John Herman and Rick Stiens in the Alps • June 22-27, 2019

Rick Stiens and John Herman, "partners in crime" from way back, joined Mark for 6 days of varied alpine climbing. We started in the Saas Valley, but changed venues mid-trip to Chamonix.

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The Almageller hut, above Saas Almagel. Our timing was perfect, as the last of the clearing rains fell just after dinner in the hut.

Behind you can see the rocks of the Dri Horlini, our first climb, on Day 2.


The weather appears to be breaking up at sunset.


But the following morning, there was not a cloud in the sky.


Climbing on the Dri Horlini. It is a roller coaster of an alpine ride.


One of the easier (but scenic) sections.


Climbing the pitch out from the notch of the Grand Gendarme.


Almost to the top.


The following morning we prepare to leave the hut just as the twilight breaks. Our Goal, the South Ridge of the Weissmies.


Above the hut, the first rays of the sun light up the Mischabel peaks.


On the South Ridge.


The final snow ridge to the summit.


Another party on the route.


The summit of the Weissmies.


And we must start down. We did a traverse of the peak, up the South and down the North.


The route takes us close to some impressive holes.


A short section of fixed rope facilitates a steep traverse.


The north side of the Weissmies.

Roll your mouse over to see the route.


After our climb of the Weissmies, we decided "Enough with this big peaks! How about something fun?" So we were off to Chamonix. We climbed a rock route called La Somone.


John's fingers took a beating on the Dri Horlini, so some tape was called for.


The snow piled up against the second to last pitch required us to put in a belay at the first bolt of the route. Not so comfortable.


At the top of Somone.


The next day, our 5th, we drove through the Mont Blanc Tunnel, up the Skyway lift and are roping up to wander over to the Aiguilles Marbrees.


The Aiguilles Marbrees.

Mouse over to see the route. We did a clockwise loop.


Looking up the East Ridge, our route of ascent.


Climbing on the East Ridge.


Almost to the summit.


Some loose rock on the descent.


After a bunch more downclimbing, a rappel or two, we arrive back on the glacier.


And it is a quick wander back across the ice to the lift, and home.


On our last day, we traverse the peaks of Points Lachenal. This day starts with a ride up the Aiguille du Midi cable car. From the top of the Midi we exit an ice tunnel, down the ridge and across the glacier to our objective.


Looking South towards Italy.


Les Pointes Lachenal.


The first of two rappels off the middle summit.


A bit of steepness as we round the north side of the third summit and find easier climbing to the summit.

Thanks Rick and John!