great climb together with Norbert and Martin
Rolf, Thomas, Steve and I made it within 60 vertical meters of the summit before I felt nauseous and had to stop. The ski up had gone swimmingly and we had passed many of the skiers whom had started in the early hours. We had to overtake a string of 8 climbers while their guides fixed ropes on the final ridge. It was very popular that day and provided the altitude we sought after in training for the Patrouille des Glacier the next week.
We worked well as a team, despite some bad luck with weather and enjoyed the ski out towards Saas Fee knocking off Strahlenhorn en route.
Great friends in great mountains! Can one ask for anything more?
I arrived in Zermatt after travelling on foot from Chamonix via the well know Haute Route. It was my intention to climb the Matterhorn, but arrived to find it still covered with quite a bit of snow. There had been three deaths the previous week and icy conditions on the Hornli Ridge made for slim chances for success. So after much debate, I decided to attempt Monte Rosa instead.
I had planned to climb with Francis Kelsey, but he unfortunately came down with a stomach virus and wasn't in any condition to climb. At this point I only had 3 days left in Europe, so we went to the Guides' Office, hoping to find me a last minute partner. Luckily, there were some available guides already at the Monte Rosa Hut, so I headed immediately to the Gornergrat rail station.
After taking the train to Rotenboden station, I hiked down onto the glacier and followed the well-marked route across. There were some pretty large crevasses to cross. I then climbed the rocks up to the hut and enjoyed the fixed handrails on the smooth slab sections. On reaching the hut, I talked with a father-son team from Switzerland, who would also be climbing the next day.
At dinner, I met my guide, Harry, but later was passed off to another guide, Iwan, since Harry had business to attend to in Zermatt. I slept pretty well. We left for the summit at 2:45 AM. Once on the glacier, I was surprised by how gradual the slope was. After 1500 m of easy climbing, we reached the saddle just below the West Ridge of the Dufourspitze. Here the slope steepened significantly to about 40 degrees. The next 300 m of climbing were quite interesting with some nice sections of steep rock. We reached the summit block at 8 AM and paused for snacks and to enjoy the view. Mont Blanc, where I had been some 3 weeks earlier, was clearly visible.
We made the descent back to the hut in about 2 1/2 hrs, where I took about an hour to relax and rehydrate before heading back to the train. The walk back to Rotenboden took about 2 hrs and wasn't as bad as I expected. I really enjoyed the climb, since it requires lots of endurance and has some tricky sections near the summit. Lots of other nice peaks all around, so there will definitely be a return trip in the near future.
with ski on the normal route
Every summer since 1995 I failed to reach the peak. The reasons were all stupid like wrong girlfriend, too early in the season, too windy or lack of guts.
In July 1999 I stood up 2:00 AM at the Monte Rosa hütte, 2795m, after two hours sleep. We left at 3:00 AM with maybe 20 other climbers. It was 0 celcius, starlight and I felt good. We reached the Monte Rosa-glacier at 4:10 and a half hour later we could turn off the headlight. At 4.100 meter it was damned cold - I guess 15 C below zero. I had to dress up with all kind of extra clothes. From 4500 meter the easy climbing started, easy but airy. Three climbers drop dead here few years ago. The 800 meter long ridge look like the tail to a sleeping Stegosaurus. Then my guide stop walking: - This is the very peak, he said. We reached Dufourspitze at 8:30 AM. The sun had made everything better and I could go back to my new girlfriend in Norway and start a family.