Wednesday 17 April 2013

Zermatt Ski Tour & Andy Murray

After praying for good weather for most of winter, my requests were finally granted with a big high pressure arriving over the Alps at the weekend. Unfortunately it brought with it unbelievably high temperatures (25 degrees in the Valley anyone? Plus a freezing level hovering at around 3000 - 3500 metres), so just about every climbing and skiing option in the high mountains was out. Typical! 

I actually missed the first day of good weather as I was down on the South Coast checking out Monaco and enjoyed a day at the Masters tennis event (darling), but I got the late flight back to Geneva and the next afternoon found myself at the top of the Klein Matterhorn lift in Zermatt. Quite the contrast!

Cheeky kid checking out my car at Casino Square. 

Andy Murray with Monaco behind.

With plenty of good weather forecast, Tom and I were keen to do a multi day ski tour, preferably taking in as many good summits as we could. We started out with the Breithorn and a night in the superb Guide d'Ayas hut - 

Heading down to the Guide d'Ayas Hut. 

Wine and aperitifs!!!

Skinning away from the hut in the morning

After that we crossed over two 4000ers (Castor and Pollux), and hoped to cross a few more but icy conditions sent us from the Quintino Sella Hut over to the Monte Rosa Hut and finally to the Stockhorn. We were looking at doing the Strahlhorn instead but it looked a mighty long way on a very hot day! 

Castor W face

Tom skiing the W face of Pollux

My turn - it felt pretty steep! Tom assured me afterwards that it just seemed steep due to the icy snow...

Me reaching the top of Castor and regretting acclimatising in Monaco!

Heading for the Monte Rosa Hut

I put this one on as it is about the only photo I have of Tom skiing badly. The snow was generally pretty terrible to be fair.

That's more like it!

The biggest, baddest and scariest seracs I have ever passed under.

Stunning ice formations on the way down to the Monte Rosa Hut.

Yet more seracs - there's no shortage of them up there!

Chips, kebab and coke in Zermatt. Surprisingly enough we didn't have to re-mortgage our houses to pay for it, which was a nice surprise in Switzerland!

Overall, a great tour which might not have had the best snow in the World but which featured great views, excellent huts and plenty of Tom banter.

Tomorrow (Thursday) is the last day of blue sky, so I'm going to drag my tired body up the Grand Montets in order to make the most of it, and then there is snow forecast for Friday and Saturday. As ever this winter, no-one really has the slightest clue what the weather will be doing, so just stay flexible and see what happens.