Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Another week of plan B's

Well the perfect weather did finally come to an end. The first plan was to climb the Aiguille Verte but conditions had changed and it was no longer freezing sufficiently hard at night. So Charles Sherwood and I decided to see if we would have better luck further east so we headed for the Rimpfischhorn between Zermatt and Sass Fee. We made the short traverse to the Hut in some pretty mean weather.

The next morning we awoke at 4.00am to thick cloud so went back to bed. At 8 o'clock the weather had cleared and it looked good- so we set off. Yet 3 hours later at the Allalinpass we were engulfed in thick mist,plus it was blowing hard and snowing. So our consolation was to ski fresh tracks back to the Hut.

The forecast was not looking good for climbing big mountains so we changed to something we could do - We went rock climbing and climbed the very long Eperon du Dard at La Dyure close to Champex

It was looking as we would be able to get high the next day because there was a window in the weather. We duely turned up at the Aiguille du Midi cable car with the intention of doing the Midi - Plan traverse.

Now everything was going to plan until we tried to buy a ticket. "Its not open yet because there is ice on the cable" They said.

Well you would imagine that ice might appear on the cable of one of the highest cable cars in the world and after 50 years they might have figured out how to clear it quickly. But the problem was that due to economies the Compagnie du Mt Blanc had laid off the staff who might clear the ice off the cable. So their solution was to just let it melt off. We quickly figured out we would not have enough time to climb our route so we gave up and were left swearing at the incompetence of the people who run the 3rd biggest tourist attraction in the world. [Pyramids and Niagara Falls]

Our final day we decided to try and makeup for the previous days debacle by climbing the East face of the Aiguille de Praz Torrent which is a very good mountain rock climb protected by traditional gear and pitons. This proved to be a very good climb and I would recommend it to anyone who wants solitude and is up for a long steep approach.