Alps June-July 2019

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Scott

 
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Alps June-July 2019

by Scott » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:51 pm

My son and I are headed for the Alps.

We will be flying into Milan Italy on 19 June and out Hamburg on 4 July, so it will be a pretty short trip (Americans have short holidays!).

We'll climb on our own part of the time, but may want guide for some climbs; unless we can find another partner or two.

Some areas we might want to visit are the areas around the Triglav, Dolomites, Grossglockner, Piz Buin, Piz Bernina, or Zugspitze. We could probably do some of the easier routes up peaks like Triglav, Zugspitze, or Grossglockner (depending on crevasse conditions) on our own, but it would be good to have another person for anything harder than that. We are pretty open as to which climbs to do.

We are both moderately experienced climbers up to UIAA V and glacier climbs to AD, but one thing I worry about is our weight difference. My son only weighs 57 kgs and I weigh 116 kgs so it would be nice for a third person on rope on crevasses climbs and to switch belays on rock.

Is anyone interested in joining us for some climbs?

In case we can't find a third person on the rope, does anyone have a guide recommendation for these areas?

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Gangolf Haub
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Re: Alps June-July 2019

by Gangolf Haub » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:33 pm

Hey Scott, nice to hear you plan to go to our local range. Sems like you target the eastern Alps. I'm not sure whether Vid reads the forum but he should be a good reference for Triglav and maybe Großglockner.

June can be too early for the big limestone walls of the Julians, the Dolomites or Wetterstein but I guess the glaciated mountains like Großglockner or Piz Bernina should be ok. I'm not sure you really want to stay on top of Zugspitze though. The routes are exciting but the fairground-like summit is a bit of an anticlimax. You'll share it with hundreds of tourists who go there by cogwheel train or one of the two cableways.

The huts will open by mid June or start of July and you'll probably get the best directions there. It also pays to post on the boards of the respective Alpine Clubs in order to get directions or partners. Here on SP I think Michael Stanton (mvs) could be of great help, since your targets are just about the stuff that he has climbed. I'm pretty sure he left the site but you'll be able to find him on facebook under his real name. You can also use the sendmail feature here ;-)

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Re: Alps June-July 2019

by Scott » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:29 am

I'm not sure you really want to stay on top of Zugspitze though. The routes are exciting but the fairground-like summit is a bit of an anticlimax. You'll share it with hundreds of tourists who go there by cogwheel train or one of the two cableways.


I know, but I need a climb where I can be back in Hamburg that same night. After staying in the hut, I was thinking of climbing up the Höllental Klettersteig, taking the cable car or train down and being to Hamburg that night.

PS, if you want to get together on any climb or trek, let me know, especially since we narrowly missed each other on the Route of the Volcanoes on La Palma.

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Re: Alps June-July 2019

by rgg » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:03 pm

Hi Scott,

I've been to all of the peaks you mention, as well as to the Dolomites. Like Gangolf wrote, you might be a tad early, so there might still be snow on routes that are clear later in the summer.

Unless there is a lot of snow, you definitely won't need a guide for Triglav. Just bring via ferrata gear and you'll be fine, and you'll have a choice of routes you can climb.

For the Dolomites, it depends on what you want to climb. There should be tons of routes in good condition by late June; if there is too much snow to your liking, you can always go for south facing routes.

As you already indicated, given your weight difference, just you and your son on a rope while crossing a crevassed glacier comes with a certain risk. The normal route to Grossglockner involves a long glacier crossing, fairly easy but with crevasses alright, but in addition there is one particularly dangerous spot. The summit is rocky, and for the descent you've got to get back on the glacier and at that point it's pretty steep. If you slip high up on the glacier, your son doesn't stand a chance to hold you. People (and whole roped up groups of climbers) have slipped there, and some have paid with their life. On the other hand, if you do get a guide, you can make the experience a whole lot more interesting by ascending the "Stüdlgrat" and descending the normal route.

Piz Buin is easier and doesn't have specific dangerous spot. Just watch out for the crevasses (again, a third person on the rope is advisable of course).

Piz Bernina has two popular routes: from the north and from the south. I've only done the south one, descending the same way. The last part of the route is a mixed rock/snow climb, with more rock later in the summer, and no crevasses to worry about. However, to get to the base of the south ridge, you've go to cross a crevassed glacier.

The Höllental route to the Zugspitze is a fine one, but snow conditions are really important if you want a safe climb. First of all, though small, the glacier that you have to cross has some dangerous crevasses. With little snow you can see them and you don't even need to rope up (but you will need crampons), with lots of snow they'll be safely covered. It's the state in between that makes the glacier most dangerous, and in June that might well be the case. Secondly, you don't want too much snow on the Via Ferrata: you want to be able to follow the cable, at least most of the route (the climbing isn't hard at all, but the cable, apart from providing safety, also shows where the route goes). As with the glacier, you might be too early in the season for that. Then again, you might get lucky. Finally, I wholeheartedly agree with Gangolf: don't spend the night in the hut on the summit. I have no idea of the cable car schedule, but if you start climbing on time, I assume you can descend the same day and either sleep somewhere in southern Germany or even take a night train from Munich to Hamburg.

Cheers, Rob

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Re: Alps June-July 2019

by Scott » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:27 pm

Unless there is a lot of snow, you definitely won't need a guide for Triglav. Just bring via ferrata gear and you'll be fine, and you'll have a choice of routes you can climb.


Yes, I was only worried about crevassed climbs. We'll be fine on rock routes.

I have no idea of the cable car schedule, but if you start climbing on time, I assume you can descend the same day and either sleep somewhere in southern Germany or even take a night train from Munich to Hamburg.


That's the plan. By the time we hit Zugspitze it will be July, so hopefully the route will be in good condition by then(?). If not, are there any other suggested climbs not far from Munich?

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Re: Alps June-July 2019

by rgg » Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:53 pm

Scott wrote:By the time we hit Zugspitze it will be July, so hopefully the route will be in good condition by then(?).


Too early to tell, but it's certainly possible. I soloed the Höllental route mid August when there wasn't much snow on the glacier so the dangers were clear to see, but that was back in 2007. Maybe you're lucky and the route will already be in good shape by the beginning of July next year.

If it isn't, an interesting option might be the "Jubiläumsgrat". This ridge is longer and the climbing is a bit harder (which is why I don't want to solo it, but with a rope it's a different matter). I suggest taking two days, starting by ascending the Alpspitze and spending the night at the (unmanned) shelter on the ridge. From the Zugspitze you can take the cable car down.

Another, much easier option, is to climb the Zugspitze from the west, via the Wiener-Neustädterhütte. That was in fact my plan B in 2007 if I couldn't safely cross the Höllental glacier.


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