/ Care needed on the Matterhorn
On Wednesday there was a fatal accident on the Hörnli ridge; 2 climbers fell from 4300m. They were at the fixed ropes, and a large block detached itself. The opinion of geologists is that this was a result of the melting permafrost (current freezing level >5000m). The fixed ropes themselves are controlled regularly.
The geologist in this interview (in German): https://www.srf.ch/sendungen/rendez-vous/unfall-am-matterhorn-zusammenhang-mit-permafrost states that the permafrost situation is making summer mountaineering very dangerous in the whole Western Alps. Not only the summit areas are affected; the retreat of the glaciers has also made 20% of all Swiss hut approaches more dangerous; for the Monte Rosa hut for instance a whole new route has had to be constructed.
Be careful out there folks.
I wonder if the whole rising temps is maybe a reason for all the deaths we're seeing. There does seem to be a lot of avalanche fatalities and sections of mountains crumbling down the hillsides. Like the mountains are not risky enough. Thanks for the link.
I got back from Chamonix last week, it seemed like the Mont Blanc Massif was falling down the whole time I was away!
I've never seen the Midi ridge and Valle Blanche that barren so early in the season.
I think the shoulder seasons are going to see much greater activity over the coming years.
Could well be. We had a great spell here about a month ago, when it got colder after the first heatwave. It'll mean that more flexibility is needed, ie not: I'm going to do the Matterhorn (or whatever) in these four days, but rather: I'm going to spend three weeks in the Alps, move around according to the conditions, and go sport climbing or do long hikes if there's any doubt about the conditions higher up.
Scary, that testing holds isn't much help any more when the whole part of the face you're climbing could just slide away beneath you without warning.
A good site for very up to date descriptions of conditions on specific Swiss mountains is this one:
You just enter the mountain you're interested in, and get recent accounts of ascents by various routes. It's in German, but Google translate should provide clear enough translations. Free, but you have to register.
Update: apparently the rock which became detached held the anchor for one of the fixed ropes, so it sounds as though there'll be a gap in them until a new one is in place.
Interesting. Considering how many people pull on the ropes that movement wasnt noticed.
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.