Great end of season conditions in the Bernese Oberland. The settled conditions have persisted for most of the summer. We traversed the Monch after catching the first train up from Grindelwald and descended to the Monchjoch Hutte on a windless clear and warm day. The Gross Fiescherhorn looked a little too far away for some weary limbs the next day so a detailed crevasse rescue revision session boosted confidence for the team on future unguided acclimatisation trips. The giant Jungfrau started from the hut at 0500 and the frozen glacier was a pleasure to cross before torches went off on reaching the lowest rocks. Steady progress was made up the steep snow ice and rock slope towards the summit and the snow just started to turn to make the descent an equal pleasure. Excitement was kept up all the way to the top train station with a free hanging abseil over a bergschrund and some huge crevasses that needed crossed. An excellent few days with West Coast’s longest serving clients, the Doctors of Wind, well done guys.
West Coast Mountain Guides Conditions Blog
Great weather continues in Chamonix valley. Still cold and settled up high. The Grand Jorasses has fresh snow higher on all its ridges, but the snow/ice routes looked in great condition today. Traverse of the Drus is reported to be in great condition to. Introductory day on the Mer de Glace to crampons, movement on glaciers and preparation for the Gran Paradiso in the days to come for the Australians on tour this week.
The forecast deterioration in the weather did not bring to an end the amazing conditions of late up on the high Alpine peaks. Only a few centimetres of snow and the cold temperatures holding on mean that between the late afternoon thunderstorms conditions are ideal, early starts reaping dividends, as ever.
We were bouldering and running above Les Bossons today, a quiet location with 20 boulders snaking their way up the hillside and running trails going higher before the reward of an, as ever excellent lunch and cold drinks at Chalet Cerro under the Bossons Glacier.
Another team had success over the 3 Monts route to the summit of Mont Blanc today from the first lift to the midi. It looks like this coming week will be a similar pattern as the last few days in the Chamonix valley.
Gran Paridiso next for us.
After 5 nights in huts above 3000m the team had a welcome recovery night in the Monte Rosa Hut, before the leisurely walk out to the train at Rotenboden, via the ever moving dry glacier beneath the hut and the gentle traverse path to the station observing marmottes and wild Alpine flowers.
The forecast in Chamonix was going to deteriorate from Wednesday afternoon so the chances of reaching Mont Blanc summit were at their best on Tuesday. The clients were well acclimatised after their week and so we est to task from the first lift from Aiguille du Midi. The track over Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit and onto the summit of Mont Blanc were in perfect condition and we all made the summit before the descent to the Gouter hut, where it snowed overnight. The summit of Mont Blanc was windless and clear in all directions, a real pleasure to be there and the decision to go for it straight from Zermatt justified.
The descent to the train from the Gouter hut after breakfast this morning allowed a quiet crossing of the Grand Couloir and an amazing sense of achievement for both clients and guides on a 9 day trip summiting over a dozen 4000m peaks including the highest 2 in the Alps. Poorer weather forecast for the next few days, but staying cold high up so conditions should soon get back to those we have had until this afternoon.
First away from the Margherita hut this morning and swiftly over the Zumsteinspitze to an exposed and technical descent leading to the south east ridge of the Dufourspitze. Solid rock, sun, light winds and no one infront meant a fantastic abd enjoyable journey to the summit. After a long week we chose the fixed ropes to the col with Nordend for our descent before the long glacier trek to the Monte Rosa hut and beer and rosti.
Great achievement by all the clients, now transformed into Alpine Mountaineers and opening up a world of future possibilities in this context.
Conditions have been excellent and early starts and early finishes have led to quick and safe snow travel. The abundance of this winter’s excessive snowfall is still evident.
Stunning weather continues around probably the best continually High Level Traverse in the Alps, the Italian High Level Route. We are in our 5th hut out of 6 this week and the highest in the Alps at 4554m and opened amazingly in 1894.
Peaks visited so far have been the Breithorn, Castor, Punta di Naso, Pyramid Vincent, Corna Nero, Ludwigshohe, Parrotspitze and Signalkuppe. This has been allowed by some sustained cold clear nights giving firm morning snow, light winds and sunny days combined with some well prepared and determined clients. All being well, Dufourspitze tomorrow, second highest peak in the Alps. We will be aiming for the highest later this week.
Beautiful still day on the Breithorn today and set to continue to allow us to take in as many of the peaks in the photo as legs and heads will allow on our trip this week around the Swiss Italian border on our Italian High Level Route. A freeze over night and first lift shared with the Swiss ski team put us on our way to a quiet summit before the traverse to the excellent hospitality of the Ayas hut and superb coffee.
The wind has swung northerly again and whilst it has been dry and warm for a few weeks, its now got a bit chilly again. The main areas of snow have all gone and running friend Finlay has taken the ridge record to a new low with more to come getting close to the 3 hour mark should be possible. Next week looks settled again for a few days worth of High pressure arriving. The Alps is still unsettled too and many friends there are still skiing great snow up high.
A classic rock week out enjoying Ardverikie Wall today before a visit to Rannoch Wall tomorrow to round off some of the areas best multi-pitch adventures at the easier end of the grading scale. Always quieter than their classic equivalents in N Wales!