/ Classic Alpine peaks under 4000m
Here are a few of my suggestions so far...
Bluemlisalphorn traverse, Kandersteg, AD
Mont Pelvoux traverse, Aliefroide, PD
Mont Dolent, Gallet Ridge, Chamonix, AD
Pigne - Chelion traverse, Arolla, AD-
Gross Diamanstock East Ridge, Grimsel, D-
Eiger, Mitteleggi ridge D
La Grivola, ENE ridge ADish
Wetterhorn, normal route AD-
Maybe Meije traverse but I haven't done it.
Gross Wannenhorn from Finsterarrhorn hut. Watch everyone else go off for the 4k peaks next door and have a 3990m peak all for yourself. PDish,
Alpine peaks... less than 4000m... pah! Alpine peaks START at 4000m. Well, apart from those already mentioned, I suppose. Oh, and this one: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=128638 Probably the biggest and baddest of them all. The Bietschhorn 3934m.
Tour Noire Traverse PD(+?)
Aiguille du Chardonnet Forbes Arete AD
and a favourite sub 4er in a circle of giants would be
Pointe de Zinal E ridge? PD
> Probably the biggest and baddest of them all. The Bietschhorn 3934m.
Beat me to it. A fantastic looking mountain which I have to climb one day.
La Meije traverse definately has to be in there. And Piz Badile N ridge. And at the easier end of the spectrum the traverse of the Domes de Miage
Following are all mega classics in the grades you are looking for in the Engadine Valley / Bergell:
Piz Palu, traverse
Piz Rosegg, Eselsgrat
Piz Bernina, Biancograt (just over 4000m but you'd be a mug to not do it just because its a few feet too high - and you can turn around at Piz Bianco which is technically under 4000 (a strategy only recommended for the most diehard mugs))
Piz Scerscen, Eisnase (do NOT be tempted to ab down direct after the ice nose!)
Piz Badile, Cassin (TD but again, you'd be a mug to not do it, about 6 feet out of 3000 are given 6a+ but you can easily French free them, nothing else harder than 6a for the remainder)
Plenty of other great ones like Piz Kesch, Piz de la Margna and Piz Chapuetschin that are easier in the area.
I haven't climbed the Bietschhorn, but I have walked down from the Baltscheiderklause (having come from the Oberaletschhütte via the Nesthorn) and can confirm that it is indeed formidable! The Nesthorn from Oberaletsch is good, easy and remote.
The Wetterhorn is excellent.
Any recommendations from anyone for Austrian peaks?
The list is up so far but there is plenty of room for more ideas. Thanks for the ones we have so far.
> Alpine peaks... less than 4000m... pah! Alpine peaks START at 4000m.
Pfft, all the 4000ers have great tracks and fixed-ropes and stuff.
The Bietschhorn 3934m.
Just looked that up. Not easy is it.
Rottgrat arête, AD+, ok the Alphublel just scrapes the magic number. but a good day out with some great positions. (Take a couple of cams)
I can't believe I forgot the Salbit S ridge!!!
La Meije. A great looking mountain, not quite 4000m, but one of the last of the Alpine peaks to be climbed, because the easiest route up it is amongst the hardest of the "easy" routes.
Did the Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria (3800m?), from Kals, nothing wrong with it but I don't like via ferratas or fixed ropes and it had both.
Fantastic view at the top though, over a cloud inversion, when I was there.
Spigolo Vinci on Pizzo Cengalo also should get a shout.
A "masterpiece" up to 6a max with no bolts (2011). TD overall, a bit harder than the Cassin and less history perhaps, but overall a much, much better route on perfect granite. In fact its probably better than the North Ridge of the Badile, which is said to be the outstanding rock climb of its grade in Europe. Take some light weight crampons and a walking axe to get to the summit from the end of the ridge (we had bad weather so couldn't summit).
Beware the walk in to the Gianetti hut is a monster when its hot in the valley.
Descent is marked by a horn with tat slung around it right at the top of the ridge itself, then it should be proper bolted rap anchors going down. Don't wander off down the slabs to the right like we did!
