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Matterhorn & Mont Blanc Trip Reports

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Matterhorn & Mont Blanc Trip Reports

Postby jjust » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:51 pm

Brian Kooienga, Kevin Smith, Scott Momburg, and I recently got back from a European vacation which included some mountaineering. We had a successful trip in some amazing mountains that we thought was worth sharing with the 14ers.com community despite not being in Colorado.

Written Trip Report & Pictures
Matterhorn: Hornli Ridge (08-30-2011)
Video Trip Report


Written Trip Report & Pictures
Chere Couloir (09-02-2011)
Video Trip Report


Written Trip Report & Pictures
Cosmiques Arete (09-03-2011)
Video Trip Report


Written Trip Report & Pictures
Mont Blanc du Tacul (09-07-2011)
Video Trip Report
This is at the end of video 3.

Written Trip Report & Pictures
Mont Blanc (09-09-2011)
Video Trip Report

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Re: Matterhorn & Mont Blanc Trip Reports

Postby climbing_rob » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:57 pm

Nicely done!!!!! Though we succeeded on Mont Blanc (trois mont route), the MH defeated our party a few years ago, and reading about your success brings new inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Matterhorn & Mont Blanc Trip Reports

Postby AlpineStart » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:54 pm

Thanks for posting these! I'll be heading back to Switzerland next September and am dithering between the Haute Route and the Tour du Mont Blanc. These great images will give me something to obsess about. Switzerland is my favorite place in the world...it's like the whole country is set up just for hikers and climbers!
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. -- Dr. Seuss

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Re: Matterhorn & Mont Blanc Trip Reports

Postby MtnAddict » Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:20 am

Great post!! I was lucky enough to live in Switzerland for a year, it is an amazing country.

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Re: Matterhorn & Mont Blanc Trip Reports

Postby fleetmack » Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:22 am

Wow, 80 cents to the dollar? My first time to Zermatt in 2007 it was $1.50 american per franc. Second time in 2007 it had dropped to about $1.25, then when I went back in 2009 I think it was 1/1... glad I went when I did! Looks like a great trip you had, nice work!
"Cynicism and ill-humored opinion have built a stronghold called the message board. Sweet mother of God, see a f***ing shrink, people."
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Re: Matterhorn & Mont Blanc Trip Reports

Postby Carl » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:31 am

Nice TRs! The French Alps are sweet. We were eying the Cosmiques Arete and Chere Couloir on a recent trip. Wish we had taken the Arete back to the tram one of the days. You should post these under the trip reports section of the this site so folks can locate them in the future.

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Re: Matterhorn & Mont Blanc Trip Reports

Postby jjust » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:44 am

climbing_rob wrote:Nicely done!!!!! Though we succeeded on Mont Blanc (trois mont route), the MH defeated our party a few years ago, and reading about your success brings new inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

The Matterhorn certainly isn't a gimmie! Being defeated or denied on that mountain is understandable.

AlpineStart wrote:Thanks for posting these! I'll be heading back to Switzerland next September and am dithering between the Haute Route and the Tour du Mont Blanc. These great images will give me something to obsess about. Switzerland is my favorite place in the world...it's like the whole country is set up just for hikers and climbers!

The whole country is set up for hikers and climbers! Have fun next year. So many options so little time.

JKB77 wrote:Great post!! I was lucky enough to live in Switzerland for a year, it is an amazing country.

I can't imagine what it would be like to live there for a year. Must've been awesome.

fleetmack wrote:Wow, 80 cents to the dollar? My first time to Zermatt in 2007 it was $1.50 american per franc. Second time in 2007 it had dropped to about $1.25, then when I went back in 2009 I think it was 1/1... glad I went when I did! Looks like a great trip you had, nice work!

Yeah, Zermatt seemed expensive. It was a trip of a lifetime though and well worth it.

Carl wrote:Nice TRs! The French Alps are sweet. We were eying the Cosmiques Arete and Chere Couloir on a recent trip. Wish we had taken the Arete back to the tram one of the days. You should post these under the trip reports section of the this site so folks can locate them in the future.

Indeed the French Alps are amazing. Good idea about adding them to the trip report data base. Thanks.

