Andy Latham • August 20-26, 2006

Andy Latham was back for more climbing with Kathy again this year. We have done so much climbing together in the Alps by now, that it can be a bit challenging to find a new area to explore! This time we decided to traverse from Zermatt northward into the Val d'Anniviers, by crossing the high, glaciated Col Durand.

Other Recent Trips

We started out in rainy weather, hiking to the Schönbiel hut. This is the view from the hut across to the Matterhorn as the clouds broke up after the rain.


Exploring the approach to the Col Durand in the afternoon, the sun has come out and it's a lovely afternoon. Behind Andy is the icefall of the Stockji Glacier—the Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route passes just to the left of this spot as it makes its last descent into Zermatt.


Andy takes in the improving view of the Matterhorn.


Yet another view of the Matterhorn the next morning, as we approach the Hohwäng glacier in first light.


The Mischabel group under the rising sun, to the right is Monte Rosa and the Liskamm.


Looking back at the Matterhorn, we approach the Col Durand.


The descent down the north side of the Col was steep and required a couple of pitches of belayed down-climbing.


We ended up at the Mountet hut, located in about the most spectacular setting I have ever seen. That's saying a lot, given the Swiss penchant for putting huts in amazing places generally. Andy gets a photo of the north sides of the Ober Gabelhorn and Zinal Rothorn from the doorway of the hut.


The next day we did some rock climbing on the "Mammouth", a long ridge formation overlooking the hut, whose roof is visible here. Our previous day's col is in the middle background of this photo. To the right of the col is the Pointe Zinal, to the left is Mont Durand.


From the summit of the Mammouth, Andy gets a good shot of (left to right) Pointe Zinal, the Dent Blanche, and the Grand Cornier.


The following day we climbed the "Blanc de Moming". Andy poses on the summit, with the Ober Gabelhorn and Matterhorn in the background.


The next day the weather took a sudden turn for the worse. We descended to the nearby village of Zinal, in gathering storms. Looking back as we leave the hut, we see here the Ober Gabelhorn on the left, to its right the Mont Durand, and Pointe Zinal on the right.


Lovely Swiss wildflowers like the rain.


From the valley bottom we could see the squalls had already swallowed up the high peaks.


Zinal is a beautiful little village tucked high up in the Val d'Anniviers.


The next day was again quite nice, though the forecast was mixed. We headed up to the Tracuit hut, a long climb from the valley. Our objective was to climb the Bishorn, a 4000 meter peak we had not yet done.


The Dent Blanche and Grand Cornier are in the sun once more.


Sunset at the Tracuit hut, things don't look so promising in the stiff wind from the south.


But in fact the next morning was gorgeous for our climb of the Bishorn, despite a bitterly cold wind. Andy takes in the views from the summit. The Weisshorn rises behind him on the left. Over his shoulder on the right, are the Dent Blanche and Grand Cornier once again.


Other climbers approach the summit.


Heading down again, the Dent Blanche seems to be putting on a "scarf", a sign of yet another storm approaching. By nightfall it was raining again! We were back in the cozy hotel in Zinal by then.


The toe of the glacier near the Tracuit hut.

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