Andrew (right) celebrates at the top of The Monch
The prospect of snow, hard work and the need to consume around 6,000 calories (the equivalent of 25 mars bars) for a 10-12 hour ascent did not sway Rowan House‘s Andrew Caple from his goal of climbing in the French Alps earlier this month.
Andrew reports on his achievement:
My trip started with a weekend based in Chamonix in the French Alps with two acclimatisation ascents to get used to the altitude( Le Brevant 2525 metres on the Saturday afternoon and a gruelling 7 hours round-trip of Mont Buet 3096 metres on Sunday, including 2000 metres of ascent).
Bad weather disrupted the rest of the week with weather fronts depositing significant snowfall above 3000 metres and rendering peaks like the Matterhorn and Eiger impossible to ascend.
View from Aretes des Cosmiques
Tuesday brought a brilliant day’s weather so we managed to bag one of the alpine classic mixed routes – the Aretes des Cosmiques (alpine grade AD) on the Aiguille du Midi 3842 metres.
However Tuesday evening brought the arrival of a significant thunderstorm and further heavy snowfall and we woke on Wednesday to hear the news of the death of a party of six French climbers overnight elsewhere in the mountain range which brought home the dangers faced in the mountains this summer.
Thursday saw the arrival of good weather until later in the day, so we took the opportunity to travel to the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland and ascended from Grindelwald to the Jungrfraujoch glacier by 3pm.
After dropping as much gear as possible in a nearby mountain hut we made a successful rapid ascent to the summit of The Monch, 4107 metres ( The Monch is a close neighbour of the Eiger and Jungfrau) via the South East ridge in deteriorating weather conditions, the ascent /descent was over 650 metres vertical ascent of steep snow/ice and rock steps taking 3 hours for the return trip.
The week was an amazing experience and thanks to many generous donations from friends, family and colleagues I managed to raise a total of £3,100 for The Alzhemier’s Society.
I would like say a big thank you to anyone that donated.
To close, Andrew shared this video of a guided ascent near the top of the Matterhorn before his trip. It gives you some idea of what he faced on the mountains he did conquer, even though the weather conditions meant he didn’t actually get to climb this particular peak.
NB the video has heights and accompanying music!