Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Climate Change in the Alps

~ Monday 30th September 2019

People often ask if I've seen changes in the glaciers in the Alps over the years - the answer is a definite "Yes!" - but here are a few pictures that make it very clear. The old photos are from 1985: Suzuki released the GSXR750, Madonna got Into The Groove and my Dad was younger than I am now. We spent a family holiday in Arolla and saw glaciers for the first time. My children are only a little younger now than I was then so this is very much the change in 1 generation. I wonder what I'd think if I came here as a 14 year old today?

Compare these 2 of Mont Collon and the Bas Glacier d'Arolla. You can see the track leading up to the little bridge in both. You walk up here on the way to Bertol or Col Collon.

And here's a photo taken today from just above the bridge.

Pizzo Badile Cassin Route

~ Tuesday 3rd September 2019

The Cassin Route on the North-East face of the Pizzo Badile is one of the 6 routes on the Rébuffat list of Alpine classics. A bold line up the middle of an impressive granite wall visible from the valley, the quality of the climbing is matched by epic stories from early ascents. The first ascent saw 2 teams joining forces in a storm and battling atrocious conditions which claimed the lives of 2 of them. Herman Buhl made the first solo having cycled from Austria! The crux pitches are graded 6a, so it's worth remembering that Buhl was soloing British HVS in 1957 - no wonder he was so tired he fell off his bike on the return journey.

Today the approach dries out by mid summer so you can reach the route in trainers. Bolt belays have been added too...but early on the route makes a 5c+ traverse which would be very hard to reverse, and the harder climbing is high up on the route. It's the stand-out sandbag route in the "Plaisir" guidebook, and not to be underestimated!

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