Larry True • September 5 - 11, 2005

Larry True, from Seattle, WA, came to Switzerland to climb with Kathy this year. They hoped to do the Dent Blanche among other things, and then meet up with Larry's friend Fred from Lausanne for a climb with him at the end of our week. Although once again weather interfered with our original intentions, we did manage to find some decent weather by chasing it around via trains, buses, taxis etc.

Other Recent Trips

We last saw Larry over 10 years ago, on an Aconcagua trip which he did with his wife, Linda. It was nice to see him and climb together again. Here he is on the summit of the Wetterhorn, toward the end of our trip. In the background is the Schreckhorn.


On our first day we had planned a warm-up climb in the Zermatt area, but the weather forecast called for stormy weather to come in soon, so we moved around to the Val d'Anniviers to try and get right on the Dent Blanche, hopefully outrunning the onset of the storm. After an alpine start to catch the combination of train, bus and taxi to the trail head, we pause for our first break on the long trail up to the Rossier hut at the base of the South Ridge of the Dent Blanche.


The following morning it was obvious that our weather window was too short. Strong gusty winds, thick lowering clouds, a light snowfall and verglas on the rocks, all conspired to send us back to bed. Later in the morning however, we had enough visibility to encourage us to return to Zermatt on foot, over the glaciers via the last part of the Haute Route.

This photo was taken during the better weather of the previous evening, but it shows our route—an easy glacier crossing to the low-lying ridge in the middle of the photo, where we caught the good track from the Bertol hut to the Schönbiel hut. The Dent d'Hérens is the peak in the left background.


Despite increasingly thick fog, we were able to find our way to the well-trodden track, and follow it down the Stockji Glacier. On its lower reaches we met up with some Belgian climbers finishing their Bertol-Schönbiel traverse. Here we are returning from a brief foray to a scenic side-trip/dead-end; an impressive glimpse down the huge icefall where the Stockji Glacier meets the Schönbiel Glacier.


As the rain and wind picked up, we were very glad to see the cozy Schönbiel hut appear at the end of an arduous climb up the steep moraine.


Our weather pattern for the next several days was caused by a large storm system to the south. It hit the southern, Italian slopes of the Alps with heavy rain, and sent strong foehn winds and squally showers spilling over the border and ridge northward into Switzerland.

In a rare reversal of the more typical pattern, the forecast was for better weather to the north, further from the reach of this southerly flow. So, getting another "alpine start", we left the hut before dawn, hiked down to Zermatt, and took the train and bus to Grindelwald, where we heard conditions were good on the Wetterhorn, shown here.


Larry hiking the dramatic cat-walk like trail to the Gleckstein hut, with the Eiger's Mittellegi Ridge (looking a bit too snowy) in the background, and Grindelwald below.


The furthest tentacle-like edges of the southerly storm, this cloud bank dissipated as the foehn wind swept down this deep canyon below our approach trail.


The following morning dawned flawless; clear and calm. Just out of sight to the left, that pesky fog-bank persisted, but made no progress beyond the upper glacier.

The view here from left to right takes in the Schreckhorn, Fiescherhorn, Mönch and Eiger.


Larry topping out on the Wetterhorn's long rock section, and setting foot on the snow of the summit slopes. In the background again the Mönch and Eiger, with Kleine Scheidegg down in the shadows.


A tricky rock step before the summit keeps things interesting to the end.


Larry makes the last few steps to the summit, where we enjoyed spectacular views in all directions.


A couple of climbers reached another summit of the Wetterhorn as we watched, close enough to hear them yodeling.


To the north the snow drops quickly away toward the vertical rock walls above the valley. Here we look almost straight down onto the houses of Grindelwald.


After our climb of the Wetterhorn, we returned to Zermatt. The following morning was sunny and warm, so we spent it rock climbing on the Riffelhorn, seen here on the left. The mountain on the right needs no identification!


The south face of the Riffelhorn hosts many fun routes with tremendous scenic value, high above the glacier. Larry suits up, with Monte Rosa in the background.


Larry nearing the crux pitch of "Eck".


From near the top of our route, we look over at climbers on a neighboring line.


Mark and Emery Dameron top out on a nearby route. By now the fog was moving in again... The following day the rain was back, so Larry and Fred headed back to Lausanne.

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