/ Recommend me a first Alpine Summit

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mrplastique - on 04 Nov 2013
As above really.
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.

Tim Chappell - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:


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?


almost sane - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:
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.
mrplastique - on 04 Nov 2013
Thanks for the recommendations :)
Trangia - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:

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.

mysterion on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:

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.
Only a hill - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:
Arolla is a good place to go as an Alpine newbie.
mrplastique - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to mysterion:
> (In reply to mrplastique)
>
> 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.
Robert Durran - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> If you want to start with something technical, why not do something at relatively low altitude, like the north ridge of Piz Badile?

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.

Kid Spatula - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:

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
LakesWinter on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique: There are some good and suitable (and other good and less suitable) suggestions on this thread. http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=568068
tscoobydoo - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=40895 and its 4000m, if your fit can do in under 3hrs
MG - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to tscoobydoo: Hardly an pristine alpine experience though other than the summit ridge!
Gav Parker - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:
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.
Mark / Alps - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:
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.
LP - on 04 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique: I've just done my first Alpine trip and would agree with Arolla as a good bet. I walked in to the Dix hut which was good fun as it can involve a bolted climb/ridge on the way for more excitement. And no matter how long and arduous you find the walk in, it will be worth it for just one smile of the lady now known to me and my friends as "Caban girl" when you get there.

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.
Happy Haggis - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:

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.

Have fun!
mrplastique - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Happy Haggis:
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
almost sane - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:
Of course, there are plenty of routes in the Alps where crevasse skills are irrelevant, because the climbing is all on rock.
RockShock on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:
> (In reply to Happy Haggis)
> 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!

lmarenzi - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

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.

x
Sam Maher - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:

hey.

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
caradoc - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique: I think the lifts have been free, except for a small pass fee about 4 francs in the Saas area. A big plus!
altirando - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to Sam Maher: Ah yes the Bishorn. I remember it well. Just a snow plod to the tentlike ridge. But we got struck by lightning on the way down.
Simon4 - on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to caradoc:
> (In reply to mrplastique) I think the lifts have been free, except for a small pass fee about 4 francs in the Saas area. A big plus!

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.

Jasonic - on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:

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!
Nigel Modern on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique: In reply to mrplastique: If the history grabs you as well as the climbing the area around Chamonix can't be beaten. People talk about 'crowds' being a bad thing (and they can be) but I found them reassuring at first.

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)
Nigel Modern on 16 Nov 2013
Jasonic - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to mrplastique:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=15613

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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