Huw and I have been out in the Alps for the last week and a half, enjoying a bit of a boys holiday in Switzerland! Our aim was to go out and enjoy ourselves, to be those people that seem to know what they are doing and can stroll around doing things properly with a big smile on their faces. We both remembered those people from our early forays into the Alps, when we had been mostly terrified, and figured that age had to have some benefits!
We headed to Andermatt initially and climbed the South Ridge of the Salbitschijen – a 17 pitch rock route that goes at about VS-HVS but is bolted and finishes on an amazing summit spire, a tad under 3000m high.
Having achieved our objectives on our first route we stuck to a similar formula for the next two routes, big long rock climbs leading to spikey summits in a beautiful Alpine environment. We climbed the SE Ridge of the Gross Furkahorn and then the following day the S Ridge of the Gross Bielenhorn.
We had an amazing run of blue skies and perfect weather, consistently beat the guidebook times and thoroughly enjoyed every pitch as we were climbing it as well as in retrospect – a massive improvement on our early forays which had seemed to only be Type 2 fun!
At the end of the week we decided we wanted to finish our trip off with a snowy 4000m peak somewhere. A bit of research showed us that we needed a quick hit to make the most of the weather forecast so we drove to Zermatt and climbed Pollux (4090m). It was pretty busy as it was a Sunday but the crowds didn’t detract from the enjoyment and again we had some fabulous weather. We filled our free afternoon beforehand with a trip to the Alpine Museum and a blast up the Zermatt Via Ferratta – lots of fun – and then on our final day went paragliding in the morning in Verbier (made me feel very sick – unfortunately I don’t think it is the sport for me!) and sport climbing at a local crag in the afternoon. (Huw did most of the climbing whilst I recovered my composure!)
Thanks for an ace trip buddy – all great CPD! (Continuing Professional Development)