Chris Kulp • Alps Mountaineering • July & August 2002

Chris once again joined Mark for 3 weeks in the Alps. For better or for worse, his visit coincided with one of the worst spells of bad weather we have seen during the summer months. During one week in late July, the high mountains received well over a meter of new snow (that's almost 4 feet!). In spite of this, we managed to do some great climbs, ducking in and out of stormy areas and searching for sunshine when there was any to be had.

We started our trip with a fun alpine rock climb near the Petit Verte. The route, the SW buttress on Point Bayère, sports about 8 pitches of good rock, high above the Mer de Glace. Then we upped the ante a bit, and joined by friend and colleague Mike Powers, we climbed the East Face of the Petit Capucin — a fine route with a tricky approach and finish. Then another rock classic, the Miroir d'Argentine. The next few days we rather wet, but we did manage to find a hole in the clouds to dash into Italy and climb Diretta del Banano, a fun route on Machaby, a clean crag in the Aoste valley.

We headed then, for Zermatt in search of better weather. Our first climb there was the Half Traverse of the Breithorn, then on to the Rimpfischhorn, descending east to the Britannia Hut. The next day was up the Holaubgrat on the Allalinhorn, descending just in time to avoid the coming storm.

Back in Chamonix, drying out, we took advantage of the first good weather in a while, climbing a fantastic rock route on the red Pillar of the Blatiere, the Nabot Léon. For this we were again joined by Mike Powers. Then follows a day of steep sport climbing in Les Contamines. Still in rather poor weather Chris led Mike and Mark up a fun route on the right edge of the crag at Valorcine.

The weather finally cleared but the accumulated snow left all the high rock routes out of shape, So it was more snow and mixed routes for us. Back in Zermatt we started on the "Spaghetti Tour". We walked past the Breithorn, continued over Castor, then over the Traverse of the Liskamm, and continuing over Monte Rosa, and finally back to Zermatt, two days later.

All in all, it was a lot of climbing.

Other Recent Trips

The view of the Chamonix Aiguilles from Pointe de Bayère. Mont Blanc lies behind in the huge lenticular cloud.


Walking across the Vallée Blanche on the way to the Petit Capucin, the rightmost summit in this photo. The route we did closely followed the left skyline.


The Petit Capucin with the route marked. The Grand Capucin towers above. Behind is Mont Blanc.


Looking down the route. The tower behind is Pic Adolphe Rey.


This shot is from the telecabine crossing back from Point Helbronner to the Aiguille du Midi. Mont Blanc is the big peak behind. Adolphe Rey, the Petit and Grand Capucin can all be seen on the right.

Looking back from whence we came.


Chris, high on the Miroir d'Argentine — clean limestone slab climbing.


The Miroir, with the Direct route marked.


On the Breithorn Half Traverse. You can just see a bit of snow blowing off the corniced ridge behind.


Higher on the Half Traverse.


The last section of the Half Traverse climbs over this scenic, but easy, ridge of the Breithorn's East Summit.


On the summit of the Breithorn.


Dawn on the Matterhorn. This view is from our climb of the Rimpfischhorn.


The last several hundred meters of the Rimpfischhorn are wildly exposed, but not difficult. This is the view from the summit, toward the fore-summit. Behind is the broad Liskamm, and to its right, Castor and Pollux.


We descended to the Britannia hut for the night.


The next day we climbed over the Allalinhorn via the Holaubgrat. The route is the ridge coming towards us. The crux rock step can be seen near the top.


Chris, on the snowy rock at the top of the Holaubgrat.

Not a first ascent, this one. A brief pause on the summit of the Allalinhorn.


Back in Chamonix, Chris and Mike on the Nabot Léon on the Red Pillar of the Blatiere.


One one of the last pitches of the Nabot Léon.


Chris pulling on crimpers at Les Contamines, a sport area near Chamonix.

Chris on the sharp end at Valorcine.


The Traverse of the Liskamm. This is a fantastic route, very, very exposed. Good conditions area must!


Another view of the Liskamm.


Chris, starting the descent from the Liskamm.


After the Liskamm, we climbed up to the Margherita Hut for the night. Sunset from the Margherita hut.


The following day we climbed up and over Monte Rosa. Here we had perfect conditions and gorgeous weather!


On the climb up Monte Rosa.


And later in the day, looking back at Monte Rosa.

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