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.

Great Mountaineering with Andrew, Nigel and Frost Guiding

Andrew, Nigel and I have just had a great weeks mountaineering with www.frostguiding.co.uk. We completed the following routes, days and summits;

  • Traverse of the Aiguille d’Entreves (3600m).
  • Aiguille Marbres (3535m).
  • Traverse of Le Petit Flambeau (3440m).
  • Traverse of Aiguille Crochues (2840m).
  • Rock climbing at Bramois.
  • Traverse of Breithorn East (4139m) and West (4165m) from Col 4022m.
  • Pollux (4092m).

There are many more photos on the facebook page.

The snowy section of the Breithorn traverse.

The snowy section of the Breithorn traverse.

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.

 

Zermatt and Saas Fee

For the last five days I have been guiding for Northern Mountain Sport in the Zermatt and Saas Fee valleys where the weather and mountain conditions have been challenging.

Andy and Rob scrambling on Pollu(4092m) in less than perfect weather.

Andy and Rob scrambling on Pollux(4092m) in less than perfect weather.

 

Andy, Rob and I met on Saturday with a variable mountain forecast. We immediately used the Klein Matterhorn lift to gain height before using map, compass and GPS to locate the South West Ridge of Pollux (4092m). We climbed this in deteriorating weather before more map work safely deposited us in the Refuge Guide Val d’Ayas.

The weather the next morning was even worse than the day before with fresh snow covering all tracks. Mountain Guide Bruno from Fiesch did a great job in putiing a new track over the Grande Glacier di Verra which all teams used to return to the Klein Matterhorn station and Zermatt.

The forecast for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday was variable. We headed to the Britannia Hutte above Saas Fee via the Plattjen lift. After some lunch we had a great afternoon on the Holaub Gletscher looking at crevasse rescue, the construction of ice anchors and ice climbing skills.

Andy waiting to be rescued from a deep crevasse.

Andy waiting to be rescued from a deep crevasse.

Yesterday, we climbed to the Adlerpass (3789m) putting in a new track all the way across the Allalin Gletscher in deep snow. From here we attempted to climb the Strahlhorn but had to retreat in poor weather and dangerous snow conditions (lots of fresh snow covering deep crevasses on the ridge).

Rob and Andy on the Allalin Gletscher during a spell of good weather.

Rob and Andy on the Allalin Gletscher during a spell of good weather.

Today was the final day of our trip. We had a great day traversing from the Britannia Hutte over the Holaub and Allalin Gletscher’s (again utilising Scottish winter navigational skills) and the Schwarxbergchopf (2868m) before descending to Mattmark from where the excellent Post bus service returned us to Saas Fee. On the way we also spent time relooking at crevasse rescue and also practising prusiking skills.

 

It has been a tough but rewarding week to finish the season on. Tomorrow I return to Scotland to begin the Autumn season.