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Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Brunegghorn and Bishorn

~ Saturday 28th August 2010

 After a good start to the week traversing the Pigne d'Arolla we drove round to the beautiful Turtman valley - just east of the Val d'Anniviers but much quieter and less developed.

View to the Bishorn

From the excellent Turtman hut we made the long trek to the Brunegghorn, which has a spectacular views the the surrounding 4000m peaks. 

Descent from Brunegghorn

The climb up to the Tracuit hut is on steep dry glacier - challenging cramponing to finish a long day!

Spot the team of 3

Friday morning started OK - we climbed the Bishorn but were caught in horrible weather on the descent - horizontal sleet and rain at 3800m! 

Bishorn summit

Snow in the Alps

~ Saturday 21st August 2010

The bad weather over last weekend has left a lot of snow in the Alps. We warmed up on the excellent via ferratas in Nax and Evolene, then headed south to the Grand Paradiso in search of better weather and proper coffee...

Nax via ferrata

After a night at the Vittorio Emmanuel hut we climbed Ciarforon - great snowy mixed climbing and a bit of "northern corries" feel!

Ciarforon

loneliness of the long distance trailbreaker

 After a second night in the Chabod hut we set off for the Grand Paradiso and just reached the top before the bad weather arrived. Luckily there was a good track all the way - thanks! Another team found good conditions on the North West face, but took 3 hours to reach the start!

After lots of snowy mountaineering we chose something rocky to finish the week - the brilliant west ridge of the Dent de Tsalion. Even at "only" 3500m this was still plastered with snow, meaning some tricky climbing and a time consuming descent down the ramp back to the Tsa hut. 

Last year I had a rant about the new bolts on this route, placed by the local guides (not fat and old as I guessed at the time - sorry) There have been accidents on the exposed bits of grade IV climbing, and many people take a long time on this route, so it was decided to put bolts on the bold sections of this 110 year old climb. Here are 2 of them...both within 20cm of big holds and perfect runners. There is quite a lot of technical and delicate climbing on this route, so if you're not confident at grade IV in boots, perhaps take a pair of climbing shoes and a set of nuts just in case...

Arolla Rock

~ Saturday 14th August 2010

 Earlier in the week before the Triftjigrat we warmed up and acclimatised on some excellent Arolla rock routes. The traverse of the Couronne and Clocher de Bréona, and the Voie de la Cabane above the Tsa hut. Great climbing on both, and no-one else on the routes. For Bréona we drove up the track - 4x4 useful, and have a word with the farmer about parking! For the Tsa routes we walked up from the valley in the morning. It's only 1.5 hours to the hut, then 40 mins to the route, but the Tsa hut is a nice place to stay and it would be worth going up for a night and doing 2 routes. 

Nearing the top of the Clocher

High on the Voie de la Cabane

Breithorn Triftji Grat

~ Saturday 14th August 2010

With the recent cold(er) weather we thought we'd find good conditions on this big mixed face - and we did. A little icy low down, but above the Triftji plateau we found good nevé and excellent climbing. We stayed at the Gandegg hut, an evening enlivened by a very drunk guardian...

 

level with the Triftji sattel

Triftji plateau

Bergschrund on Triftji plateau

 

Italian High Level Route

~ Thursday 5th August 2010

 Here are some pictures from the Italian High level Route. It really is high level, 9 tops over 4000m, not dropping below 3400m in 5 days, and with the last night in the excellent Margerita hut at a head-aching 4554m...

We had some pretty mixed weather but overall conditions were good, and luckily the weather held out - just - for our descent of the Grenz glacier...

There are lots more photos here

The Breithorn summit ridge.

Climbers on the Breithorn ridge

Descending Castor to Quintino Sella hutDescending from Castor

Steep climb up to Passo del NasoSteep ground on Passo del Naso

Ridge on Ludwigshohe, Dent Blanche in the distanceParrotspitze

Looking back to Parrotspitz

Looking at Parrotspitze with climbers on the ridge

Descending the Grenz glacier in deteriorating weatherGrenz glacier

Negociating holes on the Grenz glacierGrenz glacier

The new Monte Rosa hut!The new Monte Rosa hut

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