Friday, July 30, 2010

Bernese Oberland..

Last Sunday I started a week of work for Sheffield based Jagged Globe in the Switzerland's Bernese Oberland. Along side Mountain Guides Paul Farmer, Andy Perkins and Greg Sauget.

Together we spent the week traversing some of the biggest glaciers in Europe climbing a number of peaks along the way, also experiencing some challenging weather.

Starting in Grindelwald under the shadow of the North Face of the Eiger, we got the train to Jungfraujoch and descended to the well positioned Konkordia Hut.

An ascent of the Grunegghorn (3860m) followed before crossing the Grunhornlucke pass to the Finsteraarhorn Hut. Changeable weather resulted in an ascent of Wyssnollen (3590m) under some fresh snow - Mike is pictured on the summit.

The forth day of the trip felt quite committing, with a long day on the well crevassed Emigschneefald glacier in order to reach the Mochsjoch Hut. Here we were pinned down by bad weather with 35cm of fresh snow preventing our planned ascents of the Monch and the Jungfrau. Despite this we still managed to climb some good peaks and experience some unique glacier terrain..

Friday, July 23, 2010

Grand Cornier and The Taschhorn..

I have spent the last six days in Switzerland with Fergus, David and Steve working along side British Mountain Guide Jonathan Preston.

With good weather at the start of the week we didn't waste any time and headed up to the Grand Cornier (3961m), climbing the classic South West Ridge (pictured). This fine narrow ridge is a great expedition often overlooked due to it's proximity to the Dent Blanche, combined with the fact that it falls under the magic 4000m contour.

Following this we made the lengthy approach to the Mischabeljoch Bivouac Hut from Taschalp, before attempting the Taschhorn (4490m). Sadly, strong winds and an incoming storm resulted in retreat despite making good progress low on the route. Despite the lack of summit product we enjoyed a great mountain journey into a remote corner of the Valais..

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dent du Requin East Face..

The warm weather has continued to dominate the conditions in Chamonix this week and rock routes are probably the way forward at the moment.

With this in mind Mike Pescod (Abacus), Peter, John and I decided to visit the East Face of the Dent du Requin (3422m) to climb the classic 'Voie Renaudie' 570m, D. This fantastic route climbs some high quality granite in it's upper section before reaching a table top sized summit over looking the Mer de Glace.

A relatively simple descent including some scrambling and abseils took us down to glacier, and the reward of an omelette in the Requin Hut..

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

La Nonne and the Aiguille du Grepon..

I have joined John, Peter and British Guide Mike Pescod (Abacus) for the last few days.

On Saturday we made the ascent to the Couvercle Hut before traversing La Nonne 3340m the following day. The traverse of the main ridge (pictured) gives an interesting itinerary which is in part negotiated "a cheval" at AD.

Following this we made our descent crossing the Mer de Glace, making the steep climb to the Envers Hut. The next day we climbed the 'Mer de Glace Face' of the Aiguille du Grepon (800m D). This great route has fallen out of fashion slightly due to the harder bolt protected lines easy accessible from the hut. For us this meant a classic route all to ourselves, with some good honest burly climbing up wide granite cracks...

Friday, July 09, 2010

Aiguille Crochues Traverse..

Liz, Sam, Jonny Baird and I made the traverse of the Crochues today, a good route on sound clean gneiss.

There is still a fair bit of snow in the Aiguille Rouge despite the high temperatures, an axe and/or crampons being useful equipment at the moment.

This was the culmination of a fairly full weak for Liz and Sam who summited the Gran Paradiso and Mont Blanc respectively..

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Vallee Blanche traverse..

Liz, Sarah, Jonny Baird and I traversed the Vallee Blanche today from the Aiguille du Midi to Pointe Helbronner.

This is a great glacial traverse through some fantastic scenery made even more popular by good quality coffee at the Torino Hut and an easy return in the gondala.

Conditions up high are very warm at the moment resulting in bad conditions on any route that involves steep snow. With the snow stripping back, rockfall will also be a problem in some areas. With that in mind choosing good quality rock routes is probably the way to go at the moment...

Friday, July 02, 2010

Visit to Haglofs UK...

I traveled to the Lakes today to visit the team at Haglofs UK, along with other sponsored 'Friends' Berwyn Evans, Kim George and Chris Near.

We spent the day with Paul Vousden and Neil Bradley looking at the new range of clothing and equipment for Spring 2011, as well as providing some feedback on the products we are using already (Lizard Top pictured).

It's always interesting to be involved in this process, and great to see the thinking behind such an innovative brand. I'm already looking forward to 2011 and testing out some great looking products. Look out for the shell layer 'Zenith Jacket' which features the sum total of zero stitching. A worthy competitor to the Patagonia Stretch Element Jacket.