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Alpine climb with Mountain Madness

Alpine At Its Best

For those who love moun­tains, a trip to the Alps once in the life­time is a must. No mat­ter what type of climber you are, you will always find a way to enjoy the range. Almost every peak is ful­ly charged with his­to­ry and every climb rep­re­sents more that the sum­mit itself, not to men­tion that the expe­ri­ence is even bet­ter when we add the deli­cious food and great facil­i­ties that rep­re­sents climb­ing in Europe. 

This sum­mer Moun­tain Mad­ness has been run­ning sev­er­al trips reach­ing the most icon­ic peaks in France, Switzer­land and Italy, we are almost at the end of the sea­son and the list of climbs con­tin­ues to grow. So here is a short dis­patch of some of those stories:

Mont Blanc — The Gouter Ridge. Joshua Jar­rin photo

We began with an ascent to the high­est peak in the Alps, Mont Blanc, main­ly locat­ed in French ter­ri­to­ry with one face that belongs to Italy. Joaquim and Luiz O, two Brazil­ian broth­ers, found a way to fit a climb­ing trip into their fam­i­ly vaca­tion in Europe. In fours days, we climbed Petite Aigu­ille Verte, as part of the acclima­ti­za­tion, and then Mont Blanc by the Gouter Route. Mean­while their fam­i­lies took some of the lifts from Cha­monix and enjoyed great views like from the top of Aigu­ille du Midi.

After this, Zer­matt, in the heart of the Swiss Alps, was the des­ti­na­tion and the cho­sen peak: Mat­ter­horn. Jens N, a Dan­ish climber that already com­plet­ed the Sev­en Sum­mits, want­ed to try his chances on the Horn­li Ridge. We used three days to accli­ma­tize and get used to the ter­rain before the main goal. Dur­ing that time we reached the sum­mits of Pol­lux and Bre­i­thorn on the bor­der between Switzer­land and Italy.

Jens on the sum­mit of Pol­lux. Joshua Jar­rin photo

When we felt ready, we took the lift up to Swarzsee and hiked for two hours, just in time for a great lunch in the Hor­li Hut. That after­noon we checked the details of the route and rest­ed for the upcom­ing push. The fol­low­ing day start­ed ear­ly. At 3:30am, we were up and hav­ing break­fast before our climb. Twelve hun­dred meters of an alpine rocky ridge were cov­ered in just four hours of scenic climb­ing. The Mat­ter­horn was­n’t an easy climb, but it got it’s reward once on the top, where we could enjoy the view of peaks from Mont Blanc in France to Dufour­spitze, the main sum­mit of Monte Rosa, in Italy.

Sum­mit Ridge on Mat­ter­horn. Joshua Jar­rin photo

After this, still in Switzer­land, Jim C, an expe­ri­enced climber from Wash­ing­ton joined us for the Spaghet­ti Tra­verse. This is a beau­ti­ful, five day trip that trav­els the bor­der with Italy climb­ing the most impor­tant sum­mits of the Monte Rosa Mas­sif. Aside from the climb­ing, the high­light of this tour is the great accom­mo­da­tions on the Ital­ian side. Every­day, after an aver­age 5 hour jour­ney, we arrived to a dif­fer­ent hut and had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to enjoy some drinks and tasty Ital­ian food for din­ner. Con­sid­er­ing the title of the trip, you can guess what was the first course! In Jim’s case, the tra­verse worked for acclima­ti­za­tion and after­wards he suc­cess­ful­ly climbed the Eiger with MM Guide Mark Allen.

Liskamm from the top of Sig­nalkuppe, part of the Spaghet­ti Tra­verse. Joshua Jar­rin photo

Ice for­ma­tion on the Spaghet­ti Tra­verse. Joshua Jar­rin photo

But the sum­mits are not the only way to enjoy the Alps. Some­times the sit­u­a­tion calls for a change of plans, but the fun nev­er ends. That was the case for John L, his wife Mered­ith and friends Ben and Ash­ley who com­plet­ed the tra­verse of Vallee Blanche from the sum­mit of Aigu­ille du Midi in France to Tori­no Hut in Italy and also hiked up to Lac Blanc, near Cha­monix. What great sto­ries to come home with after trav­el­ing with a pro­fes­sion­al wrestler, John, who used some of the spots we trav­eled to to film pro­mo­tion­al videos for his own video game. 

Brad­shaw” pro­mot­ing his video game from Lac Blanc in the French Alps.
Joshua Jar­rin photo

Final­ly, if the weath­er goes bad and there are no oth­er options but to turn around, you can still have fun! That was the case with Joe, Kirk, Mario, Pat, David, and Mark, a group of friends that take one moun­tain trip per year and this time it brought them to the Alps. The first idea was to com­plete the Spaghet­ti Tra­verse, but after reach­ing Cas­tor, we got hit with a bad storm and had to find our way down to Italy and back to Zer­matt. Since we could­n’t com­plete the tra­verse, we went for a good time in Via Fer­ra­ta” close to the Furi lift sta­tion above Zer­matt. The guys were a bit skep­ti­cal at the begin­ning. In the past they always com­plet­ed the trips, and turn­ing around was a new expe­ri­ence, but after a huge din­ner in the Fer­raro Hut (Italy) and lots of fun on the cliffs, they end­ed up with the con­clu­sion that the final plan was even bet­ter than a cou­ple of extra sum­mits with bad weath­er on the range.

Mario P. climb­ing on Via Fer­ra­ta” close to Zer­matt. Joshua Jar­rin photo