Jeff McLaughlin in the Zermatt area • August 14 - 19, 2010

Jeff McLaughlin, joined by his wife Sherri and toddler Joseph, took a week's summer vacation in Zermatt. For much of this time Jeff climbed with Mark, returning to town each night for a comfortable bed and more and arguably more attractive company.

Unfortunately, the McLaughlin's choice of week coincided with what so far has been the worst weather of the summer. But, with significant changes of plan mid-stride, we were still able to put almost all of our days to good use.

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Here's Jeff, on the summit of Pollux. Our climb of this peak, done under fairly good weather was actually on day 4.


This view, however, is more typical of the weather during the first days of the trip. Rain on the streets of Zermatt as seen from Mark's hotel window.


Our first day was truly terrible. It rained for most of the day, accumulating vast quantities of snow at the higher elevations. But the end of the storm, there were over 60 cm of new snow (2 feet) in the mountains.


Mark went for a short walk above town, keeping an eye out for strange plant life.


OK, I won't bore you with more flower pictures.


Our second day was perhaps slightly more productive. Our "revised" original plan included a climb of the Allalinhorn. However, on learning that the lower parts of the mountain were "closed" due to avalanche blasting control work, we opted for a non-snow activity, a descent of the Gorner Gorge.


Walking the plank(s).


It was a good day for the Gorge, light rain, with sunny breaks. The route was a bit muddy, but more's the fun.


On day 3 we made another attempt on the Allalinhorn. Early morning sunny breaks, with an improving forecast gave us hope. But, again, the climb was not to be. Deteriorating weather, more accumulating snow, concern about snow stability and an inability to see the slopes above us all conspired to turn us around short of the summit. Oh, well.


Another party, just bit ahead of us.


Our high point on the Allalinhorn, in the mists and falling snow.


Later, on our last day, we did get to see the summit of the Allalinhorn, from across the valley.


Back in Zermatt, the clouds finally gave us tantalizing glimpses of a snow-covered Matterhorn.


On day 4, the weather finally improved. Pollux was the day's goal. This view is from the very start of the route, looking across the Breithorn Plateau.


The normal route, and the only sensible one given all the new snow, ascends the SW Ridge, the right skyline in this view. The summit is just out of sight to the left.


After the rock section of the ridge, we have a short snowy bit to the summit.


Finally, on the top of a mountain.


Descending Pollux.


Another party wallowing in the deep snow of the descent gully.


Day 5, it must be the Riffelhorn. We decided to go rock climbing for the day, choosing the "Egg" route on the south face of the Riffelhorn.


Low on the route.


Another party on the last pitch of Egg. This photo was taken from the summit after we completed the climb.


One of the great things about climbing on the Riffelhorn is the view of the fascinating Gorner Glacier below.


The Riffelhorn's summit cross, with the Matterhorn looming behind.


For our last day we chose to go rock climbing once again, this time on the Jegihorn above the Saas valley. We climbed the complete SW Ridge, a longish rock route.

Roll your mouse over the image to see some of the climb. The crux pitch is the big red tower on the left.


Jeff starts up the red tower.


Higher on the route, with the Weissmies behind.


Lunch on the summit.


And a quick refreshment back at Kreuzboden before heading back to the valley.