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.

Mountaineering from Champoluc

For the past three days John and I have been mountaineering from the Champoluc valley in Italy. On Monday we walked to the Rifugio Mezzalama in heavy rain to ensure we were in the correct position to utilise the good weather forecast for Tuesday.

We left the hut early Tuesday morning before making ascents of the Breithorn (4164m) and Pollux (4092m). Due to the recent heavy snow the glaciers and both mountains were in excellent condition. After the second peak we then made our way to the Rifugio Guide Val d’Ayas to overnight.

This morning we traversed Castor (4228m) passing the Rifugio Quintino Sella hut in excellent conditions before making the long descent to Champoluc.

John climbing fixed ropes on Pollux.

John climbing fixed ropes on Pollux.

 

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.