In 2001 we climbed the northridge, but used a different, more elegant (I think) approach. Instead of following te normal route around the curve in the glacier we crossed it earlier (some crevasses, nothing too spectacular) to reach the very beginning of the ridge. On the righthand side of the ridge we found a small icewall after crossing some icy rubble (a bergschrund?). Climbing the icewall (hard ice, about 40 degrees) led up to the ridge somewhat behind the first big tower. We followed the easy ridge to the tower which we passed by on a broad ledge on the right. There we found the normal route and could follow the rest of the ridge. Conditions were perfect, so it was quite easy; the Rother guide promises some IIIrd degree climbing, but none of the rock we passed demanded any real climbing. Maybe they mean the big tower we passed by?
I think the route we found is nicer than the normal route because it takes the ridge integral. However it is also more dangerous. The ice wall can be dangerous for falling rock and ice, especially if you go too far to the right. When we were there we were early in the morning after a cold clear night. Furthermore underneath the wall the ice was quite easy to cross in our case, but since it is ice this may vary from year to year. We could see from a short distance that is was feasible, so be your own judge and do not blindly follow my story.
Have fun, the higher part of the ridge is very beautiful.
Thank you for this useful information! In fact the difficult rocks as described in the Rother guide was the reason for us to take that long approach. I always thought that I had not climbed the ridge in total...
I’ll insert your description into the text.
Do you know if/how conditions changed there in 2003?
Can you post pictures?
Why don’t you sign the summit log?
I have found some pictures which I will post on this page. It was a good thing to see them again, because it refreshed some of my memories.
Contrary to what I said before I do not think the icewall is much more dangerous on the right. I must have remembered this because the bergschrund does look a problem more to the right as you can see on the first picture. In fact I now believe while climbing the ice wall we traversed a bit to the right on the wall, although not very much.
As for the question on the post-2003 conditions you can look at my second picture and compare it to the more recent picture by Martin74 and the older picture by Icicle. You can see the icewall is in fact becoming rocky, even though there is still a direct line of ice left. I think the biggest problem compared to the conditions we found is finding a good place to cross the bergschrund. Looking at the picture by martin74 it might be necessary to begin further to the right than we did, which might be more difficult. It's hard to tell from a picture though, so I'd say just take a look for yourself.
Compared to both other pictures there is a more important difference by the way. In our case the ridge itself was quite snowy, while on the others it was rocky. This may be important for the danger of rockfall.
This is how the route looked like in september 2018