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.

Jegihorn, Lagginhorn, Triftgletscher, Glacier de Moiry

 

Matt climbing the Sudgrat on the Jegihorn.

Matt climbing the Sudgrat on the Jegihorn.

For the past three days Matt and I have been in Switzerland. On Monday morning we drove from Saint Gervais to Saas Grund before using the Hosaas lift system to quickly gain height. This gave us access to the Sudgrat on the Jegihorn (3206m). The route is 350 metres long on excellent gneiss. We finished the route a couple of minutes before the hail arrived, perfect timing. Once in waterproofs we continued our day by ascending to the Hosaas Hut to overnight.

Sunset from the Hosaas Hut.

Sunset from the Hosaas Hut.

The next morning we climbed the normal route on the Lagginhorn (4010m). The route was in good condition with lots of firm snow. On the descent we pitched one rope length using an ice screw belay to safeguard the most steep and exposed traverse.

Matt on the summit of the Lagginhorn.

Matt on the summit of the Lagginhorn.

After a fast descent to the hut and a quick drink we continued our day by practising crevasse rescue on the Triftgletscher. Normally, at this time of year the glacier is fairly dry and the crevasses are obvious. However, due to the large amounts of snow this past winter the glacier is still very wet and great care is required when practising skills.

Following our descent to the valley we drove round to the Moiry Dam. Our aim for this morning was to traverse the Couronne de Breona but as the alarm went off at 4.40am we could still hear heavy rain. Following a long lie until 7am we walked up and onto the Glacier de Moiry. We then had a great day practising lots of essential skills; prusiking, prusiking past knots, hoist systems, ice climbing skills for steep ground and building ice climbing anchors. The glacier was dry making it a good venue for practising these skills.

Matt climbing ice on the Glacier de Moiry with the Couronne de Breona behind.

Matt climbing ice on the Glacier de Moiry with the Couronne de Breona behind.

 

 

Alphubel, Couronne de Breona

A team approaching the Alphubeljoch with the Rimpfischhorn behind

A team approaching the Alphubeljoch with the Rimpfischhorn behind

I have just had another excellent three days in the Swiss Alps. On Wednesday in the company of my Pigne d’Arolla team we overnighted at the Tasch Hut. We left the Hut at 4am on Thursday morning and made the ascent of the Alphubel (4206m) via the Alphubeljoch and the South East Ridge. The crux ice nose of the South East Ridge was in excellent condition. We used a combination of buried axe and ice screw belays. Following some photos we descended the Voie Normale. The track crosses a number of crevasses and therefore the route should be descended early in the day.

A team ascending the South East Ridge of the Alphubel.

A team ascending the South East Ridge of the Alphubel.

Today the team and I traversed the Couronne de Breona (3159m) above Les Hauderes. This is a good AD ridge traverse on mostly good rock. The route currently has some snow on it and it may be worth carrying axe and crampons.

Descnding from the Couronne de Breona.

Descnding from the Couronne de Breona (the skyline in the background).