July 28, 2014

Climbing The Arete de Cosmiques and the Monch

Neil and Stefan finishing the Arete de Cosmiques with the Tacul, Mt. Maudit, Mt. Blanc and the Dome de Gouter in the background.

During the past two weeks, I was fortunate to climb with two clients who I met on Ama Dablam in 2007 and Mt. Elbrus in 2012. The trip was operated by Adventure Consultants, and despite some rough weather and snowy conditions, we managed some classic ascents. The initial plan for the trip was to climb the Eiger South Ridge and the Matterhorn, but the wet July weather kiboshed those lofty goals. So we turned our attention to smaller peaks where snow coverage would improve travel conditions. Often times, people get really down when the weather doesn't allow for certain objectives, but Neil and James kept cool and finished the trip with a speedy ascent of Italy's highest peak (entirely within the borders of the country) - The Gran Paradiso.

Evening light at the Cosmiques Hut.

Mt. Blanc de Tacul.

The Eiger Nordwand from the Kleine Scheidegg train station.

Trying to find our way out of the maze otherwise known as the Jungfraujoch.

Swiss Mystique.

Neil, Stefan and James marching to the Monch Hut with the Jungfrau in the distance.

Evening view from the front door of the Monch Hut. 

Morning light on the nearby peaks.

Stefan and James on the Monch with the Aletschhorn in the background.

Neil working up the summit ridge of the Monch.

The base jumping mecca of Lauterbrunnen.


July 16, 2014

Climbing the Gran Paradiso and other Chamonix "Classiques"

Dylan Taylor on the Passy Via Ferratta down valley from Chamonix. This was the rainiest day I have worked in since I can remember! And it lasted about 10 days. Tons of snow fell up high and the big peaks were practically inaccessible for about 10 days. In the Mt. Blanc massif alone, I heard various reports that up to 6 climbers went missing during this period.

Return to summer on Mani Pulite in the Aiguille Rouge. This is Neil J who I climbed with on Ama Dablam in 2007 and Mt. Elbrus in 2012. This year, he showed up in Chamonix for some warm up climbs before heading to the Eiger and Matterhorn. In the background you can see the Aiuille Verte, The Dru, The Mer de Glace, the Grande Jorasses, etc.

The Polartec boys heading down from the Aiguille de Midi the morning before the weather got bad!

Danica and Mike on the summit ridge of the Gran Paradiso.

Neil on the fine gneiss of Mani Puliti.

Climbing in the Alps on a quiet day with 100 of your best friends.

July 05, 2014

Guiding Mt. Blanc and The Frisson Roche

The boys descending a snowy ridge below the Gouter Hut.

As usual, the weather and conditions in Chamonix have been a mixed bag. The season started off in fine form with an ascent of the Frisson Roche on the south side of the Brevent. It's always cool to do a route you've never done - even if there are 5 parties ahead of you and someone else is shelling you with rocks while putting up a new route on a busy weekend! After that, it was back to Mt. Blanc. We spent two nights on the mountain which was a much more civilized experience with the addition of the new Gouter Hut. 

The teams lining up to climb the Frisson Roche. The guy in front of us - a guide from Austria - spent many years working for CMH.

Terri on pitch 2 of the Frisson Roche.

Top of Pitch 3.

Topping out pitch 5.

The ice caves on the Mer de Glace. 

The boys at the top of the ladders leading down to the Mer de Glace from the Montenvers Train. Extreme laddering.

Descending Mt. Blanc in wintry conditions.

When snow turns to rain, it's time to break out the alpine umbrella.