Success on the Salbit!

That’s Kenny and I back down in Andermatt after a couple of excellent days climbing up on the rocky mountain of the Salbit. This peak is not the biggest in the Alps being shy of 3000m but it is made for amazing Granite climbing. The ridges and faces are solid, the approach is steady having no glacier worries and the hut and bivi hut are ideal. Now with the new Indiana Jones style suspension bridge in place it’s easy getting from one side of the hill to the other (photo’s to follow).

We managed the West Ridge the first day, which as the guide book states is one of the finest ridge climbs in the Alps. Over a 1000m of ED1 up to 6a climbing, five towers of granite to climb and then abseil then the final summit tower. Each tower giving good climbing and sustained all the way to the end. I have tried this route before with Robin and Sheila but bailed from between the 4th and 5th tower due to running out of day light.

This time climbing as a team of two from first light we topped out after 11hrs of near non stop jamming, flake pulling, granite climbing. Ace!

Yesterday we had an easier day of it on the lesser travelled East Ridge. This ridge is defiantly over shadowed and less travelled by the West and brilliant South Ridge but still carries the hallmark of excellent Salbit solid Granite. The hardest pitches being 5a with some aid, really nice just to be moving fast on solid rock.

Plan now? Not to sure. Think we will head on round to either Saas Fee for some ridge action or round to Grindelwald for some big rock. Watch this space and you’ll find out!

No photo’s down loaded yet, I’ll try and get some on as soon as possible. I took quite a lot of film footage on the West Ridge, which I’ll put together soon.

Time to drive to a new venue, fingers crossed the weather stay as good as it is………….

Salbit from the walk in. From a couple of years ago.

 

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Retreat from the Croz

A fine view from our Bivi

After my last post we had a closer look at the weather forecast and decided the Chamonix mountains where a better place to be.

We had heard talk of the Grand Jorasses may be in prime condition but could find no info any where on any recent assents. It was time for us to go and have a wee look for ourselves. “A wee look” being six hours of glacial shuffling, crevasse jumping and general up hill struggling with a big bag.

As we got into the base of the Grand Jorasses all looked good with some fine white lines streaking down the face. We cut out a bivi spot directly under the route and settled down for a cold night with a 0330 wake up call.

Leaving the bivi at 0430 we attacked the direct start to the Croz Spur, 2hrs latter, we still had only just made it over the bergshrund. Bullet hard ice and a large helping of soft snow had us retreating before to long. It does look white and good up there but most of it is stuck on snow hiding some hard black ice.

Kenny and I have decide it is not N. Face action time just now and are looking more towards sunny mountain rock. We need to make the most of this stunning weather just now and hiding in cold, snowy, dark mountain faces is not what’s called for!

We are now well practiced in the art of Crevasse dodging and stream jumping!

Hiking into the Grand Jorasses

Kenny Grant below the Grand Jorasses (at this point it was looking all good)

Digging out the Bivi site.

Some of the bullet hard 'fun' ice!

Alpine Shuffling

What a drive!

26hrs of near non stop driving took us from a seriously wet Scotland to a blue sky and very sunny Switzerland. A few hours sleep in the van then it was straight up high to acclimatize. Two 4000m peaks (Alphubel & Allalinhorn) in an afternoon and a bivi at 3900m did the trick. We are now sat in SAAS Fee drinking a cool beer and planning our next mission.

Conditions look mega so we are heading up tomorrow to look at the Matterhorn, fingers crossed we will not be breathing to hard above 4000m and conditions are as good as they look?

Got to go as this is costing me a million Swiss Franks a minute. Will let you know how we get on…….

Here’s a shot of the Matterhorn from a ski tour in April.

Matterhorn

Alpine Bound

Well Folks,

This is it, just off the phone to Kenny G. and his van has been given the all clear by the garage. My bags are packed and I’m ready to go (I just know I’m going to forget something).

I’ve spent the last few days putting a new wooden floor down, sanding ceilings, weeding the garden and cutting the grass….. I now have the green light to be Alpine Bound.

Our plan is to tag team the drive down the U.K., I’m getting picked up in Dalwhinnie about 2000 and all being well, 12hrs later should see us on the Ferry to France. I wish I could say I’m looking forward to the drive…….

I received a couple of emails confirming rain out in the Alps just now, sounding like snow is down to 1500m around Chamonix. Good news is it’s still looking like a good forecast from Tuesday onwards. Rumor has it that some N. Faces are in excellent condition.  Good knowledge supplied by  Stu Macdonald, a Chamonix based Brittish Guide.

With all the traveling over the next few days I will probably  not get a chance to update my Blog but I’ll try my best.

Here’s some photo’s to keep you going:

Some well organised kit, ready for packing!

Bin Bivi! An enforced road side Bivi, hopefully none of these on this trip. Van power!

The mighty yellow van, winging past a village near you soon!

It will be worth the drive!

Some N. Face action