Again this week I have been based out of Evolene with Martin Moran Mountaineering (www.moran-mountain.co.uk).
Following an Ecole de Glace session on the Glacier Ferpecle on Sunday, Mark, Monica and I had a hut trip from Monday to Tuesday.
On the way to the Cabane des DIx above Arolla on Monday we climbed the Pointe du Pas de Chevres (2991m) before returning to the Pas de Chevres and traversing the Col de Riedmatten. The ladders on the Pas de Chevres remain closed and the Col de Riedmatten is the only option.
The weather on Tuesday was very poor. In full Scottish winter conditions we did however manage to climb La Luette (3548m) before returning to the valley. We climbed the ridge route rather than the glacial route as this was a safer option in the conditions we had.
Monica joined another team for the rest of the week while Mark and I headed to the Saas Valley. On Wednesday we made the ascent to the Mischabel Hutte before climbing the Ulrischhorn (3925m) on Thursday morning during a break in the weather. The Ulrischhorn was in excellent condition. After returning to the valley we completed the approach to the Weissmieshutte to overnight.
Today we completed the Sudkante on the Jegihorn (3206m). Despite all the recent bad weather the rock was perfectly dry.
Another great week in the Alps completed. A short video on the climbnow facebook page shows the current conditions on the Lenspitze and the Nadelhorn.
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.
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.
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.
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.