In August I headed to Chamonix for a week of climbing with Jeff. As soon as I landed in Geneva we headed to Cham, got changed, and headed right up the Aiguille du Midi! It was less than 24 hours between being in a meeting in NYC until when we were climbing on the Cosmiques Arête. The weather was perfect and we spent the night at the Cosmiques hut, where we got cold beer, hot food, and comfy beds. Perfect start to a climbing trip!
We started out the next morning before sunrise in order to beat any crowds, and hiked over to Pointe Lachenal and climbed Contamine, a really high quality 8 pitch route on excellent granite. By the time we were rapping, another dozen or so people were on the route. Good thing we started early!
After the climb, we crossed the glacier and spent the night at the Rifugio Torino on the Italian side. The views on the crossing were incredible, so much to climb!
We kicked off the next morning early and headed up to the base of the Dent du Géant, a massive spire topping out at just over 4000m. The weather was supposed to turn in the early afternoon, and a few other parties going for the climb turned around at the base. We headed up, knowing the route had fixed ropes and that we could turn around at any point. We climbed fast, using the fixed ropes for aid. By the time we summited it was hailing and the wind was howling, and an electrical storm was beginning to form. We rapped as fast as possible (no summit beers this time!) and made it down safe and sound.
After the Dent du Géant we had a beer at the hut and took the cable car down into Courmayeur. Grabbed a bite to eat, and then realized we couldn’t buy bus tickets back to Cham because neither of us brought out passports. Whoops! It took a little while, but we managed to hitchhike our way back. After three days in the mountains, it was time for some Après climb back in town.
After a day off, it looked like the weather was going to prevent any big climbs nearby, but further east in Switzerland things looked to be lining up perfectly. Jeff proposed a traverse of the Matterhorn, going up the Liongrat route on the Italian side, spending a night at the Carrel hut before summiting the next day, and then down the Hörnli into Zermatt. The perfect weather at the peak of the season meant that about 100 people were on the route, but by starting early both days we never got stuck behind slow parties and were able to top out with incredible views of the Swiss and Italian alps.
The next day in Zermatt we took the cog rail above town and climbed the Egg route on the Riffelhorn, a really fun 6 pitch route. We spent the rest of the day enjoying the food and drinks Zermatt had to offer. We looked a bit strange walking around in our boots, but thats just how it goes in towns like that!
The trip wrapped up with a crossing back into Italy (this time by tram and hiking, rather than traversing a 4000m mountain!) and heading back to Cham for a dinner of Raclette paired with French wines. I think I can get used to this type of climbing!