It is well known that any "peak" below 4000m is a molehill and both it and anyone lowering (carefully chosen word), themselves to attempt it should be viewed with contempt! ***
Unless it is a ski-peak of course. Some interesting options here.
*** - total bollocks alert.
So you have climbed Scerscen then? It looks pretty serious to me, does it not also have a pretty difficult descent?
Arete de Saille on the Grand Muveran....
Pleasant walk to a very nice hut from the top of the chairlift from Ovronnaz.
Short approach, interesting route finding, a few bolts, a particularly fine crux pitch, and a fun scramble along a narrow limestone ridge to the summit. But a bit loose in places....
The Gross Wannenhorn is a very fine peak. Even looks good from the Finsteraarhornhütte. I've done it a number of times - but always on skis. I'm not sure if it'd be as good in summer. Perhaps cb294 can tell us?
Yes you are probably right. Descent probably by the Normalweg though, ridge doesn't look steep enough to ab and would it be a pain to down climb the whole thing, no?
The classic is to follow the ridge from Scerscen to Bernina then descend the Biancograt. Big day out, though -- c 15 h from memory, and the connecting ridge was far from easy.
I'd second the recommendation for the Piz Palu traverse, and there's a good harder (AD-ish) start up the left-hand pillar on the N face.
IMHO there's only one that can really take the title of a "classic" peak under 4000m and that has to be the Eiger. Whichever route you choose.
All the other are just excellent days out on great summits, but probably not Classic.
My personal favourite would be the Studlgrat Ridge on the Gross Glockner AD+ and 3* definitely.
> So you have climbed Scerscen then?
Yes and no. We went up in July, it took us 9 hours to the top of the route.
On the way down oxygen deprivation and mental exhaustion got to me and I decided to ab down, hoping someone had put in anchors to ab, although I knew full well that it was a down-climb to the bottom stance. After 3 abs backing up single 30 year old rusted pegs with hammered ice axes in cracks and holding slings in place by hand we finally gave up and called in a rescue, frustratingly only 150m above the safety of the glacier below. The hang of shame was a lot more embarrassing than I had thought it would be, and the expense much higher than expected too!
Probably best route in the Bernina after Biancogra? PM me if you want details.
Yes I know.
I was just saying that I think its the ONLY one that fits the title of this thread...however exciting the other routes are
Bit blinkered there, Babika!
I know Gross Wannenhorn is a defective mountain, but if you stand on the higher of the two summit rocks and raise your ice axe you can just about make 4k....
The views are as great in summer as in winter. On the way up you can see the sun rise behind Finsteraarhorn, and once on top you have the steep drop down to the Aletsch Glacier, with fantastic views of Konkordiaplatz and Aletschhorn.
With good firn the route is straightforward, the main difficulty being the crossing of Fiescher glacier half a kilometer or so south of everyone else (you can always join the hordes making the crossing towards Gruenhornluecke and then move south, but the main point of going to GWH is to be on your own).
We did GWH after some days of heavy snowfall (plus two days of letting everything set), which meant keeping an eye on the avalanche risk and breaking trail for the entire route, so it felt a bit more wintery than otherwise.
I bet that doesn't work if you are a shortarse!
I believe that at one stage, the Swiss intended to build a 40m tower on the summit of the Fletschhorn to make it reach the magic number.
> Bit blinkered there, Babika!
Yeah, you're right....
Just trying to stir the pot ;)
In fact you would have to be quite a longarse. I just checked back and realized GWH is 3906m not 3996m.
IIRC for a while everyone climbing Fletschhorn was asked to take a rock up to build a summit cairn that would reach 4k. The plan was even sponsored by the Saas valley hotels, but abandoned after a while.
I suspect more accurate surveys were revising the height downwards more rapidbly than stones were raising it upwards! There is an unremarkable cairn up there.
As they were Swiss, were they planning to fine anyone who failed to comply? And hang anyone who demolished the thing?
> I believe that at one stage, the Swiss intended to build a 40m tower on the summit of the Fletschhorn to make it reach the magic number.
