/ Dufourspitze conditions

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redsonja - on 13 Aug 2017
Has anyone climbed Dufourspitze recently? Just wondering about conditions. Thanks
Cheese Monkey - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to redsonja:

Same here
Pero - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to redsonja:
We did it about 3 weeks ago. In general, the crevassed area low on the glacier is quite tricky - especially in the dark with some fresh snow. Not too dangerous, but perhaps difficult to find a line.

The route to the Silbersattel was problematic with no one getting through on the days we were there. And, the fixed ropes between the Silbersattel and Dufourspitze were damaged last autumn, so there is no way up from there anyway. There are reports of this online if you look for them. So, from the Monte Rosa hut it has to be the West Ridge.

We had intended to do Nordend as well, but we weren't able to for the above reasons.

There are two young lads working at the Monte Rosa hut and, to be honest, I wouldn't trust what they say. Instead, I would ring the Zermatt guides for up-to-date conditions:

https://www.zermatt.ch/en/Media/Attractions/Alpin-Center-Zermatt

They were helpful with information on all the peaks round there.
Post edited at 17:25
redsonja - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to redsonja:

Thanks Pero- I was wondering about the fixed ropes. So are teams going up and down the west ridge rather than traversing? How was it passing other parties going in the opposite direction? Many thanks
Pero - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to redsonja:

> Thanks Pero- I was wondering about the fixed ropes. So are teams going up and down the west ridge rather than traversing? How was it passing other parties going in the opposite direction? Many thanks

Yes, I think the problem is that the rockfall that damaged the fixed ropes has also left the descent route unstable. We were told you could do 2 x 50m abseils. But, then you have to be sure there is a way down from the Silbersattel.

It was very cold and windy when we did it and there were only 5 parties made the summit, so there was no real issue. We moved together, except for the final chimney, which we pitched and then abseiled. The only slow party was a team of four (Polish, I think) who had camped at about 4000m. We managed to scoot past them while they were pitching a section.

If it was really busy, then it shouldn't be too bad, as without fresh snow it's just a good scramble.
redsonja - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to redsonja:

Brilliant- thank you for this. It's really helpful
MG - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to redsonja:

Nothing recent about conditions.

However, I did ask a Swiss guide recently about the condition of the ropes (as above: damaged). He went on to say that they are very controversial in Zermatt. I thought this was going to be something about reducing the challenge of mountaineering etc., but no. The plan apparently was for people to descend the ropes but climb the rocks, thus avoiding passing problems. But (by implication non-Swiss) people didn't do as they were told but chose to both ascend and descend the ropes which made the passing problems worse. I thought this was a beautifully Swiss concern!
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L Dom Goodwin - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to redsonja:

I don't know about recent conditions, but ascending and descending the Dufourspitze by the West ridge is normal. The main reason for going to the Silbersattel would be if combining Nordend and Dufourspitze as a a traverse (which seems like a good objective), but that's probably better done in the other direction. It doesn't seem a good idea to descend to the Silbersattel without prior knowledge that there's a way through the complex crevasse system below. There often isn't, and it's late in the season. Besides, the descent to the Silbersattel is likely to be more serious than the descent of the West ridge, regardless of any additional recent problems. The West ridge is exposed high up, with one pitch of III up a chimney (there was a fixed rope which wasn't really needed when I did it, but that was many years ago). The climbing section is fairly short, so passing parties climbing in the other direction would not normally be a major issue.

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