Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Its called the "Weisshorn" for a Reason

Our goal for the end of our week together was to be the East Ridge of the Weisshorn. This was to be David Brooksbank's third attempt on the mountain with me. The previous two never even got anywhere near it. In fact last year we headed to the Dolomites due to bad weather. This year was to be different we had a good forecast, and the main pressure was securing a booking in the Weisshorn Hut. With the booking made , we started our climbing and acclimatization by heading around to the Moiry Hut. This is as near a perfect place to both acclimatize and climb some straight forward peaks with out becoming exhausted. We climbed the Pigne de Lé.3396m. David then "agreed " to join me for a swim in the beautiful Moiry Lake and he didn't even complain about having to share it with a few ice bergs.
We then headed back to Chamonix where it rained . Yet we still went rock climb high above Le Brevent and climbed [or swam up] the aptly named Mickey Mouse.
It was then off to the Weisshorn Hut.
The guide book describes the hut walk as "hideous." While it is long and steep [about 4 hours] it is anything but hideous. In fact it climbs up through a beautiful larch forest on a very well built path. What was hideous was that it started to rain , then the higher we ascended it started to snow, yet our optimism was not dented too much because the forecast for the next day was still good. The problem was that it just continued to snow harder and harder. We arrived at the wonderful Weisshorn Hut to be greeted by the Guardian with a warm Grog and to discover we were the only guests... The alarm went off at 3.00am. The sky was clear . The Guardian thought it was worth having an attempt, the bottom line would be to know how much snow had fallen on the rocks on the ridge. so working on the principle "you don't know until you try" We set off to try. We tried for about two and a half hours and then admitted defeat. There was just too much fresh snow.
It was a good job we stopped where we did because retreat proved to be far from simple. The Weisshorn was now very "weiss". The day was now beautiful
We retraced our steps and after stopping for a chat with the Guardian and his wife we headed off back down the path to Randa only stopping to cool the feet off in a welcome trough.
Back in Chamonix and for our final day together we headed up La Flegere and climbed the brilliant Point Gaspard
I think this is one of the best climbs in the Aiguille Rouge giving sustained wonderful climbing and it finishes on a good summit
I was quite tired afterwards. David apparently not so . He took himself off to play 18 holes of Golf.

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