Jonathan Penn climbing in the Alps • August 18-29, 2008

Jon spent a good 2 weeks in the Alps this last summer, climbing with Mark in Switzerland and France. We had a mix of weather and conditions, and as you'll see wandered from one alpine center to another – starting in the Mont Blanc Massif, then on to the Zermatt area and finally finishing with the Monch and Jungfrau in the Berner Oberland.

Other Recent Trips

Beginning near Mont Blanc, we chose for our first climb a traverse of the Aiguille d'Entreves, a rocky peak on the Franco Italian border. Here, we ride the "Panoramique Mont Blanc" across the glacier on the "approach". Life is hard.


The previous day's weather had been a bit on the moist side with new snow on many of the higher summits. For better or for worse, this tended to concentrate the crowds on those summits that would still be feasible. A busy day on the Entreves.


Jon on the summit with Italy and the Courmayeur ski area behind.


Looking towards Mont Blanc as we ride the lift back towards the Aiguille du Midi.


Looking to gain acclimatization points, we spent the night in the Cosmiques hut. A lovely sunset this evening.


Jon on the Arete des Cosmiques, which we climbed the following day.


Jon leads the last "pitch" on the Cosmiques.


With the "traverse" route on Mont Blanc still a bit too snowy, we elected to climb via the Gouter. We spent the night in the Tete Rousse hut, shown here. This makes for a somewhat longer summit day (as opposed to sleeping in the higher Gouter hut) but it is more comfortable, and certainly easier to get to.


Climbers enjoying the view over a sea of cloud from near the Tete Rousse hut.


Sunset from the Tete Rousse.


This photo (taken from the Tete Rousse in the afternoon) shows the route up to the Gouter hut, just visible on the top of the Aiguille du Gouter. All this rock scrambling we did in the dark. The summit of Mont Blanc proper is another five hours beyond.


With clear, if cold weather, and good climbing conditions, the Gouter route is busy.


Arriving on the summit of the Western Alps.


Having finished with Mont Blanc, and exhausted ourselves in the process, we continued on to Zermatt to enjoy a bit of rock climbing on the Riffelhorn. Jon grabs a big jug on the Egg route.


On the summit of the Riffelhorn with Monte Rosa behind.


With generally good weather forecast, we started out on the "Spaghetti Tour", a traverse of the summits of Castor, Liskamm and then some. Jon relaxes on the summit of Castor.


The following day, starting under rather murky conditions we began the Liskamm Traverse, a more difficult and committing objective.


The sun comes up as we climb the last slopes to the west summit of the Liskamm.


The Liskamm is known for its knife-edge summit ridge. The extreme exposure made for some psychologically taxing moments.


Here, we are starting down from the east, and higher, summit.


Looking back up at the summit from just a few feet lower.


And a bit lower still, we get a few tantalizing views of the Signalkuppe and Zumsteinspitze. However, the remainder of the descent was in the fog.


We continued up to the Margherita hut on the summit of the Zumsteinspitze. This photo was taken at sunset from the window of the second floor.


And the following day, we gain the summit of the Zumsteinspitze before heading down, down, down to Zermatt.


Descending the upper slopes of the Zumsteinspitze.


Lower, on the Grenz Glacier, a bridge crosses a chasm.


Looking back up towards the Liskamm, on the right, and the Dufourspitze on the left.


With a couple days left in our plans, we travel to the Berner Oberland for the Monch and Jungfrau. Here, Jon climbs good rock on the Monch's SW Ridge, a fun and varied route. Behind is the Jungfrau.


Descending the normal SE Ridge of the Monch.


And the following morning, the sun comes up on during our climb of the Jungfrau.


Higher on the Jungfrau, we reach the Rottalsattel.


A group of climbers just above the Rottalsattel.


Jon on the summit of the Jungfrau. The Eiger and Monch can be seen behind.