Friday, September 01, 2017

Completing The Iconic Swiss Trilogy: The Jungfrau 4158m

About eleven years ago Chris Dovell and I climbed the Eiger and the Monch but we failed to climb the Jungfrau due to high winds and bad weather and therefore the classic Bernese Trilogy. Chris then got distracted and went off to climb the "Seven Summits." So now having got this out of his system he returned with his wife, Lia ,to try the Jungfrau one more time. We left the Monchjoch Hut at about 4.00am and made our way down the glacier. This was all quite straight forward .Yet getting from the glacier and established on the buttress was far from straight forward. There was a steep 40 meter traverse on hard black ice. Lia was having issues with her crampons and we lost time. In addition the previous days weather had been extremely hot and we had not had a good solid freeze. Thus conditions were deteriorating and I could see that things were running away from us. At the col we elected to turn around for safety's sake. We decided that we would try again the next day. Lia was who was still recovering from a major knee injury felt she would leave Chris and I to try alone. We headed back to the Monchjoch Hut. The Hut could be an okay place apart from the fact that it is run by a man who is defiantly in the wrong job. The guardian is the most unwelcoming , unhelpful, mean spirited git I have had the misfortune to cross in a very long time. 3.30Am We choose to have an early a breakfast as we could so that we would have the maximum chance of it being cold. In addition the previous day we had sussed out the direct descent from the col. It is rarely feasible , but when conditions are good it cuts the time of the route by half. There were some big deep "tower block" swallowing crevasses to negotiate but we sped up the route taking of advantage of our earlier start and the better freeze. We arrived at yesterdays high point some two hours quicker . From here the route goes out onto a steep face which has metal posts in place to belay around. We motored up the final section. But contrived to arrive on the summit in thick mist at 9.00am. It was only on the way down that we got the view back.
We were back at the Jungfraujoch Station about 2 hours from leaving the summit.

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