/ Alpine north faces

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Alex90 - on 25 Jun 2013
How hard do Alpine north faces tend to be (in terms of trad grade/scottish winter grades...I know they are hard obviously?!?

I know it's a general question but for example the Tour Ronde, what would the scottish equivilent grade be? Likewise something like the Schmidt route on the Matterhorn, what is the hardest rock/scottish winter grade you are likely to find on there?

I can't find any topos for those sorts of routes

Thanks




a lakeland climber on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Alex90:

They vary obviously but friends who've done the Schmidt route (a long time ago and they wished they hadn't even then) reckoned it was technical 4 at the most but on poor rock and with little protection.

I've heard grades of the 1938 route on the Eiger range from summer VS to winter VI depending on conditions.

ALC
galpinos - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Alex90:

North Face of the Tour Ronde - Scottish II (II overall with potentially a passage of III through the narrows depending on conditions).
Lew13 - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Alex90:

Like above, Tour Ronde is no harder than III.
BenTiffin - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Alex90: The Badile NE Face Cassin Route was about HVS 5a.

The Comici on the Cima Grande in the Dolomites was E2/3 5c.
Goucho on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Alex90: Alpine North Faces are very 'condition' dependent so the grades can vary by quite a large amount.

As ALC has commented, the Schmidt route on the Matterhorn North Face can be about 4 on average, although when I did it, it was heavily iced up, which made it harder, but also much better.

As for the Eiger well it can be anything from VS/HVS, to impossible - although that could just be my own personal experiences of 2 horrendous attempts :-)

The general rule of thumb on North Faces, is expect the unexpected, and in poor weather, grades go out of the window.
cannichoutdoors - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Lew13: Tour Ronde is a good first north face. It's a short walk from the cable car, relatively low (3800m) and has an easy way off (PD-). I'd agree it's no harder than scottish III overall, but in lean icy conditions it is a lot of front pointing and quite tiring if you are used to shorter winter routes than 300m.
alasdair19 on 29 Jun 2013
In reply to Alex90: the walker is e2 ish with some abbing and rope tricks. there is about 30 pitchs can't really remember most people solo/move together to below the first hard bit at about 1/3 height.

the easiest route on the n face of the dru is HVS if you can route find round the harder crux crack which is e1 ish.


Most people climb these routes as rock climbs in stable weather. This can become a waiting game and some years things never come together.

the more experienced will climb these sorts of routes in more challenging conditions check out will sims/john griffiths photos of a very snowy walker spur for example.

During several of the summers i've spent in the alps snowy n faces have been impossible as its just been far far far too hot.

climbing an unfrozen snow arete on the frendo is not something i'll do again.
Ian Parsons - on 30 Jun 2013
I'm afraid I'd quibble at E2-ish for The Walker; I'm sure there's nothing on it that would equate to Vector, or the Rasp, or Scoop Wall. With big boots and a rucsac it might feel as hard, of course, but that's a different matter. I would have thought that VS/HVS was about right. The same for The Croz, but that's a harder route overall.
David Rose - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to Alex90: A lot of these routes are not sustained. The hardest moves on the Badile, for example, would rate 5a, but most is VS or quite a bit easier. The Gervasutti Pillar is HVS 5a, with one pitch of A0/E1. But after the first 400m, most of it is easy: Scottish 3 at most.
GridNorth - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to Ian Parsons: This highlights nicely why it is not a good idea to apply UK grades to alpine routes. I've done the Walker and would agree that the hardest pitches were about HVS5b. I've also done the Rebuffat route on the Midi which I thought warranted E15b so how can a route that is longer, more serious, demand more skills, not just get up but also get off, look easier, at least on paper, when using UK grades.
Al Evans on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to davidoldfart:
> (In reply to Alex90) A lot of these routes are not sustained. The hardest moves on the Badile, for example, would rate 5a, but most is VS or quite a bit easier. The Gervasutti Pillar is HVS 5a, with one pitch of A0/E1. But after the first 400m, most of it is easy: Scottish 3 at most.

Are you talking in winter? I don't remember any artificial pitches or even aid pulling on the Gervasutti? And that was back in 1969!
Bruce Hooker - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to Lew13:
> (In reply to Alex90)
>
> Like above, Tour Ronde is no harder than III.

A lot of people get killed on it though, often as groups. It has happened to British parties more than once.

jon on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to davidoldfart)
> [...]
>
> I don't remember any artificial pitches or even aid pulling on the Gervasutti?

Oh, I do! On that one pitch, I changed from rockboots to big boots to crampons and back to rockboots, interspersed with aid moves... I may have been off route?! It was a pitch before you go up a long R-wards ramp and then left through a little brèche to reach the final easy bit.

David Rose - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to jon: Exactly.

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