/ Hardest 4.000er in the Alps list...is there such thing?

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cariva - on 12 Apr 2012
Recovering from a broken ankle and searching on previous threads for a target high on my wishlist (Grandes Jorasses – voie normal), I bumped into a thread where the always wise and helpful Luca Signorelli mentioned that the GJ is the 2nd or 3rd hardest major 4.000er overall. So the trivia question came out (even though I am not really into that sort of thing): Is there an official ranking of the hardest 4.000ers in the Alps? Does anybody know anything about such ranking? Unofficial lists and personal experiences are also accepted ;-), and yes, to have all the possible variables taken into consideration.
Cheers!
MG - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to cariva: I don't think there can be anything official. Generally the Aiguille Blanche is considered the hardest of the main peaks, by some margin. The Lauterarhorn, Aiguille Verte and some of the Zermatt peaks are also quite awkward. Some of the sub-peaks are technically harder than the main ones. I think Dom has the greatest amount of ascent needed without mechanical help.
Kid Spatula - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to cariva:

The Aiguille du Diables I think is pretty much the hardest.
cb294 - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to Kid Spatula:

If you include the minor 4000ers, Mont Brouillard and some of the other Mont Blanc satellites probably have the hardest normal routes.

CB
Ron Walker - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to cariva:

I'm sure you well know this but many popular 4,000 metre guide books have lists of the effort required as well as the seriousness and the technical difficulties.
Richard Goedeke for example has a height list, a grade list and a sweat list. If memory serves me correctly, Martin Moran's 4,000 metre book has something similar with discussion on the various lists - could be wrong though!
BTW the Grande Jorasses is quite far down the grade list in Goedeke's book and I haven't got Martin's book to hand!
davy_boy - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to cariva: Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey seems to be regarded as one of the hardest 4000m+ peaks we bit on summit post about it here. http://www.summitpost.org/aiguille-blanche-de-peuterey/151151
Garbh Coire - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to cariva: Worth bearing in mind the Shreckhorn. Not comparable with the Aiguille Blanche for numerous reasons (or harder than other peaks in the Mont Blanc Range i.e. Aiguille Verte), but i've heard or read somewhere that it is considered the hardest mountain to climb in Switzerland by its easiest route. From experience, it's a good one to do!
Solaris - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to cariva:
From what I have read, the ABP and the Schreckhorn are reckoned by many the 1st and 2nd hardest respectively, even in the best conditions.

I've not done the former but all the people I know who have done it have had epics: it's a very serious peak by any route. The Schreckhorn is not particularly serious but it is reasonably long, quite sustained, has rock up to IV (iirc) and requires competence. Brilliant route!




Solaris - on 12 Apr 2012
In reply to Kid Spatula:

Yes, technically. But is it really a 4000m peak or is it a top?! Either way, definitely one to have on the hit list.
Simon4 - on 15 Apr 2012
In reply to Garbh Coire:
> Worth bearing in mind the Shreckhorn. ... considered the hardest mountain to climb in Switzerland by its easiest route.

Not quite sure why it is regarded as easier than the Lauteraarhorn, which seems even more isolated and difficult. Of course anyone who could summit both at once by going up the Shreckhorn and down the Lauteraarhorn would definitely be the man!


jon on 15 Apr 2012
In reply to Simon4:

I think the Schreckhorn was probably the harder of the two before the installation of the bolt belays every 25m on the upper aręte. I'm sure it isn't now.
David Rose - on 15 Apr 2012
In reply to cariva: Bolt belays every 25m? O tempora. O mores. There were none when I did it in descent in 1992, after climbing the south pillar. Those were the days.
Simon4 - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jon:

> I think the Schreckhorn was probably the harder of the two before the installation of the bolt belays every 25m on the upper aręte.

Reminiscent of the staple belays on the top of the Dent d'Herrens, or the via Ferrata to get past the receeded glacier on the Biancongrat on the Piz Bernina. Swiss guides do love murdering the impossible, or rather murdering the merely tricky or somewhat dangerous, to reduce a classic route or peak to a commodity.

Very hard to stop them doing this I suppose, though I think they failed with the Zmuttgrat on the Matterhorn some years ago. Mea culpa, I have to confess to using both the aids on the Piz Bernina and the Dent d'Herrens.
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Luca Signorelli - on 28 Apr 2012
In reply to cariva:

1) No, there-s not official list

2) I think that, given the recent changes in conditions and the shift in traffic towards more fashionable areas, Pic Luigi Amedeo, Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey and the Grandes Jorasses are by far and large still the most difficult of all the 4000s. On the GJ there's been a definite shift on the W ridge becoming a "normal route" of sort, as the official normal route is now slowly becoming just used in descent (btw - the Boccalatte hut is falling to bits - more of this later on). The Blanche is being climbed again - from time to time - from routes different than the SE or NW ridge (the N face), mainly because the Monzino hut is up and running and with a great management, but it's still far from popular. The Pic Luigi Amedeo is seeing a bit of traffic from people trying the Brouillard ridge, but last year over 5 attempts I've heard of 3 ended up calling rescue... you go figuring out....


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