Mark Baldwin in the Zermatt area • July 20 - 22, 2010

Mark Baldwin, from the Seattle area, spent some time in Europe this summer. Between bouts of rigorous vacationing with family and friends, he squeezed in three days of climbing with Mark.

Originally planning on culminating with the Matterhorn, uncertain meteorological conditions, and a change in priorities more leaning towards learning than a mad dash up the Hornli, suggested that we would be wiser to alter the program.

We began with the Breithorn Half Traverse, one of our favorite routes in the area. Then on to the Riffelhorn, and finishing with a south-to-north traverse of the Weissmies.

Return to all recent trip

By way of an introduction, here's Mark on our last day, as the dawn begins to brighten the sky on the Weissmies.


Our first climb, the Breithorn Half Traverse. Starting from the Klein Matterhorn lift station, we traverse across the south side of the peak (opposite that which we see here) and climb a hundred meters of steep snow to the saddle just to the left of the three rock steps.

If you have not already done so, you can mouse over the image to see the route from the saddle.


Looking towards Liskamm from near the summit.


One of the best parts of the route. Interesting moves along the airy crest.


Looking towards the central summit. Another climber works out the last difficult moves on a final small tower. The Matterhorn in the background.


For day 2, we had two objectives: The first was to do a climb on the South Face of the Riffelhorn, practicing rock climbing in our mountaineering boots. The second was simply to hike into the Almageller hut in the Saas Valley, at the foot of the Weissmies.

This photo shows the rocky Riffelhorn in front of Monte Rosa. We climbed a route called Egg. It finishes on the steep buttress that forms the right-hand skyline of the summit structure.


In order to have enough time to both do our climb, as well as hike into the hut that afternoon, we caught the first Gornergrat train to Rotenboden. As a result we had some beautiful low morning light on the peaks of the Liskamm and Monte Rosa.


Moving up Egg.


A quick climb, and an even quicker hike into the Almageller hut, had us arriving well before dinner time.

This photo was taken from just in front of the hut, after dinner. Rather ominous clouds engulf the Mischabel group.


But at 4 in the morning, the sky was only partly cloudy, and most of the climbers in the hut set out for the Weissmies.


Jumping ahead to almost to the summit we are only about 30 minutes away.


Another party approaching the summit. An impressive storm in Italy thankfully stayed far away.


From the summit, looking down on the route of descent.


A last glance up to the summit.


The normal route on the Weissmies gets rather complicated as the season progresses and snow bridges melt out. In this picture we are about the enter the "interesting" section.


From here, we traverse into the jumble of ice blocks straight ahead.


Looking back up towards the summit from the edge of the glacier.

Mouse over to see the route.