock ridges very difficult.

Today I have been out with the Falkirk High Tops Team. Iona, Barbara, Ivor, John and I had a great day at the Fastcastle and Souter sea cliffs. We climbed a number of single and multi pitch routes. The rock was dry and clean. Currently there are no problems with sea birds.

More photos on the facebook page.

Climbing on Pointe 2940m.

Climbing on Pointe 2940m.

Iona near the summit of the Souter.

Iona near the summit of the Souter.

Alpine Mountaineering with Frost Guiding

Sharna, Pok and I have been out this week with ww.frostguiding.co.uk. On Sunday we completed an Ecole de Glace session before continuing to the Moiry Hut where we spent two nights.

The weather was excellent on Monday so we traversed the Pointe de Mourti (3564m) and the Dent de Rosses (3613m). The conditions on the traverse and on the glacier were excellent. After overnighting the second night at the hut we traversed the Couronne de Breona (3159m) which is a brilliant rock ridge that leads back towards the car park. The heavy rain on Monday night made the condition’s more challenging but we still made the car park before Tuesdays afternoon rain started.

On Wednesday we climbed at Bramois and looked at rescue techniques before walking to the DIx Hut on Thursday. We completed the traverse of Pointe 2943m on the way to the Dix. This is a lovely little rock ridge which is climbed on mostly perfect rock.

To complete the week we climbed Pigne d’Arolla (3796m). There are a good number more crevasses now than when I was there 3 weeks ago. It may be worth chatting to the guardian about the best line on the lower glacier.

The summit of the Pigne.

The summit of the Pigne.

Beautiful sunrise from the Pigne.

Beautiful sunrise from the Pigne.

Arolla Mountaineering with Frost Guiding

This week I am with Frost Guiding who are based in Evolene in the Arolla Valley. Karen, John and I have climbed three peaks over the last three days.

On Sunday we traversed Point 2943m which gives a nice rock climb and scramble. the rock was in excellent condition.

Yesterday we traversed Pigne d’Arolla (3790m) from the Dix Hut to the Vignettes Hut. The mountain was in good condition.

Today we traversed the Pointe d’Oren (3525m) before descending to the valley. The mountain was also in good condition. The bergshrund on the descent was easily crossed.

There are more photos on the facebook page.

Descending the Point d'Oren.

Descending the Point d’Oren.

 

Another Great Week in the Alps

The weather continues to be excellent in the Alps allowing plenty more opportunities to climb great mountains. This week on behalf of www.frostguiding.co.uk I have been out with Gordon, Ben, Emma, John and Andy Teasdale.

We began the week by going to Cabane de Moiry and on the way completed an ecole de glace session. The next day we traversed the Pointe de Mourti (3563m) and the Dent de Rosses (3613m). This lovely AD route was in good condition.

On Tuesday we walked into the Britannia Hut from the Platjjen lift station in Saas Fee arriving just before the very heavy rain that was correctly forecast for the afternoon. The next morning we completed the Hohlaubgrat on the Allalinhorn (4027m). This is a beautiful snow and ice ridge with one rock step near the summit. At the moment the ridge is fairly icy and good sharp crampons are advised.

The next day following another early start we traversed the Grand Perron (2674m). This is another excellent AD ridge that involves sustained rock scrambling, some rock climbing and five abseils. The rock on the route is mostly excellent.

Yesterday we went multi pitch rock climbing on the Dent de Follieches near Arolla before revisiting our prusiking skills to finish off the week.

There are many more photos from the last two weeks on the climbnow facebook page.

The summit of the Allalinhorn.

The summit of the Allalinhorn.

Mont Blanc Massif and Arolla

Andrew and I have just had a great five days mountaineering in the Mont Blanc Massif and Arolla Valley despite some challenging weather.

On Monday we travelled through the Mont Blanc Tunnel and used the new telepherique to the Punta Helbronner before climbing the Aiguille Marbrees (3535m) and the Aiguille de Toule (3534m). The parking for the new telepherique is in a new location and it is worth allowing a couple of minutes to find it.

With a poor forecast for Tuesday we made the best of the day by visiting the Mer de Glace and practising the key crevasse rescue skills we would need for our planned expedition over the next three days.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday  were spent in the Arolla Valley were we climbed firstly to the Cabane des Vignettes before an ascent of the Pigne d’Arolla (3790m) on Thursday morning.

After our ascent of the Pigne we made the long approach to the Bivouac de l’Aiguillette. This is a brilliant remote hut and provides some great mountains with no other climbers around.

The weather deteriorated on Thursday evening into Friday but we still managed an ascent of the Becque Labie (3463m) before returning to Arolla

There is large quantities of new snow around which made the return to Arolla on Friday hard work. During our expediton period we did not see any other climbers other than at the Vignettes Hut. Therefore, there are no tracks at the moment so good navigation skills are essential.

There are lots more photos on the facebook page.

On the approach to the Bivouac.

On the approach to the Bivouac.

Approaching the Aiguille Marbrees.

Approaching the Aiguille Marbrees.