/ Solo 4000er.

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Hendofan - on 10 Dec 2012
Hi

Im wanting to climb a 4000 meter mountain for my 30th birthday in May. I have previous experience in the alps, mostly touristy routes up popular mountains, Blanc, Dufour etc.
I want to do a mountain that will test my skills but due to lack of friends I can do solo. Does anyone have any advice on a suitable mountain, I wanted to do the Dom but the crevasse fields on the way down are concerning me. Any help or advice would be appreciated.
chubbs2 - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan:

The Monch and the Breithorn were both steady solos, but might not be long or technical enough for you. Allalinhorn should be OK as well. Not sure how technical you want it if you're on your own.
Darron - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan:

traverse of the Pelvoux might fit the bill
Kid Spatula - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan:

Theres a few massive crevasses on the way up the Allalinhorn.....
MG - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Darron:
> (In reply to Hendofan)
>
> traverse of the Pelvoux might fit the bill


Apart from the 4000m bit!
streapadair - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan:

I had a good (understatement) day solo on the Rimpfischhorn WSW ridge (PD+) in August. There are photos in an 'Alps 2012' gallery (towards the end) on my SmugMug site if you're interested.

I'm not aware of any crevasses on the Fluhalp approach. There's c75m of grade I/II snow/ice on the last 200m, followed by some quite high-grade scrambling to the summit, so it's not an amble.

I started from the Berghaus Fluhalp, which is very pleasant, but if doing it again I think I would bivvy at the Pfulwe col (2½ hrs from the Blauherd lift station).

Mark Collins - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan: A wintery Hornli ridge (no glaciers and therefore no crevasses).
summitjunkie - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan: Alphubel (4208m) is a fairly straightforward 4000er for a solo. Approach from Tasch and take the route via the Alphubeljoch. If you're driving you can park at just over 2200m and do it in a day, though you'll need to be fit and acclimatised. Stop at the Taschhutte (v.nice)if the 2000m ascent in a day is an issue. No crevasses if sticking to the route described by Martin Moran, though you'll ascend a couple of steep slopes and traverse below a fairly avalanchable slope so be sure of your met.

Jealous that you got the Dufour. Tried for it from the Monte Rosahutte this year but got 'delhi-belly' at 3800m so had to retreat. Couldn't leave Zermatt (only had five days there) without doing a 4000er and Matterhorn wasn't in condition so Alphubel was a nice consolation in that once I got my bowels under control I could do it in one day.
jhw - on 10 Dec 2012
I heartily recommend the South ridge of the Lagginhorn (AD+).

Here are photos of when I did it:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=201971
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=201970
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=201968

It isn't 4,000m, but look at the Crete du Plan arete:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=206116
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=206119
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=206117
There are some steep bits on that one though.

It also isn't worth 4,000m, but look at the Portjengrat:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=201983
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=201984
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=201975

There is one very exposed step on the Portjengrat. You can also do the PD S ridge of the Weissmies as an out and back from the Almageller hut, which is the same hut from which you do the Portjengrat.
Joe G - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Darron)
> [...]
>
>
> Apart from the 4000m bit!

My mate put his foot through a snow bridge into a crevasse when I did the traverse of the Pelvoux...
jhw - on 10 Dec 2012
For avoidance of doubt, glaciated snow routes are OUT if you're solo.

Now if I could just follow my own advice...shuffle shuffle
Darron - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to MG:

Whats 50m between friends?
Edradour - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to summitjunkie:

Which route avoids the glacier? I'm not being facetious I genuinely don't know how you would climb the alphubel and avoid the glacier. We did it via the rotgrat but the descent was glaciated and pretty heavily crevasses too.

To the OP - I would second the Hornli. No slots to fall in there...
summitjunkie - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Fickalli: Hi Alli, OP was not necessarily after a glacier-free approach but a crevasse-free approach. Coming from the west via the Chummibodmen valley you first hit the Alphubelgletscher at about 3250m. First 200-250m ascent are on dry glacier then, south of the 3510 spot, you make for the point where the rock face from the east meets the snow-slope at about 3600m. From here, take the gentle slope right up onto the Alphubeljoch.

From the col at 3772m make WNW for the 3904 spot then follow NW, keeping close into the rockface (avalanche risk), into the coire then straight up the obvious couloir onto the summit. When I did it in July this year I came off the same way in a storm in the dark and felt quite safe (though I'm quite confident in night nav and probably a couple of bikkies short of a picnic)!

