Grant Carnie, Barre des Écrins and Obergabelhorn • August 13 - 18, 2017

Once again Grant joined Mark for 6 days of classic Alpine mountaineering. This year we managed to climb two more of the big 4000 meter Alps summits, the Barre des Écrins and the Obergabelhorn.

Other Trips with Grant

Alps - July 2016
Alps - August 2015
Alps - August 2014
Alps - August 2013
Alps - September 2012
Alps - August 2011
Alps - August 2009
Alps - August 2007

Return to all recent trips


We had a long and tiring fist day, with a big drive from Chamonix and a lengthy, but fortunately easy, hike up to the Refuge des Écrins. The start was made somewhat more taxing for Grant due to a missed flight connection (bad weather at Dulles, again) and few hours of sleep the previous two nights. But he persevered!


Arriving at the busy, but welcoming Refuge des Écrins.


The Barre des Écrins pokes it head out from the clouds in the evening light.


The after-dinner activity, mostly staring out across the Glacier Blanc.


Breakfast at 3:30 am and we are out the door at 4:00. More climbers making their way down the rubbly trail to get on the glacier.


Some time later, high on the Glacier Blanc the sun lights up the eastern sky.


A beautiful sunrise.


We arrive at the Brèche Lory, between the Barre and the Dôme de Neige.


As we start up the NW Ridge of the Barre, we look back over the Dôme de Neige. Fortunately, most of the climbers on the glacier that early morning were climbing on the Dôme, leaving the somewhat more complicated Barre to only a few of us.


Typical ridge scrambling over Pic Lory.


The summit of the Barre des Écrins.


And for the sake of "completeness" on our way down we make the short detour up to the summit of the Dôme de Neige. It does give a good view of the Barre, so more than worth the minimal effort. It is, after all, another 4000-meter summit.


After a long descent we pass by (and enjoy a beverage at) the Refuge du Glacier Blanc.

Finally, after some 2200 meters (7200 feet) of descent, we arrive at the car. A long drive takes us back to Chamonix. Our day 3 was a much needed rest day.


After check in various weather forecasts, and calling some huts for updated conditions information, we head to Zermatt and hike into the Rothorn hut. Liskamm and Breithorn from the walk into the hut.


Breakfast at 4:00 am. To get to the Obergabelhorn, we have to climb up and over the Wellenkuppe.


As we get higher we have some amazing views of the surrounding peaks, including the North Face of the Matterhorn.


We stop for a brief break.


Very enjoyable rock climbing high on the Wellenkuppe.


And finally the last step to the Wellenkuppe's summit.


And a view, finally, of the Obergabelhorn.


Here, we are traversing the Grand Gendarme, a tower on the ridge that separates the Wellenkuppe and the Obergabelhorn. Zinal Rothorn behind.


After some rather difficult snowed-up rock, we finally arrive on the summit of the Obergabelhorn.


Looking back towards the Wellenkuppe from partway down the rappels of the Obergabelhorn.


Some time later, we have crossed back over the Wellenkuppe and are a short walk away from the hut.


Ah, finally. A beer and a bed.


We had considered climbing the Zinal Rothorn the following day, but tiredness, a rather poor nights sleep, and a couple other reasons, suggested a better plan was to take it a bit easy, and content ourselves with our Obergabelhorn climb.


So it was down the trail to Zermatt. And the end of another great week of climbing with Grant. Thank you!

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