Thanks for that - it certainly was!
I'm very happy to see that Rob made it back up there. I felt bad that our trip was not successful.
Ah, no need at all to feel bad about that. In the mountains one simply has to be flexible. There are always a lot of things that can force a change of plans. I find that the best way to deal with that is to fully enjoy the time in the mountains - and we sure did that! - and not dwell on what might have been. The mountains are patient.
That said, the route that Mark, Al and I ended up climbing this year was actually a different one from what you, Ryan and I planned to do in 2012. The Dufourspitze from the Italian side is a little bit more difficult than from the Monte Rosa hut, but more importantly, the conditions on the Grenzsattel, a knife edge ridge along the route, are often rather dangerous. With snow it's usually corniced, often dangerously so, and without it it quickly gets icy. And the 2.5km drop off to the east is very steep...
This year we didn't expect the conditions on the saddle to be good enough either, so we didn't expect to be able to go across, but we learned that the route was in excellent shape, so we got lucky :-).
I second what Rob has said. If it makes it any better, the route we did on the Dufourspitze; I failed on two previous attempts, from both ends - from Signalkuppe in 1982 and then the other way having reached Dufourspitze summit from Swiss side in 1992.
And what we went on to do on Mont Blanc this year I have been wanting to do for a decade - and we weren't able to do it last year.
Mountain conditions are fickle and this year we were very lucky.
Anyway, best of luck your next venture Adam - I still think of the phenomenal success of your Andean 'Peak Bagging'..
For what sounds like a cracking Alps trip and a great photo...I bailed from this last year due to the weather.It certainly looks worth the wait on your part!
Thanks - it was - and I have had a lot of fun re-living it through a trip report I will be posting at the end of the week - look out for "Alps International Expedition 2013"!