As long as the OP takes this route allowing plenty of time to get off in daylight they should be fine. I take it that when you went up via the Rotgrat you came off down the Weingartenglecher which, from looking at the map, is heavily crevassed?
walts4 - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan: Dent Blanche.

If the ridge is free of verglas, should be steady enough.
goatee - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan: I have soloed Mont Blanc via the Gouter route. It is relatively objective danger free. Conditions are everything. The Allalinhorn is a good bet as well. There are some cravasses but usually there is a well compacted track en route. Again go early and choose good conditions. Check out my blog from summer 2010 for the Mont Blanc report.
Stephen
Hendofan - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to summitjunkie:
Thanks for the advice guys, I think hornli may be a bit too much for me esp on my own.. I've already done blanc via the gouter which was amazing, the two ridges to finish made my trip.

Summitjunkie hard luck on dufour my friend didn't make it but another group of let me rope up and lead the sibersattle, i got really lucky. I'll do some research and let you guys no. I'm thinking a 2/3 day accent to really challenge my mind and body.
Edradour - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to summitjunkie:
> (In reply to Fickalli) I take it that when you went up via the Rotgrat you came off down the Weingartenglecher which, from looking at the map, is heavily crevassed?

I can't remember to be honest. From a cursory look at google maps we came off the summit on the SE ridge down to the Alphubeljoch and then head W down to the hut and on to Tasch. It doesn't name the glacier on google maps but it was pretty heavily crevassed so I wouldn't recommend it to the OP.

jhw - on 11 Dec 2012
The Lagginhorn S ridge is a relatively escapeable, un-glaciated, but very fun and at times quite hardcore feeling climb with a superb situation. It's still really serious and for example, the descent catches a lot of people unawares (I got lost on it and ended up in some quite precarious positions, and I'm still not sure which is the right way down - but others had no problem. It's easy to find the descent route if you came up it the same way, but less so here where you're completing a traverse). Basically if you get it wrong you're exposed to loose rock, rockfall and crevasse risk so research it better than I did. The approach to the climb from the Hohsaas couldn't be easier and the climb is easily escapeable before, I recall, the third gendarme (check the Alpine Club guidebook to verify this), and the escapeable climbing gives you a good idea of what's to come so you can get a sense of whether you're up for it. Take a rope, an abseil is needed, I recall.

Another advantage of this route is that it's close to the Weissmies south ridge, which you can do in another trip, staying at the Almageller en route. Surprised it's not suggested above or did I miss it - surely one of the great soloable easy 4,000m routes of the Alps. Just don't try to complete a traverse back to the Hohsaas side - sorry, it's gotta be an out and back.

I'm surprised to see stuff like the Allalinhorn, Alphubel and Mont Blanc 3 Monts route above, as I'd have thought these are potentially treacherous to solo, but who the heck am I? Dom totally out of the question

Chesher cat on 11 Dec 2012
The Breithorn is a cracking mountain to do a solo on. Fantastic views from the top. Was lucky enough to do a winter climb of it a few years back.

The Allalinhorn like others have said is a fine one also.

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summitjunkie - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to jhw:

> I'm surprised to see stuff like the Allalinhorn, Alphubel and Mont Blanc 3 Monts route above, as I'd have thought these are potentially treacherous to solo, but who the heck am I?

Agree re: Allainhorn and 3 Monts, however read p134 Martin Morans "The 4000m Peaks of the Alps" for description of safest route onto Alphubel which (quote) "...avoids the crevasse problems on the Langflue route." I found this easy PD- route to be crevasse-free and eminently 'soloable' but, to paraphrase yourself, who the heck am I? ;-)

p.s. looks like the OP is after a much more demanding route anyway, so proposing Alphubel is now academic anyway.

Hendofan - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to summitjunkie:
I think if I could get a couple of Alphebel's I would be happy. The lifts/trains etc cost loads however.

Im looking into Gran Paradiso as that seems like the type of 2 day climb into the wilderness im looking for.

p.s Martin Morans book had me sweating trying to keep up with the guide times. I couldnt keep up!
cb294 - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan:

Gran Paradiso should soloable in May (avalanche danger must of course be assessed at the time). No crevasses on the normal route, but not much wilderness either. The two huts sleep about 100 climbers each and will be full if GP is still skiable.

CB
summitjunkie - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan:
> (In reply to summitjunkie)
>
> p.s Martin Morans book had me sweating trying to keep up with the guide times. I couldnt keep up!

