Its a long drive home from the Alps, especially as there’s lots of time to reflect on what we did or didnt get done. Our recent Alpine hit wasa mix of weather and difficult decision making but all in all I enjoyed this recent adventure in the company of good friends.

Getting started on some easy peaks to ensure good acclimatisation Ken, Hannah and I went to Arolla. We were aiming for SW Ridge of L’Eveque, Pigne de Arolla & Mont Blanc de Cheilon which can all be linked by a multi day traverse. After staying the night in the Bouquetin Bivi Hut, which is excellent by the way, we were met by very Scottish damp and murky conditions more akin to Scotland than the Swiss Alps! Bypassing L’Eveque we wandered over a snowy lump at 3500m for some height before descending toward the Vignette Hut for the night. The following day we traversed over the snow dome of Pigne de Arolla and onto the entertaining Mont Blanc de Cheilon traverse which is a great value for the grade. The weather in and around Arolla looked mixed so we set off for Chamonix and onto a classic rock route high in the Aiguilles Rouges.

Starting out .....

Starting out …..

Photo: Hannah Evans

Photo: Hannah Evans

Photo: Hannah Evans

Photo: Hannah Evans

Mountaineering

Photo: Ken Applegate

Mountaineering

On Route to the Bouquetin Hut

On Route to the Bouquetin Hut

Settling in for the night!

Settling in for the night!

Photo: Hannah Evans

Photo: Hannah Evans

Photo: Hannah Evans

Photo: Hannah Evans

Sitting out typical Scottish ming under a boulder.....

Sitting out typical Scottish ming under a boulder…..

Moody skies over L'Eveque

Moody skies over L’Eveque

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Ontop of a snowy hill at 3500m

Ontop of a snowy hill at 3500m

Photo: Hannah Evans

Photo: Hannah Evans

Great views atop Pinge de Arolla

Great views atop Pinge de Arolla

Ken on the summit of Pinge de Arolla

Ken on the summit of Pinge de Arolla

Mont Blanc de Chailon

Mont Blanc de Chailon

Nice climbing on Mont Blanc de Chailon East Ridge

Nice climbing on Mont Blanc de Chailon East Ridge

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Mountaineering

Photo: Ken Applegate

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The team on the summit of MBdC

The team on the summit of MBdC

No trip is complete without a few van 'issues!'

No trip is complete without a few van ‘issues!’

Climbing in the Aiguille Rouges

Climbing in the Aiguille Rouges

Photo: Hannah Evans

Photo: Hannah Evans

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Following this acclimatisation trip, Hannah went climbing with Dave and Harry. Ken and I had our own plans, all we needed was the weather; and that was the problem. It was neither good nor bad for a period of about a week with sporadic lightening storms mixed in with some unreliable weather forecasting. We spent some time walking in and abandoning plans or cragging at nearby multipitch venues. Which was fun but not really what we had hoped for. Time ticked by so we reacclimatised on The Grand Cornier which quite shockingly was guarded by some very steep black glacier ice that warranted more than our toffee axes offered. Staying up high Ken and I traversed over the Bouquetin, Pigne de Le and onto the Aiguille de Le which was an excellent consolation prize taking in high level exposed ridge scrambling above the Lac de Moiry.

The Bishorn at sunrise. We were heading for its less travelled East Ridge before I seen a lightening bolt in the opposite direction...

The Bishorn at sunrise. We were heading for its less travelled East Ridge before I seen a lightening bolt in the opposite direction…

Climbing on the Chesrys Slabs

Climbing on the Chesrys Slabs

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Photo: Ken Applegate

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Ken overlooking the Weisshorn & Zinalrothorn

Ken overlooking the Weisshorn & Zinalrothorn

Fun on the Aiguille de La

Fun on the Aiguille de La

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Photo: Ken Applegate

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Plans changed daily and in the end we settled for a traverse of the Zinalrothorn via the Rothorngrat and down the North Ridge. This was brilliant fun with a heavily crevassed glacier to negotiate before dawn which Ken took the lead and cruised through. Followed by a nice snow couloir leading to a long rocky ridge: The Rothrongrat. The climbing itself isnt hard but it just keeps coming. It was great fun making sure we were slick, staying well ahead of other parties. The descent of the classic North Ridge was just as fun and luckily our timing meant meeting just one bottle neck which we managed to squeeze through.

Spot the climbers at dawn....

Spot the climbers at dawn….

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Ken on the excellent Rothorngrat with the Dent Blanche in the background

Ken on the excellent Rothorngrat with the Dent Blanche in the background

Approaching the final steep Gandarme

Approaching the final steep Gandarme

Enjoying the exposed climbing

Enjoying the exposed climbing

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Photo: Ken Applegate

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Photo: Ken Applegate

Summit of the Zinalrothornwith the Matterhorn framed behind

Summit of the Zinalrothorn with the Matterhorn framed behind

Great views of the Matterhorn and the Dent Blanche

Great views of the Matterhorn and the Dent Blanche

Descending the superb North Ridge

Descending the superb North Ridge Photo: Ken Applegate

One Response to “Alpine Hit”

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