Lillian Cuthbert • August 31 - September 8, 2009

Lillian Cuthbert came over from New York to climb with Kathy. On the agenda were training and ascents on a variety of peaks, hopefully to culminate in a climb of Mont Blanc.

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Lillian soaks up the morning sunshine on the summit of the Walcherhorn.


We began our trip with the train ride to the Jungfraujoch. Lillian heads down the "trippy" tunnel to exit the station complex.


Our first objective is the Monch's Southeast Ridge. Fellow climbers pause for a photo opportunity high above the Jungfraufirn.


Nice, dry rock and reasonably comfy temperatures made this a very pleasant day out. Lillian pauses to enjoy the views.


The last ridge section to the summit was in good condition, if exposed.


The next day we decided to consolidate rock and scrambling skills on the nearby Walcherhorn. Lillian catches the morning sun, the Monch in the background.


Nearing the top, the Wetterhorn is over Lillian's left shoulder.


Lillian negotiates an icy ridge section near the summit.


Moving on to Zermatt, the weather forecast disappointed us, but we took advantage of an opportunity for a "Gorge Adventure"!


Just one of the many little adrenaline boosters of this route.


We are the champions, my friend!


The next day was a rock climbing day. We headed over to Saas Grund for a trip up the Jegihorn. A local resident whistled a hello to catch our attention, just checking us out...


Cold mists chased us up the route, but didn't dampen our spirits too much.


On top we were caught by Mark and Mike Starr, on a similar agenda.


Next stop, Chamonix. We took a day for some ice climbing practice on the Mer de Glace. Autumnal valley fog filled the lowlands but quickly dissipated with the warmth of the day.


Down the infamous ladders to the dry glacier below.


One is rarely alone on this perfect playground for ice climbers. Others trying out their first steps in crampons.


A maze of walls and valleys for top-roping and practicing skills.


Lillian lands a good tool placement.


Finally it's time for the big Mont Blanc. We joined dozens of other climbers for the approach up the steep rock ridge to the Gouter hut, seen on the skyline here.


Lillian pausing for a quick break about half-way up the ridge.


The next morning was clear and mostly calm, if bitterly cold! A full moon guided us most of the way, here Lillian is about ready to turn off her headlamp high on the peak.


On top at last, we are almost too early for the sunrise!


Wearing every stitch, it's just enough for the summit photo stop.


It's too cold to dawdle here for long, we follow the convoy back down the summit ridge. You can just make out the shadow of the mountain behind these climbers.


We have a nice peaceful gap of solitude as we head down the camels' humps.


Looking across at the Aiguille du Midi and the other Chamonix Aiguilles, across the lower glaciated slopes of the Dôme du Gouter.


Having left ourselves a spare day in case of need, we spent it climbing the classic Arête des Cosmiques. Beginning of course with the exit ridge from the Aiguille du Midi cable car station, it was a bit shocking how dry it has become at this end of season. August and September really have been very lovely, warm months with little precipitation. The Aiguille du Plan and the Aiguille Verte in the background here.


We almost got away without cramons at all, but up high had to don them for a brief passage.


Lillian practices her rock scrambling in crampons.


Almost on top, the grandeur of this "little" classic is always impressive.


Fellow climbers savor their moment on the top.


And so do we!