Tell me about it! His Alphubel route as I described earlier is quoted as being about 5hrs from the hut (1500m ascent) and under 4hrs back. Admittedly, I started 500m lower at the carpark and have been called a lardy b'stard before now (though I'm by no means unfit mountaineering-wise) and, admittedly, I got caught in a whiteout on the way back and then nightfall, but even in perfect conditions I'd have had to jog up and down the mountain to meet those timings hut-to-hut. For safety, I'd add a good 25% on to any of his timings. ;-)
jon on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to summitjunkie:

> about 5hrs from the hut (1500m ascent) and under 4hrs back

300m / hour is a very average ascent time.
I'd have said this was a bit more relevant:

> I started 500m lower at the carpark
> I got caught in a whiteout on the way back and then nightfall

But who the heck am I?

Solaris - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to summitjunkie:
> (In reply to Hendofan)
> For safety, I'd add a good 25% on to any of his timings. ;-)

For safety, I'd be aiming to meet or better Moran's times...
summitjunkie - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to summitjunkie)
>
> [...]
>
> 300m / hour is a very average ascent time.
> I'd have said this was a bit more relevant:
Agreed - my point was always give yourself plenty of time to complete safely
>
> [...]
Re: starting point, weather, night nav - very happy to do it for myself, and solo, on a PD- route where crevassing is not a problem. I started late, finished late and knew that the weather would change whilst I was still on the mountain. That's my choice and my decision. Was I bothered or worried? No - pushing the envelope a bit whilst remaining within your knowledge and capabilities, and within the capabilities of your clothing and equipment is acceptable. Would I have done the same if not solo? (Dependant on the knowledge and capabilities of my companion(s), of course)no - that would be risking their safety and mine.
> But who the heck am I?
Exactly!
jon on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to summitjunkie:

And my point was that Martin's times are not fast.
summitjunkie - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Solaris: Agreed, that is the accepted thinking and will be expounded by all carnet holders because, in general, Alpinism is dictated by early starts and early finishes, by moving fast and light, and by getting to the summit and off before the sun has had time to do its damage. However this is not always the case. Depending on where you are, what time of the year it is, and whats been happening met-wise, the conditions underfoot and on slope can be just as good and safe at 4pm as they are at 8am.

My point, as in earlier reply, was always give yourself plenty of time to complete safely. So, if you find you're often outside the times quoted in a guide plan extra time in so that you are off the mountain at a time dictated by time of year, conditions, weather and your own capabilities.
summitjunkie - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to jon: Very true, Jon, depending how old you are and your physical condition, but I'm not going to stop mountaineering just because I can't always meet the times quoted in the guide book. ;-)
tom.fox on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan: good plan brilliant trip- no uplift no ski paraphernalia in the val savaranche and a brilliant hut-the Chabod,should be a good trail apart from lower dry glacier.
jhw - on 11 Dec 2012
Also like why are you focusing on 4,000m when there are ample suitable routes below this? And what acclimatising are you doing? It's not clear to me from your posts whether you've taken this into account but if you just head straight up to 4,000m, you'll have a very rough day indeed, and if it's a ridge route with prolonged sections at about that altitude (such as the Lagginhorn), you're going to have serious problems, and if it's significantly above 4,000m, say 4,100m, you're also going to have serious problems.

Gran Paradiso from my understanding is a classic example of a route lots of people solo and every year a few of them buy the farm on it, but I could be wrong - WTHAI?
jhw - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to jhw:

Also - I might be wrong but from my point of view some of the heavily glaciated snow routes mentioned are also a bit lacking if you're looking for something that will "test your skills", as you say, whereas the Weissmies and Lagginhorn south ridges are actually reasonably compelling (totally escapeable) climbing without requiring you to mess about on wet glaciers solo which believe me, from personal experience, is the definition of Not Fun.
jhw - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to jhw:

And one further thing - if you are dead set on a snow plod and willing to assume a degree of crevasse risk, I found the Nadelhorn normal route soloable in the conditions I found it last July, because there was a very clear track across the main glacier section, but again the advice is that there are sometimes very serious crevasses in this area, even the hut guardian does not like to solo here, and you really shouldn't. Also this route is about 4,300m so if you go straight up there you're not going to have fun. You'll be dizzy and puking (while in a crevasse).
jon on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to jhw:

Yes, I was just thinking that the Chabod route is not exactly the safest way up the Gran Paradiso - even by cutting out low onto the ridge instead of taking the glacier all the way. The approach from the Chabod to that point is very crevassed. Most folk soloing the GP do so from the VE hut. However, either way I struggle to see that it is << like the type of 2 day climb into the wilderness im looking for >>

I think the OP is basically hindered by the fact his birthday is in May - bloody parents, eh?.
jhw - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to jon:

Ah, I missed that constraint! I'm sure that the mountains will be willing to take into account the fact that the OP needs to climb in May when they determine the conditions then.
Solaris - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to summitjunkie:
> (In reply to jon)
> But who the heck am I?
> Exactly!

