Just spent a week climbing the peaks around and behind Monte Rosa with Chris Dovell and Lia Heisters. Our plan was to climb up to the Margherita Hut - the highest building in Europe at 4554 meters. It is best practice not to go straight there because if you do you are more or less guaranteed severe altitude sickness.
So we followed what is a tried and tested plan. The first day [with the significant help of the Punta Indren cable car] we walked up to the Mantova Hut 3400m
On the Tuesday it was blowing quite hard
So we put our heads down and headed to the top of the Balenhorn 4107m
before heading down to the Gniffetti Hut at 3625m. Thus following the acclimatisation mantra of "climb high sleep low."
I have started carrying an oximeter on these type of trips because it is a very good quick way of seeing how well people are acclimatissing . A normal reading at sea level would be between 97 and 100. Any reading of below 90 would get you admitted to A&E. You can see the need to be careful with your acclimatisation- The top reading is the pulse the bottom reading is the blood oxygen level on our fisrt night above 3500m
On Wednesday we headed up to the Margerherita Hut but not before knocking of the 10th highest mountain in the alps the Parrotspitze4432m
The position of the Margherita hut is really quite audacious
It may be the highest hut in the alps , but it also the most welcoming, has the best food, and it also has the fastest internet connection of anywhere I have ever been. This is provided free of charge via Turin University who do lots of research into high altitude medicine.
We had hoped to continue from the Margherita hut and climb the 2nd highest mountain in the alps the Dufourspitze 4634m, but there was not going to be possible because the route was plastered with snow and had not been made climb in a least 6 months.
So on the Thursday we contented ourselves with climbing the Zumsteinspitze 4563m, then the Ludroigshohe 4283m then the Coro Nero 4321m and finally Vincent Piramid 4215m. We then headed back down to the Gnifetti hut for the 2nd time where we were treated to excellent food and a very good evening.
We awoke on the Friday and enjoyed a leisurely stroll back to the lift Station , but not before dropping into the Mantova hut for a cappuccino.