Blog Posts in Category: Mountaineering

Walking above Les Haudères

After being evacuated from the campsite in Arolla due to landslides we headed down to Les Haudères. Due to an unsettled forecast we spent a few days doing day walks rather than heading up to the big mountains. The first walk was the ridge directly above the campsite, we walked up to the Col de Torrent and then aimed to walk along the ridge over the Pointe du Prélet and along to the Pointe du Tsate. The walk up to the Col de Torrent had lovely views up the valley towards the Pigne d’Arolla and down the valley towards some mountains north of the Rhone valley. As we were leaving the col we were treated to a close flypast by a bearded vulture which was stunning. The ridge was fantastic, with great views in every direction, some good scrambling and plenty more wildlife. Unfortunately we got to within 100m of the Pointe du Tsate and had to turn back due to a climb and some loose rocks which we weren’t willing to do without ropes. Thankfully the forecast thunderstorm did not arrive! The next day we planned on climbing the Pic d’Artsinol but decided to turn. Read the full article…

Pigne d’Arolla

After arriving in Arolla we decided to make the most of a weather window by heading straight up to the Cabane des Vignettes with the aim of climbing the Pigne d’Arolla on the next day. The weather on the walk up was stunning but it was very hot, and with the combination of the excessive heat and altitude I really struggled on the ascent. Thanks to some encouragement from our friends we continued, and thankfully as we got onto the glacier it clouded over which provided some respite from the heat. After an excellent evening in the hut, followed by the best hut breakfast I have experienced (bacon, scrambled egg and pancakes) we started the climb up the Pigne d’Arolla the next morning. The route is meant to be an easy snow plod, but due to the very hot summer there was a short section which was steep, bare glacial ice. As we were four on a rope we pitched the ice on the way up and down to ensure that we were safe. After the icy section the rest of the route was straightforward snow where we were able to. Read the full article…

Lochnagar Circuit

Having had a number of days out walking, where the snow was generally excellent we decided to make the most of the beautiful forecast on Easter Sunday by heading over to the east to complete the Lochnagar Circuit. The circuit is long with around 28km of walking which includes 5 Munros, so we didn’t want to be attempting it with deep snow. It was a very cold morning, with temperatures of -6 degrees according to the van, we had to scrape frozen condensation off the inside of the van! What the cold morning did bring, was a beautiful clear sky and hard frost. Soon after we set off we realised that the east had had far more snow than the west in the previous few days, and it became apparent that the day wasn’t going to be a quick romp along frozen high on the plateau. The walk in towards Lochnagar was beautiful in the sunshine, as there was no wind we couldn’t hear anything over than our steps in the crunchy snow and the grouse flying around. We were amazed when we got to the col before the final. Read the full article…

Beinn Sgulaird

With tired legs and a less good forecast we decided to climb Beinn Sgulaird, a single munro above Glen Etive. Despite being a single Munro it was still a fairly long day, as the climb followed a long ridge line with plenty of undulation. The morning was beautiful which provided us with great views towards the Glen Coe hills, and south towards the Cruachan range. The ridge itself would have been very enjoyable had it not been so cold in the wind, and my legs not having been so tired. Unfortunately as we approached the summit bad weather started to come in, and despite our summit not being in the cloud our views were restricted due to the Glen Coe hills and Glen Etive being in a snow shower. After quick stop at the summit, we made a hasty retreat to get off the high ground before the weather deteriorated. As were were descending the weather progressively got worse, but we mostly stayed out of the precipitation.