Do you really want an answer?
summitjunkie - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Solaris:
> (In reply to summitjunkie)
> [...]
>
> Do you really want an answer?

Do I already know the answer? ;-)
Solaris - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to summitjunkie:

You seem to now!
summitjunkie - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Solaris:
> (In reply to summitjunkie)
>
> You seem to now!

...and did before - amazing this t'internet thing isn't it.
...but I still can't do a damn thing to help those users on the forum who don't seem to know who 'the heck' they are. Perhaps they could look themselves up on t'internet too! ;-)
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Martin Haworth on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan: How about Elbrus, 5643m.
Hendofan - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Martin Haworth:
Ive already done Elbrus, The altitude was hard but the mountain was pretty dull. I think one day at altitude normally sorts me out which is why something like paradiso may suit me well. The Lagginhorn sounds interesting along with the variation of Alphubel.
goatee - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan: Perhaps if you put up a profile people would be better able to advise you.
Hendofan - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to goatee:good idea. Only problem is there isn't much to tell, all the planning and training that goes into each mountain I hardly take any pictures.
I think gran paradiso or lagginhorn via west ridge are the best bet. Sounds like there may be some cravasses early in the season on both but they can be avoided. Its really up to the mountain if I can climb or not.
Hendofan - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan:
Can anyone advice me if Gran paradisio is suitable for a solo accent?

Looking at the route the summit ridge appears to have a ledge right before the summit where the larger rock your facing overhangs, that seems pretty exposed to someone who is unroped??
Orgsm on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan:

Many of the peaks suggested could be done solo. The risk is that if you do it when the glacier is wet, you may fall into an unseen crevasse, and there will be no partner or rope to save you.

Gran Paradiso get's rather crowded on the summit. A friend almost got knocked off by another climbing party. Without their partner looking out for them, and beign quick with the rope; it could ahve been a different story.

Why not post on here, or the other climbing forums, asking if anyone would like to join you for a trip to the Alps? Be honest about your experience and goals and see how you get on. Otherwise get yourself down to a local mountaineering club. Must clubs, including my own, have at least one trip a year to the Alps.
Sam Simpson - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan: I soloed Gran Paradiso it was absolutely fine up until the final 50 metres, slightly airy traverse, but very easy.. This is all bolted for roped parties. I think there might have been a less airy way around to the left but iam not to sure. It is a very easy scramble but as I said very airy.
Hendofan - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to samsimpson: So did you feel the ridge was suitable for an unroped person? I have some slight expeirence on alpine ridges When I did Dufour I went via the sibersattle and the ridge to the summit was airy, also the ridges on Blanc, would they be compareable to those you think?
Hendofan - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to A Game of Chance: That is my main concern, my initial hope was to do the Dom but without a rope its too dangerous. I put up a thread but nobody responded. I think the Lagginhorn and Weissmies may be possible in a 2/3 day trip, I just want to aviod swis as im skint and the mrs doesnt appreciate these trips as it is without me spending 500/600 on it.
Sam Simpson - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan: To be honest I would go with Game of Chances Advise and try a get a partner. There will be plenty of keen people about. The top was very crowded this little traverse was fine, but to be perfectly honest, I would say grade 3 scramble no more for about 50metres... This goes right, Not to sure if anyone has gone left for a slightly less airy way to the summit? Up to you I am going with it is suitable to solo, depends what you have done and what you are happy with... I was fine really but it is a very big drop beneath you.
Sam Simpson - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to samsimpson: not 50 metres - 10metres. the rest of the ridge is very easy and not really that exposed.
BruceM - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan:
Lagginhorn and Weissmies these are good safe solos which I've done several times. You just can't do the traverse of the Weissmies. But the views are the same. Good fun. I did Lagginhorn from the valley last year. So a fairly easy day. About 2 hours from the camping ground to the hut where most other punters start then 2-3 more to the summit prob. I did Wiessmiess from a high bivvy the few days before. All completely free, not too hard, and good fun. Do the Jagginhorn Via Ferrata on the way down from the Lagginhorn and scare yourself silly. You will need a VF kit for this. It is not an easy solo without. Unless you have balls of steel :)
Full moon addict - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to streapadair:

