Great Skiing in Gressoney

I have just finished a great weeks skiing in Gressoney with Infinity Mountain Guides and Team Bombardinos. We had a variety of conditions concluding with a big dump of powder.

It was great to be back in Gressoney as it is a superb area with a huge variety of terrain. Trees, couloirs, peaks and open slopes.

Gressoney

I am currently out in Gressoney with Infinity Mountain Guides and Team Bombardinos off piste skiing and ski touring.

Due to recent high winds conditions are variable but there is still great fun to be had.

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.

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.

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.

Monte Rosa with Karen and John

For the last three days of our www.frostguiding.co.uk trip, Karen, John and I have made the ascent of the Duforspitze (4634m) from the Monte Rosa Hut.

The glacier above the hut was in excellent condition, the easiest I have seen it in. The ridge was in good condition although it has a lot of snow on it meaning many of the normal spikes are not there.

Currently one of the fixed ropes on the descent is broken and the Guardian at the hut is advising groups to descend the ridge which is what we did.

Lots of photos on the facebook page.

A brilliant ridge in brilliant surroundings.

A brilliant ridge in brilliant surroundings.

Mountaineering with Team Lincoln

Paul and I had a great nine days mountaineering in the Monte Rosa Massif, Mont Blanc Massif, Chaine du Bargy and the Valais with Paul, Nick, Mark, Dean and Neil who are all based in the Lincoln area. Thanks also to Kenny Grant who joined us for the last three days. We completed the following;

  • 4th September. Ecole de Glace on Mer de Glace.
  • 5th September. Overnight at Rifugio Mantova following crevasse rescue on the Indren Glacier.
  • 6th September. Pyramid Vincent (4215m), Balmenhorn (4167m) and Corro Nero (4322m).
  • 7th September. Punta Giordani (4046m).
  • 8th September. Crag session at Le fayet followed by approach to the Robert Blanc Hut.
  • 9th September. The brilliant Arete des Lanchettes to the summit of the Domes des Glaciers (3529m).
  • 10th September. Via Ferrata at Pic Jallouvre.
  • 11th September. Ice climbing on the approach to the Moiry Hut.
  • 12th September. The traverse of Pigne de la Le (3396m).

Lots more photos can be seen on the facebook page.

The team on the summit of Dome des Glaciers.

The team on the summit of Dome des Glaciers.

The Duforspitze and L’Index

Following on from our successful trip to the Champoluc valley, John and I have had another successful three days in the mountains.

On Thursday we travelled to Zermatt before completing the approach to the Monte Rosa Hutte where we overnighted. Following the 2am breakfast the next morning we climbed to the top of the Duforspitze (4634m) before returning to Saint Gervais les Bains. The Duforspitze is the highest point in the Monte Rosa Massif and the second highest mountain in Western Europe. The mountain was in good condition.

Yesterday we climbed L’Index (2595m) above Chamonix. This classic rock peak is featured in Gaston Rebuffat’s book, ‘100 Best Routes in the Mont Blanc Massif’.

John on L'Index with Mont Blanc behind.

John on L’Index with Mont Blanc behind.

 

Swiss-Perimeter with Rupert and Frost Guiding

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.

Rupert on the South East Ridge of the Duforspitze.

Rupert on the South East Ridge of the Dufourspitze.