/ Alpine winter route recommendations

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JStearn 22 Oct 2019

I know this is a pretty condition dependent question and it's not the best time of year but I'm looking for recommendations for reliable Alpine routes in January. Preferably multi-day routes up to TD and ideally around Chamonix/Zermatt but flexible with that.

Cheers,

James

Fergal 22 Oct 2019
In reply to JStearn:

Nant blanc face ( Charlet platinov ), obvs recommending because i have done it, its nice.

Al Randall 22 Oct 2019
In reply to JStearn:

I would thoroughly recommend the Swiss route on the Courtes.

Al

JStearn 22 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

This one's on the wishlist already!

smithaldo 22 Oct 2019
In reply to JStearn: Have you done much alpine stuff? Or ice stuff? Before venturing onto an alpine multiday route In January, you’d likely want alot of experience as its frigging cold. 

I.e. if it was me i’d probably want to have done 80% or 90% of your wish list in more amenable temperatures, and even then I’d be too freaked even thinking about the cold and amount of kit needed to combat it and climbing at a relatively tricky level  

Check out the video of Tom livingstone and Pete Graham doing the Walker spur late March as evidence of alpine winter cold...

JStearn 22 Oct 2019
In reply to smithaldo:

Good question, I've done a fair amount in summer/autumn and spent the last few weeks on Elbrus and Kazbek so have been in some cold situations, but not done real technical stuff in those temps. Some smaller climbs would be good to refine our winter systems, I definitely don't want us to bite off more than we can chew. Gear wise I'm happy with my systems but want to get experience on a cold, longer route with other considerations (bivvy gear etc). Partly due to my partner's schedule, January is the best opportunity, but we are also considering ice climbing in Norway as a more reliable possibility. We will be up in Scotland in December so can assess how we are climbing together and go from there. I've seen that video, looks like a lot of suffering but amazing.

Misha 22 Oct 2019
In reply to JStearn:

It would be sensible to do some 2-3 day Alpine routes in the summer and some one day technical hits in spring first. It’s not just the snow and cold, it’s the overall length and commitment of big Alpine routes. Which the snow and cold and lack of daylight only add to. 

JStearn 22 Oct 2019
In reply to Misha:

Thanks for the wisdom. Any suggestions for shorter, less committing routes to try at that time of year? Maybe Norway is the better bet. I've bivvied on routes in the summer but would like to get some experience of doing technical stuff when everything is cold and awkward.

Misha 22 Oct 2019
In reply to JStearn:

Plenty of one day mixed hits around Cham. Ski in ski out mostly, some require staying in a hut the night before but many don’t. Get the Batoux book for some ideas. You can always bivvy on a glacier instead of staying in a hut if you want the bivvy experience but without the commitment of a multi day route. March and into April is the time for mixed though. January is just too cold and dark and the glaciers aren’t well filled in so skiing to and from the routes is more of an issue. As you say, ice climbing is a better bet. Rjukan, Cogne, Kandersteg and so on. 


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