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Le Piston

best of cc.com [TR] Breithorn, Pollux, Castor, and Monte Rosa - Various 7/29/2005

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Trip: Breithorn, Pollux, Castor, and Monte Rosa - Various


Date: 7/29/2005


Trip Report:

Ever since my brother got me my first ice axe and introduced me to mountain climbing, one mountain above all fascinated me...the Matterhorn. In 2005 I had the funds, partner, and time off to pursue that dream. When my friend Rod and I arrived in Zermatt, the Matterhorn was in perfect climbing condition.DSC00283.JPGWe decided to acclimatize a bit with a climb of the Breithorn (4164 meters)DSC001992.JPGWe ascended the west ridge to the summit, then dropped back down and climbed the central summit (4159 meters)DSC002131.JPG We had hired a guide, Larry Dolecki, to maximize our chances of success and time. We met up with him in Zermatt and decided to do another acclimatization climb of the Obergabelhorn SE ridge before trying the Matterhorn. We approached the Arben Hut via bolted ladders.DSC00292.JPGDSC00294.JPGDSC00296.JPG We awoke to a white out storm, and retreated back to Zermatt. We waited one day, hoping the weather would improve. It would take a long spell of good weather before the Matterhorn was in shape, so we decided to climb whatever we could until then. We took the cable car to Klein Matterhorn and headed onto the Verra glacier hoping to find better weather on the Italian side of the mountains.DSC00304.JPG We dropped down to the Gnifetti Hut and enjoyed the pleasures of hot food, warm beds, international company, and alcoholic beverages.

DSC00307.JPG The next morning dawned clear and we were treated to views towards Mont Blanc.DSC00426.JPG Our next goal was to climb Liskamm (4527 meters) as a traverse going west to east and end up near Monte Rosa.DSC00507.JPG We headed up to the west ridge, but high winds turned us back a few hundred feet from the west summit. We headed back and climbed Castor (4228 meters) instead.DSC00365.JPG We traversed south below Liskamm and descended the Gren Glacier to the Monte Rosa hut.DSC00510.JPG The next morning we awoke early with about a hundred other climbers and started climbing by headlamp. The hut is at about 2795 meters(9200 feet), and the Monte Rosa summit is 4634 meters(15,199 feet). We passed all but two parties on the glacier and soon were on the rocky west ridge. DSC00525.JPG The rock was a little verglassed, but soon we were on the summit.DSC00531.JPG Unfortunately, it was socked in, so we didn't get to enjoy the view. We returned to the hut, rested and hydrated, then crossed the Gorner glacier and hiked up to Gornergrat to catch the train back to Zermatt. The weather improved and gave us a nice view of both Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn (alas with new snow). DSC03436.JPGDSC03435.JPG We enjoyed a rest day, then headed back up to climb Pollux (4092 meters).DSC00579.JPG Another storm came in and dropped another half foot of new snow, and so ended my hopes of climbing the Matterhorn on this trip. I must say I still had a great time!


Gear Notes:

Standard glacier gear. Ear plugs and a sleeping sack for the huts.


Approach Notes:

From Zermatt, cable car and train access and well marked trails make approaches pretty easy. If you want to stay in the huts, make reservations...they fill up early in peak season. We were turned away from the Margherita Hut.

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Well done bagging all those peaks and making the most of your trip. You guys were really cruising! Love the beautiful pics. Too bad about about the snow on the Schmatterhorn. Go back and get 'er next time!


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