Another 'old buffer' joined me half-way through a walking holiday I was enjoying from a base at the Hotel Oberland in Lauterbrunnen. We had signed up for a two day private instruction course with Hano from Swiss Alpine Guides to prepare us for an attempt to climb the Monch.
On the 27th we set off for a days rock climbing and scrambling on a ridge facing the Steingletcher on the Sussten Pass. This was the first time I had put on a climbing harness and had been roped up. We had a superb day in complete solitude only interrupted by the impressive site of a chamois sensing our presence and taking off down a 60deg rocky slope.
The second day was spent on the Steingletscher getting used to crampons, another first for me. Part of the time was rock climbing with crampons and getting used to ice ridges and steep descents. Again a superb day
in perfect weather. I now realise that everything Hano was doing was to make us familiar with the equipment and the sort of conditions we would find on the Monch. He was watching us carefully and assessing our capabilities. Towards the end of the day we had a discussion and it was decided we needed a guide each so that we would feel comfortable on the exposed parts of the Monch.
Monday 29th we set off on the first train to the Jungfraujoch with Hano and were joined by Chris from Sweden
who would be my guide. We set off along the main track to the Monchjochshutte and opposite the begining of the SE ridge, roped up and put our crampons on. It was about 10am when we crossed the snow field on a long rope and started the climb. Chris put me on a short rope and we began the climb. I felt very comfortable with Chris, somewhat helped by him telling me he had climbed Annapurna last October and the North Wall of the Eiger a couple of years earlier.
We made the summit in sunny conditions at approximately 1pm. The summit was somewhat crowded with about ten climbers enjoying the stunning view. The descent was slow and carefull with the snow getting quite soft in the hot conditions. Again a long rope for crossing the snowfield to the main track. As we were crossing Chris turned and pointed to a climber who had unroped for crossing the snowfield and had fallen up to his armpits. Fortunately he was pulled out but it demonstrated the stupidity of taking unnecessary risks.
A fantastic three days with a great feeling on reaching the summit of the Monch. A great deal of respect and admiration for the professionalism of the guides.
1989 with Monica Spicker
1997 with Tanya Spicker
2001 with Katrin Schild
All three climbs done as day climbs using the train to the joch. Amazing differences in the conditions each time - like doing 3 different routes.
8am start (white out stopped it being earlier) from our campsite at Monchjoch. Fresh snow made conditions harder for breaking trail (well done Phil). No other parties on route - which was nice! - Summited in 3hrs -interesting climb - snow deteriorated quickly due to sun. Summit ridge heavily corniced and exposed but a good climb. Off in 2 1/2 hours.
Heavy snow (and avalanches) next few days forced us to miss the Jungfrau - back next year?
Climbed in a rope of three including a local guide. Bad weather all the way with wind and snow. Not much of a view from the top. We were the only group going for the summit at that time.
Easy climb but exposed. The descent with a thin layer of fresh snow on the rocks demanded caution.
Lowest sweat factor in the Alpen 4000'ers but I read it kills more people than any other swiss mountain except the Matterhorn. ?
It was a great snowplod of 2 hours from the (friggin cold) hut with Stefan. We returned to find our ski partners tossing their cookies after the highest train ride I've ever done.
Awesome views (but the Eiger is less impressive from that angle), huge Cornices!
We were the only ones staying in the hut for the night. The hut was very warm.
We left at about six in the morning and took our time in a bright fresh morning, only seeing one other pair before we got back down to the glacier. The route SW Ridge is great, a scramble, then a few very fine snow ridges to the top. Watch out for cornices. We roped up for the top half but some don't. The summit views are great. A long way down to green patures on the north side, Jungrfrau to the west, Eiger to the east and the glaciers to the south.
John Sickel, Mark Rapley, Nigel Hoad.......our first 4000M Mountain.
did this as mountain guide with one client...nice tour...great visuals of Eiger and Jungfrau...highly recommended
My first winter climb. Did it solo. I left Grindelwald in the morning. Train to Jungfraujoch. Returned the same day. From Jungfraujoch on, I didn't see a soul the whole day. Just can't describe what feelings it give to climb all alone in winter with nothing else around but high mountains. Superb, nice conditions.
My first ice-wall (altough a fairly easy one). Very good snowconditions at that time.