Vadim was back again to climb in these Alps and we decided to base ourselves in Grindelwald. What an exceptional valley for climbers! From the magically silent cliffs of Hintisberg and the Engelhorner, to the ice palace at the Jungfraujoch, and the wild jaunt ascending to the Mittellegi Hut, this valley has everything for the ambitious mountaineer (and hill walker and tourist!). We were hoping to climb the Schreckhorn, Monch, and Eiger, but of course the weather determined our program.
We started with a few climbs in the surrounding valleys, then worked our way up to the heights. Cow bells echoing off the high walls surrounding Hintisberg sounded the way towards the Eiger. The changeable weather then chased us to the Mediterranean Sea and a couple more limestone cliffs.
Have a look at the photos and let me know when you are coming! Autumn air is creeping into the weather, and it looks like climbing possibilities shall be with us for a good number of weeks still.
We spent a few days smearing our way up a few of the famous Grimsel slabs. Located between Meiringen and the Grimsel Pass, this little valley of Haslital is well known for its plethora of technical, multipitch rock climbing. Though our technique was certainly improving after more than 30 pitches on these smooth slabs, my toes were killing me! This area is smack dab in the middle of other world class climbing areas such as Graue Wand and Winterstock above the Furka pass, the Salbit valley below Andermatt, and the Englhorner range above Meiringen.
These climbs are part of the multipitch rock climbing trips I organize. Have a look at some of the places we can visit together.
Andy and I climbed the Terrasse a Choucas above La Fouly yesterday. The heat has finally arrived in these Alps for the first time this “summer”, making this north facing, rock climbing route at 2000 meters, an ideal choice. Olivier and Andrea Roduit, Charlie Fellay and Jean-Yves Michelod put this route up a few years ago in the Val Ferret. The climbing is varied, with the more difficult moves on slab/friction. 10 rappels gets one quickly back down to the base and into La Fouly for cold beer.
The forecast calls for sunny days with afternoon thunder showers probable for the next 5 days. The high peaks are still in great shape for ski mountaineering, and as the snows from last week’s fall quickly melt, the pure rock routes will quickly come into shape.
Hot! It’s hot! And beautiful. What a fine spring it is in these Alps. The weather is gorgeous, the flowers are coming out, and the grass is a color green that one sees only in the Spring.
We drove an hour south into the Val d’Aoste last week, with the pretense of skiing on the vast quantities of spring snow there. Just an afternoon’s climb, followed by a trip to a fine Italian Hut. Ok, well, a second day for a multi-pitch climb since it is so warm. Day 3? We found ourselves driving two and a half hours, due south, to the Italian coast, to climb stunning limestone above the sea. It was slightly cooler than Verbier, 12C mornings with a high of 20. Perfect climbing temps for the cliffs above Finale. How nice this spring is.
In the Aosta Valley, just an hour’s drive from Verbier, we stayed at the B & B Maison de Noe. The architect and local guide, Andrea Duc has created and amazing oasis in the beautiful valley one returns from at the end of the multi-pitch climbs. It’s worth a stop just to have a look at the amazing restoration he has done with this little “hameau”.
Summer is over and I have not published a thing! Too much time to do too many things!
The weather is back to summer-time temps, reflecting again the in and out weather in the Alps this season. Most recently, we did a couple of real fine climbs on perfect granite. One, up the Val d’Arpette, which many of you know from winter ski season. The other on the Pointe Lachenal above the Chamonix valley.
Olivier Roduit’s route on the Six Carro in the Val d’Arpette is one of the nicest climbs anywhere! The rock is stunning, with all sorts of cool forms, from cracks to knobs. The Contamine Route on the Pointe Lachanel is another supreme route, offering the aspiring, clean, crack climber the opportunity to protect his lead with the sole use of rocks and friends.
The weather is just starting to resemble summer-time in Verbier. At 1500 meters above sea level, the cold temperatures and clouds tend to linger longer in Verbier in Spring… like two months longer! But the alpine rock is coming quickly into shape now. We climbed Eureka, one of the 5 pitch climbs on the north face of the Pierre Avoi. The moves on this fine, moderate, 6a route, are all real nice, and on a good quality of limestone. Bring a 55 meter rope for the 3rd pitch.Though the sun doesn’t get on it until afternoon, the forecasted 0 dgrees at 3800 made it warm enough by mid-day to stay warm. No photos this time…
The forecast calls for more warm weather with afternoon thunder showers for the next few days.
Swiss Meteo wrote that yesterday was the calm before the storm. So we headed over the ridge to Italy, Aosta, to climb a 13 pitch! rock route. What a gas it was to touch this fine granit so close to the road. We climbed “Mitico Vento”, 6b, 500m above the Val d’Aoste.
The forecast is for winter to move in fast. Sunday may see temperatures dip to -11 here in Verbier! Yikes! It is snowing lightly now in Verbier, with 30cm forecasted over the next 24 hours. Storm force winds from the NW will be blowing for the next few days. Looks like the ice may come into shape real soon.
I will be offering clinics for aspiring ice climbers during the next 3 weeks. Give me a call or email if you are interested in joing one of these groups.
The rock is hot during this fine Indian Summer. Funny how the weather was so unsettled preceding this Autumnal equinox. Although we have had a few dustings of snow in the high mountains. But pure rock routes at medium elevations are now revealing their intense allure.
A few photos of the rock climbing at this fine crag above the Rhone Valley, show the intense fall colors in these mountains.
Smack-dab in the middle of the best wine region
of Provence, this climber’s paradise gets the thumbs up!
We managed to get another climb in before winter