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.

Summits with Chris and Frost Guiding

Chris Rigg and I have been out this week with www.frostguiding.co.uk.

We met on Saturday and after walking to the Orny Hut climbed Bon Accueil on the Aiguille de la Cabane (2999m). This route climbs superb rock and by using a couple of points of aid can be climbed at Very Severe.

After staying at the hut we climbed the North West Arete of the Tete Blanche (including the final tower) and the Petite Fourche (3520m). By climbing the final tower rather than avoiding it by loose ground on the right the route warrants solid PD+.

We descended back into Switzerland via the abseil from the col near Petite Fourche. It is suggested in the guidebooks this can be completed on a 60m rope. This is incorrect. Two ropes are required.

During Mondays bad weather Chris and I travelled to Hotel Flualp. Yesterday, we climbed Rimpfishhorn (4199m) which was in Scottish winter condition following the poor weather the day before. Great preparation for when the snows arrive in Scotland in November (hopefully!).

More photos on the facebook page.

Great rock on the Aiguille de la Cabanne.

Great rock on the Aiguille de la Cabanne.

High Tops with John

John and I have had a successful week in the Alps visiting two different areas.

On Sunday we walked to the Hotel Fluhalp to overnight before climbing the Rimpfischhorn (4199m) the next day. The route was quiet and in good condition. On the facebook I have added the www.camptocamp.org topo which is useful for those doing the peak.

We walked to the Dom Hutte on Tuesday. The next morning we climbed the brilliant Festigrat to the summit of the Dom (4545m) before descending the Voie Normale. The Festigrat was in reasonably good condition. There are some sections of ice and we pitched the steeper ice section as mentioned in the guidebook. The Voie Normale was in good condition. However, the track is too close to the seracs so I put in my own line.

Yesterday we traversed the Petite Aiguille Verte (3512m) above Chamonix. The rimaye is currently climbable at a number of locations.

Lots more photos on the climbnow facebook page.

The Weisshorn from the Dom.

The Weisshorn from the Dom.

John on the summit of the Dom.

John on the summit of the Dom.

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.

Breithorn

Today Chris, Colin and I climbed the Breithorn (4164m) above Zermatt. The conditions in the Alps at the moment are currently very cold so if climbing 4000 metre peaks it is essential to wrap up warm.

Chris and Paul near the summit with the Matterhorn behind.

Chris and Paul near the summit with the Matterhorn behind.

Cima del Breuil and the Furgg Gletscher

We had a great day today above Zermatt climbing the Cima del Breuil and off piste skiing on the Furgg Gletscher and the Oberer Theodugletscher. Last night it snowed meaning today we had even more powder and fresh tracks to ski.

Colin and Chris on the summit of the Cima del Breuil.

Colin and Chris on the summit of the Cima del Breuil.

Zermatt

Currently I am out in Zermatt with Chris, Paul and Colin. Today we spent the day in the region of the Klein Matterhorn off piste skiing. As it is near the end of the season and it snowed all weekend, we had fresh tracks all day off piste.

Chris off piste in Zermatt.

Chris off piste in Zermatt.

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.

 

Alpine Summer Report 2013

A team on the ascent of Roche Faurio with the Barre des Ecrins beyond.

A team on the ascent of Roche Faurio with the Barre des Ecrins beyond.

It has been an excellent summer in the Alps. In many areas this past winter and spring ten metres of snow fell. This has led to some fantastic conditions on the glaciers and the ridges of many regions.

It has been a busy summer for the ClimbNow team. Paul has been busy throughout North Wales teaching rock climbing and summer mountaineering skills. Martin has been doing similar work in many parts of Scotland and has spent some time climbing with me in the Alps. I have spent the summer guiding throughout the Alps during the months of June, July, August and September.

Tina and Scott on the summit ridge of Les Agneaux in Les Ecrins.

Tina and Scott on the summit ridge of Les Agneaux in Les Ecrins.

My summer began with a holiday in Les Aravis and the Chaine du Bargy with Rosie. From here, I drove to Les Ecrins and spent two brilliant weeks climbing in the best conditions I have seen in the massif for many years. Routes such as the Voie Originale on the Pic Coolidge were in good condition. Normally this route would be unsafe by late June.

Steve, Duncan and Steve climbing Pic Coolidge.

Steve, Duncan and Tim climbing Pic Coolidge.

After Les Ecrins, I had three weeks climbing in the Mont Blanc Massif, around Saas Fee and in the Val d’Herens. I had the opportunity to climb many interesting and beautiful mountains such as Alphubel, Mont Blanc and the Lagginhorn.

A team descending from the summit of Mont Blanc.

A team descending from the summit of Mont Blanc.

At this point in the season, I often find it useful to have a few days off. This year I returned to the UK for a few days and to attend a wedding before returning to the the peaks around Saas Grund and the three areas mentioned above.

Sunrise on the ascent of Weissmies from the Almageller Hut.

Sunrise on the ascent of Weissmies from the Almageller Hut.

Highlights from this period include; the South Ridge of the Lagginhorn, the traverse of Pigne d’Arolla and Mont Blanc de Cheilon, the traverse of Weissmies and Allalinhorn’s Holaubgrat.

John, Harvey and Andy on the summit of the Lagginhorn having completed the South Ridge of the Lagginhorn.

John, Harvey and Andy on the summit of the Lagginhorn having completed the South Ridge of the Lagginhorn.

The season continued with many fine summits in the Mont Blanc Massif and Gran Paradiso National Park before I returned to Les Ecrins for two more brilliant weeks of rock climbing and peak bagging.

Pam on the summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

Pam on the summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

The final week of my season was spent in the mountains above Saas Fee and Zermatt. Conditions were challenging but as always the mountains and the team I climbed with provided some amazing memories.

This season I have spent fifty seven days climbing and mountaineering, twenty four nights in sixteen different huts, have climbed thirty four alpine summits and eleven multi pitch climbs as well as many single pitch climbs and completed five Ecole de Glace sessions.

I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has joined me on the many adventures this summer has provided and made it such a memorable season.

Outside the Refuge de Soreiller with Martin and Ivor.

Outside the Refuge de Soreiller with Martin and Ivor.