It’s been not my good year to climb to the top of Mont Blanc. In the spring we missed the summit due to the strong wind, in July we didn’t go anyfurther the Grand Couloir du Gouter for the crazy wind and the new snow, at the end of August we broke trail to the Tete Rousse Hute and then track back already at dawn the next day and then straight down to the train at Nid d’Aigle . I was hoping that September would bring me luck, but the beginning of the week wasn’t easy already. Climbing Gran Paradiso was a struggle against gusts of wind and cold temperatures that tried to stop us just after the “donkey back”at 3700mt. We summited in the end, surprisingly with no wind but teeth chattering for Helen.
On our “rest day” we had fun climbing the “Via des Evettes”, a nice via ferrata on La Flegere, but we got soaked to the bone exactly in the worst and crux spot of the climb, the 50 meter long Tibetan bridge…plus in the afternoon we had to take the decision to cancel our attempt to Mont Blanc. It was gonna be impossible (read not safe at all) to reach the Gouter Hut with the forecasted 130 kmph wind, the new snow and above all the temperatures expected for the next day. -30 C on top of Mont Blanc … not for me thanks!
Our Plan B, if this is the proper way to call it, was climbing the Bishorn, known as the “Quatre Mille des Dames”, the 4000 meter peak for ladies. But these girls have to be tough, as reaching the beautiful and ultra-modern Cabane de Tracuit takes at least 4 hours hike from the Hotel des Bouquetins at the end of the village of Zinal and you need to climb 1600 meters up..so it’s not a joke. We got some rain and wind only in the last hour of the hike, then when the strong wind cleared the sky we could enjoy a breathless view that has nothing to envy to those high mountain valleys in the Himalayas. The Imperial Crown is right in front of the balcony of the hut, it is such a dramatic alpine landscape.
The next day we got out early in the morning with other 4-5 teams with headlamps on, after crossing the Turtmann glacier we passed ahead of everybody and broke trail all the way to the top of Bishorn. This time we had no wind on the summmit, the view is spectacular, with the North Ridge of Weisshorn standing in front of your eyes.
On my way back my legs and feet really appreciated a pair of trail running shoes I carried in the backpack!