Descending Weissmies, Mischabel Alps, Switzerland

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I took these shots after climbing the Weismiess (4017m). in September. If you´d like to view the complete Mischabel gallery please go here

Weissmies Charles Kenwright

Descending the impressive Serac barrier on Weissmies
copyright: charles kenwright/ http://www.openmind-images.com

Weissmies Charles Kenwright

A close-up of the impressive Serac barrier on Weissmies
copyright: charles kenwright/ http://www.openmind-images.com

Weissmies Charles Kenwright

A wide shot of the impressive Serac barrier on Weissmies showing part of the Trift Glacier
copyright: charles kenwright/ http://www.openmind-images.com

Winter´s Return, Wallis, Switzerland

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Allalinhorn Charles Kenwright

The Hohlaubgrad and the Rimpfischorn
copyright: charles kenwright/ http://www.openmind-images.com

Winter is never far away above 3000 meters. It had snowed in the night up at the Britannia Hut (3030m) and we awoke to see the rocks around the hut covered in snow. The day was cold, windy and seemed to have jumped a few months into the winter season. The strong winds, though, blew the clouds through at great speed which gave us  constantly changing views. This photograph shows the lower part of the Hohlaubgrat dropping down from the Allalinhorn and, behind that,  the lower part Rimpfischorn lit by the early morning sun.

The Allalin Glacier, Wallis, Switzerland

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Allalin Glacier Charles Kenwright

The Allalin Glacier, Wallis, Switzerland
copyright: charles kenwright/ http://www.openmind-images.com

Yesterday I posted the last couple of meters below the Strahlhorn summit; today it´s a general view taken from the Britannia hut (3030m) looking south. The large glacier is the Allalin Glacier. From left to right, the lower mountain is the Fluchthorn (3790m), behind that is the Strahlhorn (4190m) then comes the impressive Rimpfischhorn (4198m) and the Hohlaubgrad of the Allalinhorn (4027m).

Maybe from here one could ask why it took 6 hours to summit on the Strahlhorn, in fact it does´t look that far away. But what one can´t see from this vantage point is the dead ground which has to be crossed on the right of the picture into the Hohlaub Glacier and then across a couple of rocky ridges before the Allalin Glacier is even reached. In fact, from the hut, 200 valuable meters altitude are lost before the real ascent can begin.

Nearing the summit of the Strahlhorn (4190m) Wallis Alps, Switzerland

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Strahlhorn Charles Kenwright

Just under the summit of the Strahlhorn, Wallis Alps, Switzerland
copyright: charles kenwright/ http://www.openmind-images.com

I´ve just got back from a week in the Wallis Alps in Switzerland. This shot was taken just below the summit of the Strahlhorn. Although only 190 meters over the magical 4000 meter level, it took us 6 long hot and sweaty (at least for me) hours to get to this point from the Britannia hut. This area of the Wallis Alps is near the Matterhorn and also goes under the name of Mischabel.

The View from the Konkordia Hut towards the Mönchjoch

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A simply fantastic place to stand a look. The Konkordiaplatz is right in the middle of the Bernese Oberland glacier world – sort of a Piccadilly Circus. But no prizes for guessing the country!

Konkordia Hut, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

copyright: charles kenwright/ http://www.openmind-images.com

Finsteraarhorn (4273.9m) Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

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I´ve just got back from a week in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland. I would guess the most famous mountain in the Bernese Oberland is the Eiger. But the Eiger is not the only mountain there – it´s not  the highest and doesn´t even reach the magical 4000m altitude! The highest is the Finsteraarhorn with 4273.9 meters. Last Wednesday I climbed it from the Finsteraarhron Hut via it´s Southwest Flank and Northwest Ridge – the normal way up it.

The top photo is a general view of the Finsteraarhorn taken the next day from the Grünhornlücke, the glacier pass which connects the Fiescher Glacier with Konkordiaplatz. The Hut is down to the right of the mountain in the rocky area. We climbed up to the glacier on the right, through the Ice fall and traversed up to the prominent ridge coming down directly from the summit. Here, at the Frühstücksplatz – breakfast spot) we crossed onto the steeper glacier to it´s left.

Finsteraarhorn, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

copyright: charles kenwright/ http://www.openmind images.com

We then worked our way up to the saddle at the foot of the ridge which runs down to the left from the summit and is clearer to see on the next photograph. This is the famous Hugisattel, named after Josef Hugi who with the two guides, Jakob Leuthold and Johann Währen, reached it on the first ascent on August 10th 1929. Here Hugi decided to stay and his two guides went on the reach the summit.

Finsteraarhorn, Bernese Obeland, Switzerland

copyright: charles kenwright/ http://www.openmind images.com

The character of the mountain now changes from the steep glacier terrain to one of rock and snow. The ridge looks at first sight rather daunting but as we got to grips with it we found it to be of mostly sound rock. The climbing is of a reasonable alpine grade, I and II, which allowed us to move together. We kept our crampons on because there is a fair amount of snow and ice along the ridge. The route runs either on the crest or a little below on the Southwest Flank. It´s all rather exposed but not difficult and once we got used to the rock, great fun, often with  hands on firm granite and crampons biting reassuringly into firm snow or ice. We reached the summit cross without incident and had a short break there. Bad weather was forecast for the afternoon, so we down climbed the ridge back to the Hugisattel. I find down climbing often tricker than going in the other direction and I need to keep focussed – especially as we were all moving together on one rope. We could use rock spikes to throw the rope behind and slings to act as moving protection, But non the less one has to be careful. Alpine climbing is always a balance between speed and safety. If you take too long you run into soft glacier bridges or maybe be still on the mountain when the afternoon storms may come in. People brought up on sport climbing with bolts every few meters often have a hard time getting used to the long run outs without protection and the need for speed. So – up and down as quickly as possible!

We had a short snow shower at the “breakfast place” but fortunately the weather held until we were back at the hut.

 

Piz Palü Traverse

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Because I´ve not posted anything much to do with mountains recently, I thought I´d post 2 pictures today. They are both of Piz Palü (3905m) in the Bernina Alps, Switzerland which I traversed a few years ago. The top picture was taken during the traverse about half way along.

Piz Palü

copyright: charles Kenwright/ http://www.openmind-images.com

And the bottom shows Piz Palü, the mountain massive on the left in total. After leaving the Refugio Marco e Rosa early in the morning, we traversed it from right to left, as seen in the photo. The ice fall on the left of the shot shows our descent route. We crossed the glacier to where I took the photo and then headed up to the Diavolleza Hut.

Piz Palü

copyright: charles kenwright/ http://www.openmind-images.com