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.

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.

Zermatt and Saas Fee

For the last five days I have been guiding for Northern Mountain Sport in the Zermatt and Saas Fee valleys where the weather and mountain conditions have been challenging.

Andy and Rob scrambling on Pollu(4092m) in less than perfect weather.

Andy and Rob scrambling on Pollux(4092m) in less than perfect weather.

 

Andy, Rob and I met on Saturday with a variable mountain forecast. We immediately used the Klein Matterhorn lift to gain height before using map, compass and GPS to locate the South West Ridge of Pollux (4092m). We climbed this in deteriorating weather before more map work safely deposited us in the Refuge Guide Val d’Ayas.

The weather the next morning was even worse than the day before with fresh snow covering all tracks. Mountain Guide Bruno from Fiesch did a great job in putiing a new track over the Grande Glacier di Verra which all teams used to return to the Klein Matterhorn station and Zermatt.

The forecast for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday was variable. We headed to the Britannia Hutte above Saas Fee via the Plattjen lift. After some lunch we had a great afternoon on the Holaub Gletscher looking at crevasse rescue, the construction of ice anchors and ice climbing skills.

Andy waiting to be rescued from a deep crevasse.

Andy waiting to be rescued from a deep crevasse.

Yesterday, we climbed to the Adlerpass (3789m) putting in a new track all the way across the Allalin Gletscher in deep snow. From here we attempted to climb the Strahlhorn but had to retreat in poor weather and dangerous snow conditions (lots of fresh snow covering deep crevasses on the ridge).

Rob and Andy on the Allalin Gletscher during a spell of good weather.

Rob and Andy on the Allalin Gletscher during a spell of good weather.

Today was the final day of our trip. We had a great day traversing from the Britannia Hutte over the Holaub and Allalin Gletscher’s (again utilising Scottish winter navigational skills) and the Schwarxbergchopf (2868m) before descending to Mattmark from where the excellent Post bus service returned us to Saas Fee. On the way we also spent time relooking at crevasse rescue and also practising prusiking skills.

 

It has been a tough but rewarding week to finish the season on. Tomorrow I return to Scotland to begin the Autumn season.

 

Allalinhorn’s Hohlaubgrat

Yesterday, Danny and I walked from the Plattjen lift above Saas Fee to the Britannia Hut. Although this appraoch is longer than the approach from the Felskinn lift station it is highly recommended as it is much more beautiful.

Today we climbed the Hohlaubgrat on the Allalinhorn (4027m). This stunning ridge is accessed from the Hohlaub Glacier.

Approaching the Hohlaubgrat early in the morning.

Approaching the Hohlaubgrat early in the morning.

The route begins with a broad ridge that narrows near the top before culminating in a rock band which must be climbed. It is PD+ and I would highly recommend it to those who climb at this standard. Unfortunately, the cold got to my battery and I do not have any photos of the route currently.

The Allalinhorn earlier today. The Hohlaubgrat is the left hand skyline.

The Allalinhorn earlier today. The Hohlaubgrat is the left hand skyline.

The route was in perfect condition. We descended via the very popular West-North-West Ridge.