It's 3996m so only needs to be 4m; 40m is quite an ask!
Of course it may just have been more accurate surveying, and the fact that otherwise there was no 7000m peak in Kazakhstan had nothing to do with it.
If you measured altitude from the centre of the earth, rather than from sea-level, Finland would have the highest summit.
Surely things in Greenland or Baffin Island would be boosted more by the same effect.
The Belgians built a 6m tower on their highest point to bring it up from 694m to the magic 700m
I went there this summer
Quite bonkers really
BTW, what is magical about 700m?
To the poster who mentioned the Corda Molla, that's a shame, it looked great once. Maybe it still is early in the season?
Well surely the traverse of the Meije qualifies?
I also found the North Couloir of Les Bans pretty good. Nightmare traverse at the top though.
Les Bans, Dome de Niege/Barre, Dibona are all oustanding experiences in Ecrin area. Sadly I have not yet visited the Meige.
A question on the "Bietschhorn." I've always read it in my head as Bitchhorn. Probably I'm completely wrong but does anyone want to set me straight on how that mountain is pronounced?
60 replies and no one has mentioned Les Drus, do peaks get any more iconic? Has anyone ever stood in the Chamonix valley and not thought about climbing it?
> Has anyone ever stood in the Chamonix valley and not thought about climbing it?
Yes. Every time I see it. Which is every day as I look straight at it from my living room window. I did think of doing the Bonatti pillar once, then it fell over. Successive rockfalls only serve to make it less attractive.
It's remote, it's a good line, it's a magnificent situation, it's a great mountain, and I suppose you could call it an afficionado's route - it's just that in August when we did it there was a lot of rubble on the ridge, and the headwall - which gets a glowing write up in the guidebook - was disappointing because of the rock that did its best to dispatch two out of four of us. (Yes, I've read McLewin on bad rock and I half agree with him.) Still one of my best days in the hills but almost certainly better early in the season.
You must have climbed it before though, surely?
We thought PD- for the VN. I haven't done the East Ridge - it was foggy and we couldn't find the start - but at an informed guess (and someone else mentioned it earlier) it would be a better candidate for a classic route on what is definitely a classic peak.
The Eveque SW ridge is another classic. Don't overlook Monte Viso either.
> Les Bans, Dome de Niege/Barre, Dibona are all oustanding experiences in Ecrin area. Sadly I have not yet visited the Meige.
> A question on the "Bietschhorn." I've always read it in my head as Bitchhorn. Probably I'm completely wrong but does anyone want to set me straight on how that mountain is pronounced?
Simple. Second syllable is just the English word "horn", with a bit more R than in southern English perhaps.
And the first syllable is just the English "beach", but say it with a German accent and really bring out the T in it.
Bietsch--horn; Bietsch--Bietsch--Bietsch--horn--horn--horn. Completely phonetic really.
OK, now you're getting there :-)
Good stuff. A comment and a suggestion: having done the Sth Face of Monte Viso, I'm not sure I'd say it was a classic *route*, though the peak certainly is, so if the list is about peaks, then fine. And how about the voie normale on the Roche Faurio as a quality, modestly challenging beginners' route in an inspiring setting?
Cheers Tim. Not far removed from my imaginings then.
I like this thread. It's made me wonder what I'll be allocating my holidays to.
> BTW, what is magical about 700m?
? Odd comment Simon4!
I was on my way home after climbing the Dufourspitze (AD) from Italy. Try not to make judgements when you don't know the person.
Er, perhaps I should have added a smiley symbol. It
Albert would turn in his grave, Simon.
Be sure, however, to be properly attired for such a timeless classic:
Didn't he also provide the inspiration for Conrad's "Heart of Darkness"?
And not in a good way either.
Can anyone recommend a classic route on Monte Viso then?
Similarly I nearly tried Mont Pourri a few years back but did other things in the Vanoise instead - can anyone recommend a route on it?
Have you got the right king?
Heart of Darkness.
What did Bertie 1 do?
Incidentally it was Léopold II of the Etat Indépendant du Congo (Congo Free State), his own private empire (see my forthcoming book!!)
