Norm Numerof once again in the Alps • July 15 - 21, 2017

For many years now, Norm has been coming to the Alps to enjoy its unique pleasures. Just look at that list to the right! This year, the mountains are "enjoying" some of the hottest and driest weather for quite some time. Conditions on ice routes are grim indeed and glaciers are opening fast.

But, as they say, with lemons, make lemonade.

Other Trips with Norm

Alps - July, 2016
Albula ski tour - March, 2016
Alps - June, 2014
Alps - July, 2013
Alps - July, 2012
Alps - July, 2011
Alps - September, 2009
Alps - July, 2008
Alps - July, 2007
Alps - July, 2006
Alps - July, 2005
Alps - July, 2003

Return to all recent trips


We began the week with an admittedly ambitious plan for the Mönch and Jungfrau. Big climbs both, right out of the gate. And just to make things a bit more taxing, we climbed the Mönch by its more difficult SW Ridge.


The SW Ridge of the Mönch from near the Jungfraujoch.

Mouse over the image to see the route.


Norm just above the crux slab with the Jungfrau behind.


Finally after seemingly miles of rock we are back in the crampons on our way to the summit.


This view is from just below the summit looking down the SE ridge, a narrow cat-walk of snow.


Looking back up towards the summit from partway down the ridge. I had to do a bit of "levels" work in Photoshop to bring out the visibility in this otherwise flat-light day. But it does make a nice photo, if I may say so myself.


Bit 'o rock, bit 'o snow. Onward down the SE Ridge.


Finally, after a long descent, the Mönchsjoch hut.


The following morning we are up early, on our way to the Jungfrau.


A spectacular sunrise greeted us, with gusty winds and cold temperatures.


Sunrise behind the Mönch.


A quick bite to eat on the way up.


At about 3560 meters, we decide that continuing was not a great idea. The wind was fierce, and the effort of the previous day's climb, in combination with the altitude and jet lag, all conspired against us.


Looking at the weather coming in from the NW, past the Mönch and Eiger.


Descending back down to the glacier on our way back.


And the walk to the Jungfraujoch and our ride to the warmer valley.


Trying not to be dejected for too long, the next day we venture into Italy for a bit of rock climbing. This is Val Ferret. We are heading to the slabs on the left, known as the Dalle Elena, after the hut which sits on the opposite side of the valley.

Our route, Bierfest, seemed to call. Mouse over the photo to see, more or less, the line.


Warm rock and rock shoes. Not so bad.


Looking across the slab at another party on Voie Ryobi.


Some 9 pitches of slab climbing with a few steeper bits thrown in, and we are almost to the top.


And 9 rappels down.


Norm on the final rappel and the walk back to the car.


We stop to "smell" the flowers.




The following day, we hatch a plan to look for some ice on the North Face of the Tête Blanche. On the hike up to the Albert 1er hut.


Looking up the Tour Glacier. The hut is on the left, the Aiguille du Chardonnet on the right.


Looking out over the Tour Glacier from the hut.


And up to the Aiguille du Chardonnet, as the sun sinks lower towards the horizon. Norm climbed this fabulous peak back in 2013.


Evening light from the Albert 1er hut.


Moon and sunrise from near the Col Superior du Tour.


The sun rises over Switzerland.


The conditions were much worse than I expected. The North Face of the Tête Blanche was almost devoid of ice.


We wandered across the glacier, heading to the East Ridge, plan B.


Passing under the Tête Blanche with the Aiguille du Tour behind.


With an eye to justifying bringing up two ice tools, and lots of screws, we take an alternate start to the East Ridge, and include a bit of ice climbing.


The last moves of the first pitch.


The angle soon eases.


And we are on the rock of the East Ridge.


A popular summit.


Another party heads down the normal route.


The impressive view across to the Aiguille du Chardonnet.


Back at the hut, a quick snack, and the hike down.


Pleasant walking on on the trail to La Balme.


For our last day, we needed something rather short, as the forecast looked decidedly bad for the afternoon. This is the East Ridge of the Aiguiile des Grands Montets.

Mouse over to see the route.


Good climbing on generally excellent rock.


On the East Ridge.


And the difficulties end with the sun still out.


The final move back to safety.

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