04 Sep 2012

4000er count

Georg and I had an *amazing* mountain vacation trip this year, massive thanks to him. I bumped my 4000er count by quite a bit. Now, I’m a “Route Man,” not especially interested in tagging summits just because of their height. But it’s fun to play with lists, so here is a quick picture of where I am right now. Note that there are about 82 4000 meter summits on the UIAA list. So will I complete the list in my lifetime? Unless I start focusing on summits, “not likely” is probably the answer.

The Matterhorn, 2008

May as well start with a good one! Theron and I climbed the Hörnli Ridge in July, 2008. We loved it. Yes it was crowded. But until I do another route I believe it’s the most asthetic route on the mountain. I know no one else agrees with me on this, but stand in the meadows above Zermatt, looking up at that thing and try to tell me otherwise.

Mont Blanc, 2009

Dan and I had an amazing time on the Innominata Ridge, really proud to start from hot Val Veni and go through a tour-de-force of rock, ice and snow. This was a breakthrough climb for me, though Dan thought of it as just another “snow slog.” But I think he had fun too. Great trip. We also climbed the Courmayeur summit, zombies as we were :D.

Obergabelhorn, 2011

Man, Pete and I had an awesome trip in 2011, combining rock climbing in the Ecrins with a couple of peaks in the Valais. We traversed the Obergabelhorn with a bivy before the Arbengrat and descent to the Rothorn Hut down the North Ridge. Whew…Pete is a great photographer and got some amazing pictures. The picture shown is one I took of him when we reached the summit and realized we’d be traversing endless corniced ridges on the descent.

Zinalrothorn, 2011

From the same trip, now joined by Petr from Prague (yep, Pete and Petr :D). I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed at 3 am if it weren’t for Petr meeting us at the Rothorn Hut, so I owe him for that! We did the normal route up and down, traversing ambitions set aside due to the huge climbing day before on the Obergabelhorn.

Weissmies, 2012

For the first time, I do a “training climb” to get used to the high altitude. Georg and Alex had already climbed a couple of peaks and I joined for a quick run up, assisted by a lift to somewhere around 3000 meters. Therefore, I am embarassed, but I do count it! :D

Aiguille Verte, 2012

Georg and I tried to ramp it up just a little bit from the Weissmies but we bit off a big chunk. We went up by an “ingenious” combination route of the Charlet Couloir, to the Grande Rocheuse South Buttress, to the Whymper Couloir, and down the Moine Ridge after an (ahem) unplanned bivy. Beautiful climbing, but the rocks on the way up were just too difficult. Lots of grade V rock climbing (5.7-5.8) in boots, good experience, for sure!

Gran Combin, 2012

The picture shows Georg at dawn on the Northwest Face of the Gran Combin. We rarely settle for the easy way up a peak! This was a little funny because we started from the south, had to climb up to a pass, drop down to the north, get almost lost, and finally wander onto the great ice face. This climb included another summit (the Valsorey summit of the peak).

Mont Blanc du Tacul, 2012

Georg and I were so excited about the Diable Ridge, which features audacious rock climbing over towers at 4000 meters. With a freezing level above the summit of Mont Blanc, who could resist? We hit it at the right time and made out like bandits with an unforgettable day in the mountains. Hells yes! Oh and by climbing the Diable Ridge we got 5 more summits on the ridge.

Alphubel, 2012

Georg on the summit of the Alphubel, a “no big deal” peak back in the Valais. But for us it was the first of between 2-5 summits, depending on how ambitious we would be on our traverse of the Dom to the south. Oddly, we were a bit tired (Georg’s pack was overloaded), and the easy ascent was offset by the sobering and difficult descent of the North Ridge.

Täschhorn, 2012

The next day after being scared by wind and almost giving up, we went up the South Ridge of the Täschhorn, a really pleasant rock climb.

Dom, 2012

We decided to keep going south, so from the summit of the Täschhorn we dropped down the North Ridge (sometimes stressful) to the Domjoch and up the South Ridge of the Dom (sometimes…stressful!). It was e-nough! Had I been made of sterner stuff, we might have gotten 2 more summits before the snow started.

So there I am. 13 4000ers in 2012, and 5 more over the previous 4 years. 18 down, 64 to go!!