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.
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.
This week I have been out with Rupert on behalf of Frost Guiding. Rupert is currently trying to complete the whole of the Swiss perimeter in one summer. As part of this adventure we climbed nine 4000 metre peaks and one major summit over five days. Rupert’s adventures can be followed at, www.swiss-perimeter.ch.
Our week began on Sunday with an ascent of the Breithorn(4164m) before overnighting at the Klein Matterhorn station. The mountain was in good condition.
The weather was less than perfect on Monday but we still managed to climb Pollux (4092m) and Castor (4223m) on the way to the Quintino Sella Hut. Pollux was in very good condition. The upper section of Castor is now becoming icy and requires steady cramponing.
We left the Quintion Sella hut early on Tuesday morning to traverse the Passo il Nasso. The ascent of this required three pitches and ice screw belays. After we traversed the pass we climbed Ludwigshohe (4341m), Parrotspitze (4432m) and Signalkuppe (4554m) before overnighting at the Rifugio Margherita. All three peaks were in good condition.
The next morning we climbed the Zumsteinspitze (4563m) before traversing to the Dufourspitze (4634m) via the South East Ridge. This AD ridge requires very precise crampon technique as the ridges are very narrow and mistakes are not an option!
After descending the fixed ropes we then climbed Nordend (4609m) before descending to the Monte Rosa Hutte. This glacial descent is complex this year and the track passes very close to significant serac fall debris.
Yesterday, we climbed Cima di Jazzi (3803m) from the Monte Rosa Hutte before traversing the Stockhorn to the Gornergrat railway and Zermatt. This was a very long day on which we saw no other parties.
More photos can be seen on the climbnow facebook page.