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Descending the labyrinth after climbing the Dufourspitze, Monte Rosa

Alastair and Thomas have just returned home after a successful alpine trip climbing the Weissmies, Monte Rosa (Dufourspitze) and finishing with an ascent of Mont Blanc. The weather was excellent when required, but it was very wet  on the first couple of days when we travelled over from Chamonix to Saas Grund and made the most of the conditions with an ascent of the SW Rib of the Jegihorn. After staying at Hohsaas we climbed the Weissmies, then travelled over to Zermatt for the Monte Rosa climb. We enjoyed perfect conditions on Mont Blanc ascending from the Tete Rousse Hut and stopping at the Gouter on the way down. This meant we crossed the Grand Couloir in the early morning on both the ascent and descent and avoided afternoon rockfall. Sadly there was a fatal accident on the 3 Monts route on Tuesday morning, a serac fall triggering an avalanche that swept a party of 3 into the bergschrund. There are details and photos of the avalanche here. There have been several avalanches on the face this season.

Matterhorn Week

Last week was a Matterhorn week. The weather was bad on Monday so we did some essential gear shopping, drove over to Saas Grund and went to the Hohsaas Hut. We had a rock training day on the Jegihorn followed by a second night at the hut and an acclimatisation day on the Weissmies via the Trift Glacier, which was in excellent condition. We were able to return to the valley before lunchtime and make arrangements to hire a second guide so we had a 1:1 for the Matterhorn ascent. We also had chance for some R&R at the Schonblick Hotel to recharge our batteries for the forthcoming climb. All went smoothly on Thursday and we met Philipp from Leukerbad at the Schwarzsee restaurant and walked up to the Hornli Hut. After a comfortable night in the hut the ascent seemed very relaxed on account of fewer people on the route with the reduced hut capacity this year, and good conditions. Both Ed and Richard made the summit and we ended a long day on Friday by driving back to Chamonix. Photos here.