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Matterhorn/Eiger/Blanc Logistics info

Regional discussion and conditions reports for Europe. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the Europe Climbing Partners section.
 

Postby nattfodd » Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:15 pm

The Cosmique ridge is not really on the way to Mont-Blanc, you are actually going away from it. And since you will probably want an early start to the 3 Mont traverse (to get a better chance under the Tacul seracs), the linkup doesn't really make much sense. As an acclimatization climb on the previous day, on the other hand, it is a fun and accessible climb.
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Postby climbxclimb » Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:57 pm

The Hostel in Zermatt is called Zermatt Youth Hostel. It supe clean and way above average for its category.
In Chamonix you can stay in a Gite d`etape, which is like hostels but smaller and is more family style. There you can either have a private room or a shared bedroom this at about 20 Euro a night.
I suggest one called La Tapia, it is a little out of town but you can still walk in Cham, and it is much quiter and cleaner than others.
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Postby climbxclimb » Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:57 am

The 3 Mont Blanc route is quite scenic but not a challenging one, the only steep part is the face of Mont Maudit still very moderate.Overall a good intro to the Mont Blanc range.
If you do that I would suggest you to sleep at the Refuge des Cosmique, or on the glacier for a couple of nights, and the first day go for a day climb like the Cosmique Ridge, more technical of the the 3 Mont Blanc Route or the Traverse Midi-Plan, beautiful and varied but not too difficult.
On the 3 Mont Blanc routes you want to start around midnight therefore you can get o top of Mont Blanc at sunrise, and enjoy the spectacle and avoid the crowd descending...
It depends on you skills for other more technical routes, but anything on the Italian side is longer and more challenging in the D TD range.
The routes on Cervino are always very crowded in the summer it is like a the queue at the gas station....I decided I will not climb that mountain for this reason...and the Swiss guides can be quite aggressive...unless one day I will be good enough to do the North Face.....
Anyway enjoy the trip!
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Trilogy

Postby Kiefer » Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:51 am

That's cool! If our first plans of Peru fall in the toilet (will know soon), then we're heading to the Alps to do the same thing. Timeframe-June-ish.
Looking at the Alp Trilogy as well & maybe Jungfrau and Wetterhorn.

Trains are the way to go. Some good info on the Eurailpass system. Thanks for the links guys!! :D
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Re: Trilogy

Postby McCannster » Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:39 pm

Kiefer Thomas wrote:That's cool! If our first plans of Peru fall in the toilet (will know soon), then we're heading to the Alps to do the same thing. Timeframe-June-ish.
Looking at the Alp Trilogy as well & maybe Jungfrau and Wetterhorn.

Trains are the way to go. Some good info on the Eurailpass system. Thanks for the links guys!! :D


Sweet. Hope your Peru plans follow through, but at least the alternative isn't bad! I need partners for Europe this summer, so let me know how things work out with your Peru trip.
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Postby barrys » Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:54 pm

My input, in response to the last post, guides in Europe will not kick you off a mountain. There are routes which local guides maintain and thus claim right of way on, so if a Zermatt guide wants to get past you on the Matterhorn you'd better let him pass but this is not a problem on most mountains or areas, most routes are not as busy or even hemmed in as the hornli ridge for example. There are no restrictions or permits in these areas and you go everywhere at your own risk, no one has the right to kick you off a mountain unless you are in a national park/reserve and break the rules, where the only rules are no camping, 1 night in 1 location is normally tolerated if you don't hang around, no dogs and other basic stuff like that. If guides see you acting the noob on a route ahead of them they will question your ability to be there as you could be a hazard to yourself and the people behind/around you and in this case they probably have a point, but you're at 3999metres, what are they going to do?call a helicopter to remove you? You'll be free to continue and endanger yourself continuing to endure their scorn once you let them and their clients past you, but they've got a job to do and they ain't gonna stand around making sure you descend. I've seen this situation first hand numerous times and I've been on the receiving end of it once, when I was a total noob, happy to report I'm now an intermediate noob.

Apart from a few restricted via ferratas Europe affords you the freedom of the mountains as long as you're not wandering across pisted slopes roped up and carrying a crate of beer. I did see the compagniedumontblanc staff at aiguille du Midi refuse to let a group of oriental tourists out onto the vallee blanche, but they were in shorts and short sleeve shirts wearing normal hikking footwear with C1 crampons, not a rope or piolet between them - now this refusal of freedom was common sense, and may well be a regular occurrence, I have seen similar sights at Klein Matterhorn, but I don't think Mr. Seahorse can expect that kind of reception.

And McCannster - I don't know yet what my work demands will be next summer but I'm normally not far from Chamonix!! I'm probably not as ambitious as yourself but I can take the pain!! See P&P.

edit: Not prate and prattle! :lol:
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Postby Fred Spicker » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:21 pm

grammys11 wrote:Word of warning, guides in Europe are very different. In some places you can't get on the mountain without a guide and if they catch you going up without one, will kick you off (whole union/socialsim thing...)


