Emery Dameron • September 2-8, 2006

Emery and his wife Martha made their yearly pilgrimage to Europe in September. Their itineraries always astound me in their variety, but they often have one common element, and that is Emery's week or so of climbing in the Alps. This year, we began in Chamonix and finished in the Zermatt area.

The weather was still just recovering from its chill in August, but did have at least one of the best days of the entire summer, both in terms of conditions and blue skies.

Other Recent Trips

Our first climb was the Miroir d'Argentine, a giant limestone slab near Leysin in Switzerland. Here Emery looks perhaps not too happy but I think he was enjoying being out in the hills again.


Looking down from the last belay on the Miroir. For much of the climb there were a few sprinkles of rain in the air, but only on these last pitches was it just hard enough to get the rock wet. But limestone remains remarkably rough, even when wet, and we were able to complete the route, avoiding a long series of rappels.


Emery and Kathy discussing the pros and cons of beer verses panaché at the hut on the descent from the Miroir


The next day's forecast was still a bit funky in the high mountains, so we opted for another "low-elevation" rock route. This one was on Mont Chavret in the Aravis, a small limestone range not far from Chamonix. Neige de la Sahara wanders up the buttress as shown here. It is a circuitous route, but includes some fantastic climbing.


Looking back at Kathy and Emery from the second long rightward traverse. This is the crux section of the route, and includes a wee bit of 5.10 just above the belay.


The same pitch from the belayer's point of view. Kathy took this photo of me (Mark) as I near the belay.


Emery on the second to last pitch, a wild affair that takes an improbably traverse across a vertical wall to reach the arête seen here.


Hiking down after the climb. "Cow heaven."


And finally, after what was over a month of less-than-ideal weather, the forecast was again excellent. We decided to go "big" and made our approach to the Col de la Fourche hut in preparation to do the Arête Kuffner on Mont Maudit. This shot was taken from just outside the hut, looking south into Italy.


With all the bad weather, it had been some weeks since anyone had done this route. Unusual for the Alps, we had no tracks to follow. The newish soft snow made trail-blazing a bit of work. These climbers behind us would always find an excuse to stop once they got a bit too close to us (avoiding the work of putting in the track). But I'm not complaining–the added pleasure and challenge of routefinding and sense of discovery were more than worth the calories required.


Emery on the last part of the traverse around the Androsace tower.


Emery's new helmet includes a Mont Blanc massif panorama–perhaps a useful routefinding aid?


Another party near the top of the route.


An now for something completely different... After Mont Maudit a wee rest was in order, so we shifted our base to the Zermatt area. Our first route there was a rock climb on the Jegihorn. This face is quite a bit longer than it looks. We all lost count of the number of pitches somewhere around number ten.

There are about a half dozen or so routes on this face, most of them bolted.


Finding the start of "Alpendurst" was not difficult, as well as following the route, which was well defined by a line of bolts.


Emery belaying on "Alpendurst".


Only a few pitches left to go.


Our reward, back at the top lift station.


For our last climb we chose the Egginer, a dark rock peak above Saas Fee. The traverse of this peak is quite long and involved, but includes some very enjoyable rock (as well as a bit of looseness here and there) in a beautiful setting. The peak behind is the Allalinhorn.


Kathy and Emery on the traverse of the Egginer.

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