Category Archives: Alpine Climbing

Autumn Thoughts

As the cold rain pitter patters outside my window, it’s snow at altitude, shutting down my current summer alpine dreams. My thoughts skim back over these past few days, weeks and into last year’s snows. It’s been a fun and relaxing summer with family, friends, and clients, new and old.

Fi and I mixed it up, climbing the Nadelhorn last week, then spending a wonderful day on the Jagihorn, cruising up delightful granit under a warm, blue sky.

Fiona near the summit of the Nadelhron

Fiona near the summit of the Nadelhorn

Hans Ahead

Yours truly nearing the summit of the Nadelhorn.

Fi climbing on the Jagihorn

Fi climbing high on the Jagihorn

I had some nice days with my two “kids” on local rock.

Anya climbing local rock

Anya climbing local rock

And a super week with Susan, preparing for the Matterhorn.

Susan Dennard on the top of the Matterhorn.

Susan Dennard on the top of the Matterhorn.

I’m preparing for another fun winter season, scheduling early winter avalanche courses and off-piste ski days. Contact me as soon as you know your winter schedule so we can share more fun adventures together. Maybe we’ll get another November start like last year’s!

Opening day Verbier- Winter 2015/16

Via Ferrata Loéche les Bains Gemmi-Daubenhorn

Have you ever done a Via Ferrata? Thanks to the Werlen bros. and many others, Switzerland has a huge one! I’ve climbed and ski toured many times in and around this valley and have always been impressed by this huge cliff towering above Leukerbad. It’s unimaginable that one would put a via ferrata up these 1000 meters of rough limestone. The amount of rock fall alone would make this project seemingly impossible. But the route is amazing. Calculate a solid 6 hours up and 2 hours down.

One starts by taking the lift from Loeche to the Gemmi pass. We got on the first ride up at 7:50 with the employees. A 30 minute walk down to the start of the via ferret got us going at 8:30. One starts with some horizontal hiking, high above Loeche. We flushed a couple of Ibex who knocked off some sizeable rocks, but below us. Then the fun begins with a few moves across a vertical wall, a couple of short ladders, then more hiking. It’s all a blur now, but passing through a natural tunnel in the wall, seriously gripped traversing a vertical section 100 long, seemingly 1000s of meters above the valley floor, (no photo taken here!), then onto the final ladder, too vertical on failing arms… Just a blur…

Intro to Alpinisme in September

Come join us for an Introduction to Alpinisme and take advantage of the perfect conditions this September. Summer has been cold and wet and the forecast for September is perfect. We will climb a fun peak, using crampons, roped together, on snow and rock. The first course, this weekend, September 6-7, is Sfr.490.00/person.

I have just finished an intro to alpinism in Zermatt and Saas, climbing some of the 4000 meter peaks in the valleys. Conditions are excellent now after many days of fine weather. Working with Jonathon of Alpine Ascents International proved to be very entertaining. Lots of enthusiasm was found all around as we romped from valley floor to mountain peak, moving from comfy hut to comfy hut, and even finding time for a Via Ferrata. Using the lifts scattered around these valleys helped our return to the valley floor, saving our knees for more fun days ahead.

Aiguille de Chardonnet

After a full month’s hiatus in Hawaii with my two kids, Anya and Kevin, Ton and I climbed the Aiguille de Chardonet in what seemed to be one of the finest days this summer. The weather has been mostly cold and wet, breaking many records for precipitation.

We left the Trient Hut at 3:00 AM under a half moon and crystal clear skies. There was not a breath of wind, making the sub-zero temperature feel mild. Walking across the Trient Plateu towards the Col Superior de Tour on a soft bed of 10cm of consolidated snow was magical. The lights twinkled in the valley below while the stars tried their best to illuminate our path with the moon. Passing through the shadow of the west facing col, we used headlamps again. I’ve never seen conditions so good for mid-summer. The 20cm of fresh snow was forgiving, offering good traction on the 30 degree slope. We still haven’t put on crampons!. Headlamps off again in the moonlight, we see 4 other parties ahead of us, having left from the Albert Première Hut. An hour later, we gain the “Boss” as the sun comes over the horizon. I feel the energy in me surge as this magical moment quickly passes. Gaining the ridge proper, the real technical climbing begins. Our pace slows with the harder moves on snow covered rock. With 4 parties ahead, we are forced to wait at each tough section. We gain the summit at high noon exactly, so happy to be outside and on top on this splendid day.

The descent involves short roping down sustained slopes, then 3 rappels of 30 meters to arrive onto the glacier. Zigzagging between crevasses and overhangs, the route finally “let’s up” on the flat Tour Glacier at 3100 meters. flat  Conditions were excellent for all the snowy parts but challenging on the rock sections.

Chardonnet -A short video clip of us going up onto the Boss. It may take a minute or two to load depending on your connection.