I am with Barry on this one - unless you can give a specific example.......

The guides that I have met in the mountains in Europe have always been courteous or at the worst indifferent.........
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Re: HEADS UP

Postby Nigel Lewis » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:51 pm

grammys11 wrote:Word of warning, guides in Europe are very different. In some places you can't get on the mountain without a guide and if they catch you going up without one, will kick you off (whole union/socialsim thing...).


Nonsense, they can't and won't kick you off anything, BUT, but some guides CAN be rude to the point of aggressiveness!!

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Re: HEADS UP

Postby climbxclimb » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:54 pm

grammys11 wrote:http://www.aai.cc/ProgramDetail/alps_trilogy/

This is a program AAI offers in the summer (roughly $7500 USD) but comes with guides, food, logistics, etc.

Word of warning, guides in Europe are very different. In some places you can't get on the mountain without a guide and if they catch you going up without one, will kick you off (whole union/socialsim thing...).

If this is a trip you want to do on your own, or do on the cheap, I would suggest calling AAI. They are good people and will tell you the real-deal-Holyfield... have fun.


In the first place I did not understand that the original poster was asking for a guiding service...
But also, Is this some sort of sponsorship for AAI and American guides?
There is not law in Europe restricting the access to the mountain to selected individuals like it is sometimes in US.
Mountain ranges are most of the time public domain in Europe and therefore you can go up with or without a guide, in Switzerland it may be different...but not on Matterhorn. On the popular routes on Matterhorn, Swiss guides have the precedence followed by Italian guides followed by German guides followed by everybody else, this does not mean that if you wake up before them and start ahead on the route somebody is going to stop you.
Guides are not public officials therefore they do not have authority to tell you what to or where to go.
The authorities in France is La Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne, in Italy the Soccorso Alpino, in Switzerland is the Alpine Rettung Schweiz.
The more militarized is the French one. This authorities coordinate between each other in matter of search and rescue on the mountain, unfortunately the Italian and French service have to do this often in the Mont Blanc range...But they do not tell people if they can climb a route or not it is you life and your responsibility. But they come and get you if you are in trouble and they do it for free because they are a service played by the government.
It is possible that at the Aiguille du Midi they stopped the dumb people going down the Valle Blanche in short without rope and ice axe I would have done the same...the ridge is very exposed and narrow...they had the right to stop them, because there is sign that says that if you want to go through the ice cave and therefore start on the ridge you need to wear proper equipment and since you are in their premises they can stop you.
I had the experience of climbing on the same route with French Italian and Swiss guides, and I can tell you that the French guides are quite aggressive followed by the Swiss guides, I was ready to push one of the French guides of the edge one time when he almost made me fall on and exposed section of the Arête des Cosmique to pass in front of me, and my French climbing partner has regular loud disagreements with them on the mountains...
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Re: HEADS UP

Postby Nigel Lewis » Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:10 am

climbxclimb wrote:I had the experience of climbing on the same route with French Italian and Swiss guides, and I can tell you that the French guides are quite aggressive followed by the Swiss guides, I was ready to push one of the French guides of the edge one time when he almost made me fall on and exposed section of the Arête des Cosmique to pass in front of me, and my French climbing partner has regular loud disagreements with them on the mountains...


That's exactly what I was talking about!! Same place, same problem!! The French guide was rude and aggressive, his clients apologetic and embarrased!

N
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Postby barrys » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:38 am

It's a shame to hear of people not representing a great tradition like alpine guiding in the way it deserves, but as discussed in a few old threads - in any profession there'll be a certain proportion who'd rather be doing something else. But that's no excuse. I've heard similar stories before but never witnessed it. The guides I've met have all been model professionals. Though who knows what effect having a big fight with their other half or receiving an eviction notice on the morning before they head off might have on their mood....... :evil: Either way, I'm staying away from those busy routes with awkward passing for now, I am still only an intermediate noob afterall.

Going back to the OP, if there's 2 of you then I'd guess that train is the way to go as far as economising goes, but split it between 3 and any money saved by getting the train might be worth less than the convenience, time and freedom of movement gained if money is spent on a car. 4 people and I'd say get a car, though sacrifices would have to be made in comfort. A couple of years ago we rented for two weeks from Hertz for less than 600Chf with unlimited mileage, probably a bit more expensive now but worth checking out, and you can look at viamichelin.com to calculate fuel costs. Good luck anyway, wish I had the balls to do the Mittellegi.
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Postby Moni » Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:46 pm

With respect to a car - it's not only the cost, it's also what to do with it while you are away. Parking in some areas is hard to find and often not free.
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Postby barrys » Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:33 pm

Parking's not a problem around Chamonix in summer, if you know where to look, free parking in Chamonix sud near the aiguille du Midi cable car, and also near the Montenvers train station, there are other spots. Tasch isn't a problem either, don't know about Grindlewald though.
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