Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Back to normal...

~ Thursday 30th August 2012

The heatwave is over. Phew. Still, it was a surprise to find ourselves wearing everything on the way up Alphubel on Monday - it was cold!

We climbed the South Ridge finding icy conditions on the aptly named Eisnase. Great views and positions though, and an elegant way to the summit.

Signalkuppe, Nordend and Dufourspitze at dawn

The Eisnase

Summit cross

The summit cross has re-emerged. Compare this to July  

Yesterday on the Mont Blanc de Cheilon normal route was the same. Cold. Overnight clouds cleared to give good but windy weather. The route is dry, needing some careful cramponning on ice, and a huge hole has appeared on the slope below the summit ridge giving the worrying impression the the whole hanging glacier is accelerating downhill... We walked round it, a following team climbed into and through it. Worth remembering it's there - today's snow may well hide it! We descended via the glacier under Ruinette - still in great condition. 

The crevasse inspector checks out the new hole



~ Tuesday 21st August 2012

 It's been hot. Very hot. Despite that the clear nights have been giving good freezes and excellent snow conditions. Our Pigne d'Arolla traverse this morning went well, great views and very quiet. 

Elsewhere the heat has been releasing some huge rockfalls; Yesterday next to the Tsalion, and today on the Mont Blanc de Cheilon.

Cheilon, Zinal Rothorn and more...

~ Saturday 18th August 2012

It's been another busy week with mostly excellent weather - just a few clouds on Thursday giving a slightly Cairngorm feel to the Blanc de Moming traverse.

We started on Sunday at  Bréona with a traverse over the Couronne and Clocher. With the perfect weather this was unusually busy - with 1 other team going the opposite direction! Over to the Dix hut on Monday for a Mont Blanc de Cheilon traverse on Tuesday. Again this was busy (it's peak season after all) and we met another team on the summit.

Tired legs were coaxed into the long walk-in to the Grand Mountet hut on Wednesday, fingers crossed for the weather. An early start under a starry sky quickly turned to cloud then rain on the Blanc de Moming, ruining the amazing view from the summit.

Arete du Blanc from Rothorn

A clear night and a good freeze left great conditions on Friday for the Zinal Rothorn north ridge. The sometimes terrifying Arete du Blanc is in easy snowy condition and the rest of the rock ridge is dry - perfect. The best guide for this is Martin Moran's excellent 4000m Peaks of the Alps. It's so accurate that the climbers on the back cover are still there!

See Moran 4000m peaks back cover!

Pigne d'Arolla

~ Friday 10th August 2012

Perfect weather today for a traverse of the Pigne d'Arolla. This is all in fairly dry condition now -  the climb from the Dix side starts on dry glacier then needs some big steps over open crevasses, but the Serpentine has a good track. 

Well dressed dog at the col de Riedmatten

Mur de la Serpentine


Descending the Vignettes side is good snow at first but then has the usual late season dry section. The Glacier de Pieces below the hut is very dry, needing some careful cramponing and a fair bit of zig-zagging around crevasses. 

Monch, Jungfrau, Dent Blanche

~ Saturday 4th August 2012

It's been a busy week! A trip over to the Oberland to climb the Eiger was frustrated by cold and strong winds but we still managed to climb the Monch,  and then the Jungfrau on Swiss National Day (It's worth remembering that the Swiss Half Price travel card works on the Jungfrau railway)

Back in the Valais we made the long haul up to the Dent Blanche hut, hoping the weather would be kind to us for the last peak of a busy 2 weeks. Happily cloud, rain and impressive thunder cleared away overnight to give a cold but clear day for the Dent Blanche summit. 

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