My first 4000m peak in the Swiss Alps

On the summit of Weissmeis, my first 4000 m peak in the Swiss Alps.

On the summit of Weissmeis, my first 4000 m peak in the Swiss Alps.

After many years since I had last been climbing on high mountains (Mt Kenya long ago, plus some easy peaks in Britain, Norway and Italy), I decided in 2007 I should do an alpine trip seeing as I was living here in Switzerland. So I contacted a guide and he suggested we climb Weissmies. At  4023 m, Weissmeis is the western-most 4000m peak of its range near Saas Fe (not far from Zermatt).

So in July 2007, we drove to Saas Fe and left the car in the valley below and climbed up to a hut at almost 3000 m.

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We had a leisurely evening at the hut, broken only by the excitement of watching a couple of climbers in the last light descending a ridge to the top of a large cliff behind the hut. They abseiled down the cliff, requiring several stages to get to the bottom.  After a little sleep, it was a 3 am start from the hut.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWe climbed for 3 hours in the dark by headlamp before sunrise.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMy guide was Jeroem Haeni, that’s him in the photos below.

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On the snow, crampons and ice axe needed now.

We had started climbing by torchlight at 3 am and were already fairly high when the sun rose.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe summit ridge was steep and involved some easy rockclimbing on boulders – at least it would have been easy if it was at sealevel. At 4000 metres, wearing crampons, and feeling the lack of oxygen, it did not feel easy.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERALooking down the summit ridge…..

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERALooking up….

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAbove the steep rocky part

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe summit some way ahead with a narrow ridge for the final ascent.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMe on the summit at 4023 metres. Very cold despite the sunshine.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWe traversed the summit and descended the west ridge which crosses a glacier.

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Looking back toward the summit….

Looking down towards the glacier

Looking down towards the glacier

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Crossing under the ice fall of the glacier - fast.

Crossing under the ice fall of the glacier – fast.

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2 thoughts on “My first 4000m peak in the Swiss Alps

  1. Pingback: 99 Word Flash Fiction: I’ve got your Back | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  2. Pingback: Ascent of Mont Blanc, September 2010 | Mountains and rivers

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