He was quite a guy. I read a book about him and his exploits and ultimately his death. As I remember, among other things, he'd slip out of Belgium incognito to climb in the Dolomites. Quite a fascinating guy.
Re Monte Viso - it's only my opinion. The Voie Normale is interesting as a scramble but I wouldn't put it amongst the most memorable easy routes I've done. But perhaps, given the peak, it deserves to be on the list as an easier route. I *think* it's the E ridge (?AD+) that's generally reckoned to be the classic of the peak. It's what we went to do but couldn't find!
I recall a desperate struggle up the start of the Ryan-Lochmatter ridge on the Plan, another classic Alpine route, in mountain boots, finally finishing up becalmed in a sea of steep holdless granite and having to be thrown a rope by a pair of passing German rock athletes in climbing boots and on a bolted line.
Turned out we were half a mile from where we should be, on the wrong Aiguille.
Some might observe that our experiences just prove that we are Brits!
Continentals tend to think that my clothing confirms that especially when skiing in buffalo gear. Or as someone rather unkindly pointed out, Alpine climbing in Ron Hills :
No, but my partner does.
I still have some very interesting suntan lines from approaching the Forche bivi hut half-naked this Summer.
MG tells me we're members of the same club, so I'm relieved to see that sartorial standards are being kept up and that the continentals know who's top!
Peccavi, I have just ordered a new pair of Dachsteins.
Koenigsspitze is in Italy (South Tirol), and used to be great. I have not climbed it in recent years, but have heard that the gully formerly used to reach the upper slopes has become a stone fall death trap. Only recommended in early summer, apparently.
Nooooo, don't do it! Have you no pride?
Any way of getting peak and route names in the list?
La Grivola should be there, I think.
You need a "stopper" top prevent completion!
Pah! And I thought I was doing badly with eight... I wonder how many that MG has got.
7 for me. Nice list, though there's loads more contenders.
les Jumeaux sw ridge PD+, nice bivvy hut that took us a while to find for access, and another on the col for people into zinc coated garden shed ticking.
gives me a reason to go back... we took about 3 hours to cross the tricky glascier leaving little time and less nervous energy for the ridge itself.
disgrazia really should be in. N ridge of the badile surely. the grand cornier is a minor classic with a cool hut. the eveque traverse is superb and pleasingly shortish and you get to stay in the bouquestins hut which is lovely.
the bitchhorn or however is spelt is pretty cool we did the s ridge i think a nice ridge climb and I heard good reports of the other slightly easier ridges. the normal route is probably only really good early season. we had some hard hard snow to descend and lots of looseish scrambling. not crazy loose but not massively fun either.
No, it's number 12.
Might be amusing to carry a very small, very light pair of skis just to wind up the Swiss guides.
Hmmm, 3 done. Must try harder. Think Blumlisalp route on the list should be the traverse as it is in the logbooks.
Good list - plenty to go at there. Thanks for putting it together.
From a beginner's point of view it might be looking a bit "top heavy". How about the South ridge of Ailefroide Orientale - PD on UKC and in the AC book, I think? F on this website which describes it as "une des grandes classiques du massif de l'Oisans" http://www.montagne-virtuel.com/05/alpinisme/ailefroideorientale/sortie.php
Or how about the Voie Normale on Les Agneaux: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=133301 ? Facile when I did it...
What do others think of those two as candidate routes for people in their first alpine seasons?
I tried to get the Bluemlisalp traverse in as the route but UKC wouldn't locate it in the logbook, even though it is there and we have both ticked it. Weird.
Fine by me.
I really enjoyed Les Agneaux this Summer, but not sure either that it merits "classic" status. Harder than F with the chossy scramble up onto the ridge from the diminished glacier.
Traverse of Piz Palu, on the other hand, is definitely a classic in my book.
Conversation with Martin when doing The Crocodlile. Sure this is the right way Martin?
Course I'm bloody sure!
Wrong mountain It was the Ryan
I did eventually manage the RL, it was hard!
(On the 5th attempt - no wonder the 4000s are taking me a long time)
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