• Chris Andrews

Alpine Heat Waves

So after a short stint back in the Wye Valley climbing at Wintour's Leap the weather began to gradually deteriorate and happily I had some work booked for the Swiss Alps. So a short 16 hour drive out to Saas Grund started us off on 10 days of an introduction to Alpine Mountaineering. The aim of the week was to get my group of novices prepared for a trip to Denali next year!

We began with glacial travel and acclimatisation under what were warm but reasonable temperatures. Throughout the week we developed the skills which would enable success on Denali next year.

Our time in the Valais Alps was broken by a bit of rain in the middle, which meant that the only option was to go climbing before the afternoon storm. I am always happy to to this and took the opportunity to coach the team through some principles of movement, especially the use of foot work. By the end of the morning everyone was padding their way up 5c slabs, which was great to see.

Hot temperatures meant early starts, racing the sunrise.

After the rains had cleared we took advantage of being acclimatised and fit to get to the summits of the Weissmies (4023m), the Allalinhorn (4027m) and the Fletschhorn (3985m), all of which are large enough mountains that the team will at least now be aware of the effects of altitude and acclimatisation for their adventure next year.

The team learning to safely cross glaciers

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