Saturday, 6 August 2011

Nice beard

Before heading to Cham we had a quick walk (2hrs) to the Almageller Alp Hotel (not the hut, that’s another 2 hrs away). We had passed this way before when climbing the Weissmies (4023m) by the South East Ridge and knew it was good for coffee. Just in time for the sun to come out... Typical.

All in a very good trip making the best of the mixed weather, climbing things we know and the VB traverse was, special.

Into the Mist

29/7/11 (am)
The weather never improved as forecast but we headed back up the hill with no real expectations of getting far on the Alphubel. Rock ridge to Feechopf (3888m) about turn and head to the valley for coffee and cake. This is a tricky traverse that needs clear conditions as the decent to the Langflue hut is very crevassed. Good reckie and another 3,000m summit done.

Going for a look...

A brief overnight stop at
Lake Maggiore until the rain caught up and had us heading to Sass Grund. Overnight at the Heino and late start to check out the Alphubel for the following day. As often is the case the uplift system takes you above the clouds and with mixed conditions we headed for the Alphubeljoch (3782m) to stretch our legs. Moving well and feeling comfortable in the misty conditions we headed for the normal route on the Allalinhorn (4027m), We had climbed this peak by its more technical and longer Hohlaubgrat route 3 years ago and used the normal route for descent. We had the summit to ourselves for 10 mins before an other party arrived in time to take some pics.

Allalinhorn (4027m)

Tour Ronde

I had climbed this North Face with Chris 4 years ago. Our descent by the normal route had always been a plan for us to do as it can be done from the first lift. Great day despite the weather closing in...
The North Face route is the face on the right

Is it a Cliff bar ?

The rain had deposited 1m of new snow on the Aiguille du Midi. Undeterred and with a weather window we headed to the Midi for the first lift. The exit from the ice cave and down the ArĂȘte du Midi was exciting as ever with seemingly the world at your feet.
Looking back up the ridge to Aiguille du Midi.

Nearing the bottom of the ridge nicknamed "the walk of death" 
The top of the Frendo Spur and Chamonix 3,600m below
This is the “walk of angels” and not the “walk of death” as its sometimes called. We stopped briefly above the Frendo Spur before swinging beneath the Pilastre SE and headed for the Col du Gros Rognon, passing beneath the North Face of Mont Blanc du Tacul to traverse La Vallee Blanche.
With no other parties and perfect conditions we had time to soak up the atmosphere as we headed for the Aiguilles du Diable, Petit and Grand Capucin, Mont Maudit and the Tour Ronde.
The new snow made the crevasse section tricky but we managed with care and plugged holes all the way to Le Flambeaux Pass and Pt Helbronner for Cappuccino before riding the bubble back to Cham. A day we will always remember.

Underneath Le Petit and Grand Capucin



We arrived in Chamonix to rain and reports of snow on the high ground. Undeterred we headed up the Col du Brevent and the long way round to the summit. This is a neglected mountain with loads of  possibilities for climbing and walking in fantastic surroundings.