/ Alpine winter route recommendations
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.
Nant blanc face ( Charlet platinov ), obvs recommending because i have done it, its nice.
I would thoroughly recommend the Swiss route on the Courtes.
This one's on the wishlist already!
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
This Alpine Conditions page gives a summary of what is being climbed at the moment, what is 'in' nick and what the prospects are...
Lake District-based runner Kim Collison has set a new speed record on the Bob Graham Round in winter. Kim completed the round in just 15 hours 47 minutes, knocking a big chunk from the previous fastest winter time of 18:18 set by Jim Mann in 2013.