/ Recommend me a first Alpine Summit
I don't have any Alpine experience but ideally don't really want a walking/trekking summit if that can be avoided with my inexperience.
I do have lots of summer multipitch rock climbing experience and had my first foray into winter climbing last winter. Weather permitting will do plenty more this winter.
I've seen lots of companies doing Alpine introduction courses that build up to a Mont Blanc summit but from what I've read, although strenuous, the ascent is more of a walk than a technical climb.
Most of the time, routes in the Alps are less technical than they are in Scotland. This is because if things go pear-shaped in the Alps, they REALLY go pear-shaped, much worse, and much less escapable, than in Scotland. So the routes tend to be easier so you're not pushing the envelope in that direction too.
If you want to start with something technical, why not do something at relatively low altitude, like the north ridge of Piz Badile?
Rather than suggest a peak, I suggest you choose a base.
Settle yourself into a valley with lots of options and a valley that has lots of info in guidebooks you can read.
That way you can choose your objective each day according to weather, conditions and how you are getting on.
I recommend the Saas Tal. It has a good selection of accommodation options, and has a wide range of walks and climbs and via ferratta at a wide range of altitudes. A fair few lifts to get you high for little effort. Good public transport links within the valley and connecting to other valleys. So no matter how you are getting on with altitude and no matter what the weather, there is always stuff you can enjoy doing on the hill.
I suggest you consider the Austrian Alps - they are lower than the Western Alps - the highest, the Gross Glockner is under 13,000ft, so they tend to be less committing in terms of height and time, but still good to gain experience in with glaciers, crevasses etc.
I think you need to clarify your objectives a little. Probably best to separate your summit (mountaineering) objective from your technical (climbing) objective to start with lest you get caught out.
Arolla is a good place to go as an Alpine newbie.
> I think you need to clarify your objectives a little. Probably best to separate your summit (mountaineering) objective from your technical (climbing) objective to start with lest you get caught out.
Good advice, I think I've got it stuck in my head that I always need to try and improve technically. Separating mountaineering and technical climbing does sound sensible, thanks.
Long, crowded, notorious for electrical storms, tricky descent (either way). Not too sure about that. A good area though. Perhaps one to build up to (and possibly surpass)in a trip, but not for a first summit.
Aiguille Du Tour, Petit Fourche and Tete Blanche, Petit Aiguille Verte: All from Chamonix with cable car access and no massive walk in.
Pigne D'Arolla or Mont Blanc Du Cheilon: Arolla (both fairly hefty walk ins)
Allalinhorn (a doddle, cable car), Weissmies (Less of a doddle, cable car), or the Nadelhorn (this bit me on the arse quite badly, knackering walk in): Saas Fee
The Weissmies traverse a great first alpine peak. A 4 hour walk to the hut which is in a great location and a 6 hour traverse of the peak, great scrambling and snow arÍte to the top.
There are plenty of summits that can be reached which are mostly rock climbing. Around Chamonix you could head to the Aiguilles Rouges and take on something like the Perseverance. Lots of routes up it and an abseil / scramble descent. Practice your speed / efficiency before tackling the longer monsters. Loads around the Grepon and Charmoz. Aiguille Republique is great with a fairly short glacier approach. Need to move together on some of the ground though. Very tiny summit, guaranteed no trekkers! If your winter goes well why not try a more technical route to a summit with an easy descent before taking on something which does not also have an easy route up / down it. Perhaps one of the North Face of the Tacul routes. Fairly short ( nine or so pitches ) but a reasonably straightforward descent.
From the the Dix hut you have three routes to get acclimatised and maybe push yourself a little - the Pigne D'Arolla (A walk)La Luette is an easy tick with a small ridge and I loved Mt Blanc de Cheilon to finish the trip and impress Caban girl with how mountainous I now was.
If you're looking for Alpine routes including snow/glaciers, then all of the ideas from Kid Spatula are awesome. This assumes you know about crevasse rescue etc.
If you're not up-to-speed with Alpine skills like crevasse rescue, then perhaps do a few days with a guide to start with so you can go for routes like those suggested by Kid Spatula.
Or, alternatively, you could consider sticking to rock routes - if you go late in the season a lot of the snow will have gone. Great routes include pretty much anything in the Aiguilles Rouges (loads of great Alpine rock routes - some bolted, some not) or routes such as the traverse of the Dri Hornli.
I think that's what I'm leaning towards as I don't have any crevasse rescue experience. I'll either go for a few days with a guide learning the basics - then go on some of the suggested routes unguided.
If I can't muster any troops to come along then I suppose there is always the full guided option too.
Thanks for your help
Of course, there are plenty of routes in the Alps where crevasse skills are irrelevant, because the climbing is all on rock.
> I think that's what I'm leaning towards as I don't have any crevasse rescue experience. I'll either go for a few days with a guide learning the basics - then go on some of the suggested routes unguided.
I am not an experienced alpinist, so treat that with a grain of salt, but you should always go with a partner in the Alps: on rock climbing peaks tha speaks for itself (unless you want to solo) and on, even easy, glacier peaks like those around Zermatt you need to go with someone due to objective dangers - even on Breithorn you can fall in the slot!
Agreed. Lowly rock climbing grade (5/+?) but gets AD overall, absolutely huge round trip whichever way you do it, not a good choice if you are inexperienced.
The one to do as a first "summit" in the area is La Fiamma or La Punta Albignia.
I had this problem last year for my first trip to the alps. I got a book called "alpine mountaineering" by Bruce goodlad and the suggested best 1st alpine route was the Pigne de la le staying at the Moiry hut. I have to say it was a very good experience as described. Short enough to allow for timing mistakes, a combo of moving together and glacier walking and the hut is pretty sweet too (although be prepared to pay for it). Really good views and easily doable in 2 days. Might not suit if you're an altitude junky but I went on to do the Bishorn and really felt the altitude so take that into account for your first walk.
Wish you an awesome trip
You need to check the dates of the pass issued quite carefully for the free lifts. We got given one by the dortoir we were staying in and it expired the next day, so in theory we should not have been allowed down without paying.
Fortunately all we got was a hard look and questioning, but it was certainly teetering on the edge of having to pay out lots more francs.
I think a few days with a guide.. and a mate to learn the basics.
http://frostguiding.co.uk/ For example, lots of others available but he is based near Arolla mentioned above.
The Bruce Goodlad book is worth a look, plus you can practice many of the techniques needed in the UK, particualy in Scotland with its longer ridges & the Cuillin. If you can get the basics- tying off coils, light pack with the essentials, quick belaying, route finding, reading the weather...life is easier!
For whetting your appetite this book is award to beat: The mt blanc range: Classic snow ice and mixed climbs, larouche and Leland (Google it)
This is a great route, the traverse from the Boval hut leads over some satisfying easy rock to a notch. From there you have a snow climb to a pointy summit with views, the descent to the Tschaiva makes for a satisfying traverse of the mountain.
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