/ Swiss route on the courtes
Also, plastics or leathers for winter alpine? How much snow is it realistic to expect on the approach?
April may well be ok. How much snow will just depend...If I remember correctly things were a bit lean last year.
It's fairly usual for people to make the approach in winter on skis and climb in ski mountaineering boots. They'll keep your feet nice and warm too! Actually I quite like climbing ice in my ski boots, you get tonnes of support.
I'd love to climb it too! From what I've heard and read its in better condition late winter, early spring? Probably a bit nippy for single leathers at that time of year.
I'm sure someone will be along soon who's climbed it recently, I think there was a video of a team climbing it on TV Mountain?
video & pics from april 2011
Would say that April is as good as any time for the Swiss Route. Conditions were lean last year but what routes were in condition were generally excellent and this included the Swiss Route (and the Ginat).
Be prepared to ski or snow shoe.
We plan to approach on snowshoes. Myself and Robert both have quite a bit of experience of summer alpine climbs, also the Tien Shan and (in my case) the Pamirs. But neither of us have done any alpine climbs in winter - you don't have to read that much climbing literature to see that alpine winter is quite a different beast to alpine summer.
The key thing we are trying to decide is whether we need to splash out on plastic boots or not? My feet felt fine in my leather boots at 5000m in Tien Shan and Pamirs in summer, but of course that is not Alps in winter....
I would try something abit smaller to see how you get on with what you need to do to get up it quick in later spring/possibly winterish conditions, i.e. move together on alot of stuff and be confident in your ability to descend steepish stuff when knackered.
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