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Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Eiger in 9 days??

Discussion area for peaks outside of the USA.
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Re: Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Eiger in 9 days??

Postby climbing_rob » Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:14 pm

No guide, mine was a Colorado Mountain Club trip, about a dozen of us. The CMC does about 10-12 international trips a year, though sadly, not enough High Mountain trips, though we hope to change this soon.

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Re: Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Eiger in 9 days??

Postby usfgal » Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:44 pm

Fleetmack - I do remember! How was your trip back? We had some really rough weather! We did a lower named peak (don't remember the name, though) in blizzard conditions and later in the week, we were able to get Breithorn on a nicer day. We also did some rock climbing; I really wanted to do Pollux at least, but even that didn't happen. I loved the hut experience and the town of Zermatt was great. I am really hoping to get back next summer for the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc, but I'm not sure if we can swing it financially. Do you have plans to go back?

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Re: Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Eiger in 9 days??

Postby Britette » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:02 pm

I climbed the Matterhorn via the Hornligrat in July 96. We left the Hornli Hut at 4 a.m. and climbed in the dark until the Solvay Hut about half way up. (BTW the Solvay Hut is really an emergency shelter and is intended only for such use). I think it took about 3.5 hours up and about the same down. I was with a friend who happened to be a local guide and so we moved quickly - obviously he knew the route and the other guides let us go first so we didnt get hung up behind slower climbers. We were the first to summit that day and enjoyed solitude until coming down the shoulder. Then the masses were all lined up to go up the fixed ropes. The climb was one of the best that I have ever done - incredible scenery, good exposure and solid 5th class climbing. A joy, but then I was fortunate to avoid the crowds.
Sorry I have no pics but those were the days when I couldnt afford a camera and it would have been prints anyway.

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Re: Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Eiger in 9 days??

Postby Marcos » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:21 pm

climbing_rob wrote:No guide, mine was a Colorado Mountain Club trip, about a dozen of us. The CMC does about 10-12 international trips a year, though sadly, not enough High Mountain trips, though we hope to change this soon.


I had an interesting experience leading a CMC group on the Cosmiques route years ago. It was enough to convince me that I never wanted to be a mountain guide! :shock:

15 hours for Cosmiques is about right. The route-finding is pretty simple -- just follow the masses of people! The route crosses some impressive crevasses; the crux is gaining the final saddle (steep water ice when I did it).

It took me 3 separate trips to Switzerland to finally get up the Matterhorn. The weather can shut down that peak in an instant, and by late August it can be Autumn up there. Finally did it when the peak was technically closed, which resulted in practically no one else on the mountain, and not a single falling rock! Even though it was pretty icy, an increase in technical difficulty for no people on the peak was a good tradeoff for me.

I've had my eye on the East Ridge of the Eiger for many years now. but the weather in the Bernese Oberland is some of worst and most unpredictable in the Alps. I've been shut out for more than half of my summit attempts in that area. The West Ridge is the standard route on the Eiger, but I've not heard anything exceptional about it from friends who have done it. I've always wanted to do the nearby Shreckhorn (good rock climbing) but never got around to it when I was living in the area.

To get all three peaks in a single trip would require a lot of luck with the weather. If you had the weather, though, 9 days is plenty of time. But Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn are possibly the two most crowded peaks in the Alps. Some other peaks for your consideration:

- S. Ridge of Dent Blanche (across from the Matterhorn -- good quality rock, and less crowded)
- Zinal Rothorn (also in the Zermat area; rock climbing; can be climbed when the Matterhorn is out of condition )
- Weisshorn (classic, but very long day)

My advice is to pick a peak or two, spend some quality time in the villages and huts, and don't race all over the Alps trying to bag the top 3 names! :)

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Re: Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Eiger in 9 days??

Postby davebks » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:20 pm

Ok, time to revisit.
Thanks for all your great information. I appreciate everyone taking the time to write.

SO... here's where I am at. I am now taking the steps to plan this one, but have one, maybe two or three, big hurdles to overcome first.

1. Do I shoot for a trip with all three (eiger, matterhorn, mont blanc)? or, pick one, do a few smaller peaks around the area, then shoot for Matterhorn (would be my choice I think).
2. If I do all 3 or just 1, do I hire a guide service here, or find a guide there? I prefer to have it all lined up before I leave, but you know, sometimes its just that easy there. I want to use my experience, and learn as I go, so I want a guide who I can talk to, not just get pointed up some fixed ropes.
3. All the guide services cost about the same, so which to go with, if I go that route (no pun intended)... Alpine Ascents (most expensive and only does matterhorn), IMG, Adventure Consultants, Aventuras Patagonicas.... etc.

4. just go back to Nepal and shoot for Ama Dablam ;)

Thanks for your feedback. If it were just a bit cheaper to go to the Alps I wouldn't have to plan so much!

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Re: Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Eiger in 9 days??

Postby TomPierce » Thu Nov 04, 2010 3:20 pm

I've never used a guide on the 4 trips I've taken to the Alps but that's a personal choice. I've had several chances to interact with and observe European guides and IMO a lot of them seem like jerks. Aloof to the point of (or beyond) arrogance, short roping clients, etc. But I'm sure there are good ones. I've not used but have been impressed with Cosley & Houston's (US) Alps trips. As for the timing/sequence I think that's so weather/conditions dependent that I'd decide shortly after you arrive. If nothing else, go after your primary/dream target first, you may end up sitting out the weather at the base for several days. Just my opinions.
-Tom

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Re: Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Eiger in 9 days??

Postby Rich H » Thu Nov 04, 2010 3:37 pm

stay in chamonix Mont Blanc and do some of the climbs around there...one of my pics shows some climbers playing around on the slopes of Mont Blanc right out of chamonix ...
"If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a much merrier world."

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Re: Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Eiger in 9 days??

Postby Gabriel » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:01 pm

All three areas you are considering are incredible. I have done climbes in the Mont Blanc area, the Zermatt/Cervino area and the Bernese alps. I would really avoid the 9 day, three mountain, guided tour and focus on the area with the best weather and independent climbing. If you rent a car it's an easy half day scenic drive from Zermatt to Chamonix. About the same to the Bernese area. The Alps are super accesible and you really don't need a guide if you have some basic mountaineering skills. If this is a "once in a lifetime" thing for you, go to Chamonix. If you lack partners, it's usually easy to find ropemates in the alps as climbing is really popular. The Goutier Ridge route on MB is a reasonable solo, with very little crevasse danger and gentle slopes. It's easy to find cheap accomodation in the Chamonix area. I'm shocked when I look at the prices of those guided tours. I have a ticket booked to Vienna Austria next summer for $ 520. Once you arrive the living is really reasonable despite the low dollar. you should be able to climb Mt. Blanc for under $ 1000 if you plan carefully. Good luck.

G

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