Emery Dameron on the Rothorngrat and the Mer de Glace Face of the Grépon • September 9 - 14, 2007

Once again, Emery (and wife Martha) journeyed to the Alps from their home in California for travel and a bit of climbing. On this trip, though 6 days in length, we managed two big routes, both of them Alps ultra-classics. First, we climbed the Rothorngrat on the Zinal Rothorn, then traveling to Chamonix, we made an ascent of the long Mer de Glace Face of the Grépon.

Other Recent Trips


This is a photo of the Zinal Rothorn, taken from a previous climb up the nearby Wellenkuppe. The Rothorngrat climbs the long ridge descending down and left from the summit. The normal route, and our route of descent, is on the right.


The morning sun finally reaches us once we gain the ridge.


Looking up the ridge. Unfortunately, most of the climbing is on rock just left of the sun-shadow line. Cold hands in the early morning.


Emery descends a tower on the ridge.


Perhaps the easiest section of the route! The Matterhorn behind.


This photo was taken from the summit and shows another party not far below.

Later in the day, we made the long descent to Zermatt. With tired legs, the next day we drove on to Chamonix, and on to further exploits.


The Mer de Glace Face of the Grépon is one of the classic big rock routes of the Alps. It is quite long, gets progressively harder the higher you go, and ends on a fantastic summit.


The "approach" to the Envers hut, our starting point for the climb, includes quite a bit of ladder work.


Not far from the hut now, we pause to appreciate the view.


Looking up from near the same spot as the previous photo. The Aiguille du Requin is the peak behind.


And finally the Envers hut. In spite of the great weather, there were very few climbers there, and we had a quiet night.


Sun going down on the Drus and the Aiguille Verte.


Switching to rock shoes as we leave the glacier. It was interesting trying to find the correct start in the deep darkness of a moonless night. Though I'm still not sure, I think we did.


Higher the sun comes up, and the rock warms.


Mid-route, there is a key hidden rappel, reputedly difficult to find. Fortunately we did locate it. In this photo Emery approaches the belay and rappel point.


Occasionally, the route moves onto shady, north-facing rock, often snow covered. Here, Emery tries bravely to avoid getting the rock shoes wet (unsuccessfully, as I recall).


Not far from the top now, we traverse a long ledge to avoid the harder "direct" original route up an intimidating chimney.


The climb ends with the difficult (I thought) Knubel Crack. Here Emery makes the final moves to the summit platform.


And turning the other direction, we have a view of the Madonna, and Mont Blanc behind. Notice all the rappel webbing at her feet.


Emery, preparing for the rappels, and the Madonna, lost in thought.


On the descent of the Grépon.


With the ever-shrinking hours of the late-season cable car, we missed the last one down by about 45 minutes. But, as luck would have it, the hut keeper of the Plan des Aiguilles was still "at home" and was happy to accommodate us for the night. Here, Emery looks toward the Grépon, peeking through the cloud behind.


Sunset over the Chaîne des Aravis from the Plan des Aiguilles hut.

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