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TOPIC: Aletschhorn

Aletschhorn 05 / 09 / 2008 21: 07 #373

The weekend of 23 / 24 August with his partner Mark Gabbin we climbed the Aletschhorn for the classical pathway of Mittelaletschbiwak.
Left early Saturday morning we arrive at Betten quite late (at 10: 15, traffic). We take the cable car to Bettmeralp and then there came the stump until Bettmergrat (2647m) (one way, cost Euro = 9 12 CHF)
From there a long path gently downhill guided us up to Roti Chumma (2369) where we found a suitable place to stoop and cross the Aletsch Glacier (some little man)
Cross the bridge without any major problems (perhaps the hardest part of the climb, about 1 now) you enter the valley for the long climb up to Mittelaletschbiwak (total time about 6 hours), unfortunately, under rain and snow. The bivouac is a real eagle's nest in a scenic and secluded location.
No one around, the camp's it for the three of us (even the legendary Jolanda has followed tenaciously there).
Unfortunately sleet for most of the evening and night, but it was time to wake up, at 3: 30 the sky is clear. Even a cloud but already from the bivouac 2 cm of fresh snow. Thing that will cause us delays and additional fatigue during the climb.
We start at 4.30, we follow the cairns above the bivouac (a labyrinth of stones and sheepbacks) up to the attack of the glacier. It goes up, but the path is all to trace. Reached the Aletschjock (3614m) the sharp and exposed ridge presents 25 cm of fresh snow inconsistent. No traces !, and so will be up to the top where we arrive at 9: 15.
The descent is slower than expected because the "fresh" creates immediately a dangerous and boring socket and why the bad refreezing of the last three nights makes little compact bridges (I broke through 3 times). Eventually we arrive at the bivouac at 12: 30.
The downhill and crossing the glacier is long and tiring.
We decide to cut the Aletschgletscher for long and point directly at Chatzulecher (2010m) in Biel (2290m), but in the middle of the path crevasses perpendicular to the direction of travel are forcing us to reach the left side of the glacier at the earliest and proceed along the margin between the glacier crevasses, piles of rubble and rocks. Eventually we reach Bettmeralp to 20. A big climb: we have not met anyone for two days. Fantastic.

some observations
1. the Mittelaletschbiwak is a small "hideaway" unguarded high altitude. Included are 13 cots, mattresses additional 4, 26 blankets and a sleeping bag. Is 1 ladle, 1 funnel, 1 skillet, 2 pots and a large aluminum pot with a capacity of about 10 liters. There are also ropes from about 2 25-30 meters. Various plastic bottles. There are emergency food, there are several blank seeds cans to the stove. Candles and radio for help. Neither Tim nor Vodafone have signal.
I recommend bringing small pot and stove. And the sleeping bag: the bivouac is pretty wet and cold, but very cozy. Water nearby (3 min walk).

2. Except for those wishing to cross towards the Oberaletschhütte, I recommend choosing as Bettmeralp starting point. Both in summer and in spring, the cable car to the valley runs up to 22: 45 so you have plenty of time. The crossing of the glacier in Roti Chumma correspondence (2369m) is easier and takes less than 1 now (the glacier there is very wavy but no crevasses). Better yet, returning to the south a few hundred meters there is a large black and white paint signal. From there, part of a kind of track that goes down on the glacier.
Higher up on the right (where you come from Fiescheralp and Marjelesee) or more to the left (where you come if there is lowered just below biel at Chatzluecher) is very troubled with large crevasses that require long and arduous workarounds. Finally, to earn at least an hour or even longer, from Bettmeralp should take the gondola to the Bettmerhorn (one-way, € = 9 12 CHF).
On the way back you can cross the glacier heading for Roti Chuma or groped direct crossing to Biel. In this case exceeded the first line of the moraine at the center of the glacier (coming from Mittelaletsch) a clear commitment towards the east (you can see a large area of ​​clear sheepbacks ending on the south by 2180m share) and then continue on the left margin of the glacier as soon as you begin to find the crevasses perpendicular to the direction of travel).
It is a long and arduous path, but in about 3 hours you cross the entire glacier and one door on the "mainland."

3. Mittelaletsch reached the mouth of the valley, along the lateral moraine on the slopes of 'Olmenhorn. Then the path trails and little men driving toward the bottom of the valley. Beyond a montonatura (2330 share) standing on the right (going up) the little men tend to stay a po'alti on the moraine. Should instead be at the bottom of the valley: the ground less rough and faster. It reaches a mound around 2550m share that you pass on the right side (going up) and walk along the glacier to the bottom. The bivouac is located above a montonatura clear rocks. First go up the glacier to an ice-fall, it moved into a sort of valley-channel on the right side and then you can a) go up along the glacier (hard and slippery ice, some crevasse at the top before turning right towards the bivouac) or directly on sheepbacks under the bivouac (not advisable in case of slippery rock)

4. The route of ascent to the top is clear and quite logical. But there are some places in which we should be careful not to waste time.
At the start rise above the camp and follow the cairns in a labyrinth of stones and rocks. In the dark it is easy to lose your way, but should point towards a clear rocky kidney that juts into the glacier more or less along the bottom edge of the glacier above the camp. We had to use crampons almost immediately to cross snowfields very hard and slippery and proceed from rubble with crampons shod.
When you touch the glacier the path is clear. Should stand tall to avoid ups and downs but boring attention to cross crevasses.
Especially in sideways toward aletschjock we must necessarily traverse twice the terminal.
The ridge between the aletschjock (3614m) and share 3718m is very aerial and exposed. Delicate if there is no trace, and especially with fresh snow. Some frame generally northward, should still stay on the line or slightly to the north (going right) because the snow is usually more compact. Past the rocks, the ridge widens and flattens (crevasses).
The slope below the smaller peak (4087m) is very steep (40 °, possibly more) traversed by a few crevasses. However, it should climb the smaller peak (at least walk) because it loses altitude and the slopes on the left going around it are rather treacherous crevasses. Maybe downhill and skiing can be an option. If no track and walking unwise.
The final ridge is very aerial. You take a steep stretch of about 50-70 meters, then it paves the ridge but is always open. Some step of easy rocks, snow. With a track and compacted snow it is not complex. We have found inconsistent high a foot snow forced us to pay close attention. With a little 'of ups and downs and some delicate transition sommatale you get to the esplanade where there is the summit cross (with book).

5. Signal TIM and Vodafone along almost the entire route of ascent to the summit. A bit 'weak towards the bivouac. Absent in the valley. Great Aletsch glacier.

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