Nadelgrat from South to North, starting from Mischabelhütte
We ended up doing this route by accident. Original plan was to do the Lenzspitze and the girl in the guide office had said the N Face was out of condition and the best way up would be the East ridge. Turns out that the opposite was the case. Unfortunately, with only one classic axe, the N face was out of the question, so that one will have to wait for another day. My Italian guide Angelo and I quickly settled on doing the Nadelgrat as our plan B.
After a 2h15 wake up and a bite to eat, we were on the road before 3am. First impression was pretty positive as we had plenty moonlight and almost no wind. This quickly changed as the wind kicked up as we started to cross the Hohbalmgletscher and this got relly nasty as we hit the Windjoch...they don't call it that for nothing!!
After a brisk scamper across the Riedgletscher, just after 5am as we could see the first signs of light, we reached the bottom of the couloir leading up to the saddle between the Dirruhorn and the Chli-Dirruhorn. We had earlier taken a quick look at the first couloir leading up to the Dirrujoch (would have shortened the route by skipping the Dirruhorn) but it looked in pretty nasty condition. SO after some water and some quick munchies, we set off up the couloir.
The going was so good we were able to move together and about halfway up, the sun hit the couloir...relly breathtaking and if I hadn't been huffing and puffing so much, I might have been a bit more emotional about it.
Once we finished the couloir we had a quick scamper up to the day's first summit, the Dirruhorn and we were treated to someblue skies and fantastic views in to the Mattertal as well as a good look at the rest of the ridge.
Once we reached the Dirrujoch, we stopped for a moment for a drink and I thoughtlessly unshouldered my pack forgetting that I still had my axe stuck between the pack and my back!!! Needless to say, the next thing I herd was the clang, clang, clang of the ice axe falling to an icy tomb on the Riedgletscher. D'oh!!! Angelo helpfully added, "Dat's gonna be problem." Perhaps purely a coincidence, but right around this time, the weather clouded over and we never really saw the sun again!
Dat's gonna be a problem...
In the end, the rest of the ridge was not all that much of a problem without an iceaxe but I definitely learned a valuable lesson and maybe it's better to have learned it there rather than somewhere else!!
After that the rest of the day was uneventful...other than some very enjoyable climbing. We did cross one other pair who had done the Lenzspitze N face and climbed north til the Stecknadelhorn. But other than that we had the whole ridge to ourselves. We reached the Nadelhorn summit at around 11 which meant we'd be back in the hut for Rösti by lunchtime!