I too did rimpfischorn solo. I bivvied at the col as suggested which was great. left my stuff in a bin liner and returned to the bivy for the walk down. an excellent outing with no crevasses so safe. the scramble was icy when I did it.
Orgsm on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan:

Does it have to be 4000m? There are some very fine 3000-4000m peaks which will test your skills, but without quite as much risk.
Hendofan - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to samsimpson: ok well grade 3 is certainly within my ability. Last question and I'm sorry to bug you but having done the route your advice is invaluable and appreciated, im planning on doing the route in may, so the traverse being icy is a possibility, are there good hand/foot grips. The picture I saw looked like he just edged along by his feet.
Hendofan - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to BruceM: yeah I think that will be better, its still a couple days in the mountains and a summit or 2, for sure will be camping as the trains were about £180 iirc. My mate dropped out right before the last trip n that put me off wanting to rely on someone else.
Sam Simpson - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan: Yes I remember there being plenty of good grips for you r hands, I really enjoyed it actually, obviously take it slowly as it will be busy. I am just interested to see if anyone went via a different way round? This way is very well bolted as i mentioned before so i cannot imagine why anyone would.. except to avoid the exposure whilst soloing. It is fine really.
jhw - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to BruceM:

You can solo some of the other routes on the Jegihorn quite easily, in big boots even. I did and I'm not a very good rock climber.
jhw - on 17 Dec 2012
Also, if you camp in the Saas valley you get free lifts (necessary for the Hohsaas lift)

jhw - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan:

Re "mate" dropping out - I've had this happen too and empathise with how infuriating it is. I would advise that if your only prospective partners are unreliable or in fact make you uneasy in any way whatsoever - just head to Chamonix solo and pick up a partner in the OHM.

Don't go to the Alps expressly with the intention of soloing the entire time, I imagine it would be miserable if done for more than 5 days or so and you inevitably begin gravitating towards the kind of glaciated stuff you really should be doing in a pair.

There is some quite emphatic advice on here from some very experienced climbers and guides not to go near the Gran Paradiso solo - scroll up if you missed it the first time.
Sam Simpson - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to jhw: Yes I would like to back this up to be absolutely honest.
Hendofan - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to jhw: thanks, the fact I'm having doubts coupled with your guys opinions I'll have to give gran paradiso a miss. I'm looking at the weismiss and the laginhorn. Thanks for all the advice guys, always good to get the opinions of those who have gone before. Just got to remember to go all the way down after laginhorn to acend weissmiss from the south.
jhw - on 17 Dec 2012
You could go to the Weissmies first, try to make a friend in the Almageller hut and do the two day Weissmies - Lagginhorn traverse which is superb and the Lagginhorn traverse is soloable.
altirando - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan: Reading all the responses is making me feel guilty, having soloed peaks like the Allalinhorn and Breithorn, and peaks like the Strahlhorn and Paradiso with a teenage daughter. The point about the Allalinhorn is surely the well trodden trough in summer = but in May? Skis surely. Postpone the celebration until the summer. Then perhaps M.Rosa from the Italian side?
BruceM - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan:
> (In reply to jhw) Just got to remember to go all the way down after laginhorn to acend weissmiss from the south.

You don't have to go all the way down to link these routes. There is a high level traverse path that cuts around at the level of Weissmies Hut or just below.
Hendofan - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to BruceM: oh that's good I'll keep an eye out. Does anyone know what conditions are like early may? I love challenging conditions but slushy snow is no fun.
Simon Preuss - on 19 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan:
Whether the Rimpfischhorn is a safe/crevasse free option depends on where you approach from/descend to:

When approaching the col from the direction of the Britanniahütte I seem to remember traversing a steep-ish slope above a yawning crevasse.

When descending the glacier in the direction of the Täschhütte I ended up falling fully into a hidden crevasse (roped up).
StuartCJones - on 21 Dec 2012
In reply to Hendofan:

I'm 30 in June. And have no friends either. Wanna climb Dom?
jonesieboy on 21 Dec 2012
In reply to BruceM:

Seriously - 4 to 5 hours from Saas Grund to the summit of the Lagginhorn without uplift?? That's beyond impressive!
Hendofan - on 23 Dec 2012
In reply to StuartCJones: yeah man. When do you want to go out there?

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