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Re: Matterhorn & Mont Blanc Trip Reports

Postby pvnisher » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:33 pm

How is Mont Blanc compared to Rainier? The pictures made it seem rather similar in terms of terrain.
About same technicality level (basic glacier walking)? How about exertion level?

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Re: Matterhorn & Mont Blanc Trip Reports

Postby climbing_rob » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:45 pm

pvnisher wrote:How is Mont Blanc compared to Rainier? The pictures made it seem rather similar in terms of terrain.
About same technicality level (basic glacier walking)? How about exertion level?
Not sure about the "standard" slog (Goiter something) route on MB, but the Trois Mont route (from the Aguille du Midi hut) was definitely tougher in all aspects than Mt. Rainier (via the Emmons glacier route). Longer summit day (14 hours for us, vs. 10 on Rainer), definitely steeper in spots, more objective dangers (avy, seracs, crevasses) IMHO. Mont Blanc is just over a more serious mountain. that being said, it is probably the next logical step in difficulty over Rainier.

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Re: Matterhorn & Mont Blanc Trip Reports

Postby jjust » Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:26 pm

pvnisher wrote:How is Mont Blanc compared to Rainier? The pictures made it seem rather similar in terms of terrain.
About same technicality level (basic glacier walking)? How about exertion level?


I would concur with climbing_rob. In general, Mont Blanc is somewhat harder technically and physically than the basic routes on Rainier. The Mont Blanc du Tacul headwall has two sizeable crevasses to negotiate with much steeper sections of snow climbing than Rainier. The climb up to the Col du Mont Maudit has a couple more larger crevasses and the crux of the route at the top which consists of 150 to 200 feet of 50 degree snow and ice. The rest is primarily hiking. With that being said, if you have some snow climbing and glacier travel experience it is definitely in the wheelhouse. Of course you are over a 1,000 feet higher than Rainier too.

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Re: Matterhorn & Mont Blanc Trip Reports

Postby malcolml1 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:26 am

I have been away from the site for months hence my late reply.
I had he privelege of fine weather August 17, 2010 and with my guide had a fantastic day on Mt. Blanc, 6.5 hours up from the Cosmique hut (3Monts route) then a wonderful traverse down to Les Houches - 14.5 hours in total.

The weather stayed fine and so I could not forego an attempt on the Matterhorn, so on the 18th - instead of resting (I was 72) we moved to the Hornli hut and got to the top on August 19th, along about 70 others, in 5 hours, but 5.5 hours down as the grit on the ledges made me very careful.

My sense, apart for one steep section, is that Mt Blanc is a steep walk. The Matterhorn requires some climbing skills, even though all the hard pitches are downgraded by thick gym type ropes hanging down. It is a heep of loose choss, not enjoyable, made less so by the crowds fighting for holds and the only reason for climbing it is for bragging rights at movie theaters.

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Re: Matterhorn & Mont Blanc Trip Reports

Postby jjust » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:05 am

Iman86 wrote:Thanks for posting this. A friend and I are hoping to get to the Alps this summer. Mont Blanc with a stay in Chamonix is our current plan.


Good luck, you will surely have a good time.

I disagree with malcolm1. The Matterhorn is an awesome mountain. If it is so unenjoyable, why could you not forego an attempt? I feel it is highly unlikely you didn't know what you would be getting yourself into prior to the climb and only then realized what a terrible mountain it is until after you were on it. I understand everyone's experience is different, and yours was apparently not a good one, but I think you are easily dismissing one of the most famous mountains in the world. I certainly don't want to get into a pissing match and you are clearly entitled to your opinion, but I really enjoyed the climb. The mountain is actually very clean with limited "choss" if you are on route, maybe you weren't. I agree that the "crowds" are a bit of a buzzkill, but what do you expect in the Alps, solitude? Clearly Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn are not the place to be if that's what you want. It's a bit annoying to hear people complain about the crowds in the Alps, Grays, and Torreys, etc. when there is no question that is what you'll get. As for bragging rights? Hell yeah I'm proud to have climbed it and that's why I posted. . . . . .to share my experience, but not to "brag". Despite the poor experience you had on the mountain, you still felt the need to let us all know you climbed it. It is a big accomplishment, especially for someone with my ability.

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