Valais and Mont Blanc Massif

I have just spent 6 days with Sam, Richard, Fred and Frost Guiding. Here are the details of what we did;

  • Day one. Ecole de Glacé on Moiry Glacier. Overnight at Moiry Hut.
  • Day two. Pointe de Mourti in good conditions.
  • Day three. Crevasse rescue on the way to the Vignettes Hut.
  • Day four. Traverse of Pigne d’Arolla. There is a 60 metre section of ice that requires ice screw belays on the ascent to the summit.
  • Day five. Ecole d’ escalade near the Orny Hut. Overnight at Trient Hut.
  • Day six. Aiguille du Tour in good conditions.

There are more photos on the Facebook page.

 

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

Arolla, Evolene and Saas Grund

I have just spent the past week based out of Evolene with Martin Moran Mountaineering (www.moran-mountain.co.uk) climbing with Mountain Guide Graham Frost, Katya, Simon, John and Clinton.

The week began last Sunday with an Ecole de Glace session on the Glacier Ferpecle. This allowed us to cover lots of skills before making the ascent to the Cabane Bertol on Monday. Behind the Cabane is a large pinnacle of good rock which we climbed in the afternoon.

The weather was perfect on Tuesday and a good freeze overnight gave perfect conditions for our approach to the Aiguille de la Tsa (3668m). We climbed this brilliant pinnacle before descending using multi pitch abseil skills and returning to the valley. Two ropes are required for the descent. The rock was dry and warm.

With a perfect forecast for Thursday we made the ascent to the Cabane Vignettes on Wednesday. Following a very early breakfast we completed the traverse of the Pigne d’Arolla (3796m) and Mont Blanc de Cheilon (3870m) to the Cabane Dix. This gives a top class AD traverse which was in excellent condition. We returned to the valley via the Col de Reidmatten as the Pas de Chevre is currently closed.

Today, we travelled to Saas Grund and climbed Panorama on the Jegihorn (3206m). This gave a great 350 metre rock climb on excellent rock.

Clinton enjoying Panorama with the Lagginhorn (4010m) in the background.

Clinton enjoying Panorama with the Lagginhorn (4010m) in the background.

Early morning on the Pigne d'Arolla with Graham Frost in the lead.

Early morning on the Pigne d’Arolla with Graham Frost in the lead.

The approach to the Aiguille de la Tsa in the distance.

The approach to the Aiguille de la Tsa in which can be seen in the distance.

 

 

Vallorcine, Pigne d’Arolla, Mont Blanc de Cheilon, Aiguille d’Entreves

After having a rest week back in the UK, I have been out in the Alps the last three days with John and Harvey.

On Sunday, we spent the morning rock climbing on the multi pitch routes at Vallorcine. In the afternoon we walked over the Glacier de Piece to the Cabanne des Vignettes. Yesterday, we had a big day out traversing the Pigne d’Arolla (3790m) and Mont Blanc de Cheilon (3870m). This brilliant traverse involves a great variety of terrain from easy snow plodding to sustained rock scrambling.

John having completed the snow ridge of Mont Blanc de Cheilon. The Matterhorn can be seen in the distance.

John having completed the snow ridge of Mont Blanc de Cheilon. The Matterhorn can be seen in the distance.

Following a rest and a drink at the Cabane des Dix we continued over the Pas de Chevre and back to Arolla where the vehicle was parked. Conditions on the route were excellent with good snow where necessary and dry rock on the scrambling sections.

Harvey and John on Mont Blanc de Cheilon.

Harvey and John on Mont Blanc de Cheilon.

Harvey and John relaxing at the Cabane des Dix with Mont Blanc de Cheilon in the background. The traverse goes from left to right.

Harvey and John relaxing at the Cabane des Dix with Mont Blanc de Cheilon in the background. The traverse goes from left to right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today we had an early start from Saint Gervais. The forecast for this afternoon was for thunderstorms. Therefore, we travelled through the Tunnel du Mont Blanc to Italy and used the Helbroner lift to gain height quickly. After gearing up, we crossed the glacier and completed the traverse of the Aiguille d’Entreves (3600m) before continuing to the summit of Le Petit Flambeau for lunch. The traverse of the Aiguille d’Entreves was in good condition and being enjoyed by a number of teams.

John climbing on the Aiguille d'Entreves with the Dent du Geant in the background.

John and Harvey climbing on the Aiguille d’Entreves with the Dent du Geant in the background.

 

Pigne d’Arolla

Yesterday, I headed into the Vignettes Hut above Arolla with a group of mountaineers. This high hut gives access to the Pigne d’Arolla (3796m) which we climbed this morning. The glaciers have good snow cover and there was a good track for most of the route. On the downside, the snow did not refreeze overnight making walking physically harder than normal.

Climbers descending Pigne d'Arolla with Dent Blanche in the background.

Climbers descending Pigne d’Arolla with Dent Blanche in the background.