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Most overated alpine routes

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Since this will clearly be a virtual season, and to complement the other thread.  I'll start with:

Hornli Ridge (the route, not the summit)

Hohlaubgrat

3
In reply to MG:

The Frendo spur

9
 cb294 30 Mar 2020
In reply to MG:

MB via Gouter route, Breithorn from Klein Matterhorn, ...

In reply to cb294:

> MB via Gouter route,

Downright dangerous

> Breithorn from Klein Matterhorn, ...

Yes, but imagine it before all the ski paraphernalia.  I think it would have been stunning then for some so easy technically.

In reply to cb294:

> MB via Gouter route

It is a fantastic route of its type. Of course spoilt by all the people, but does that mean it's overrated?

Post edited at 12:16
 cb294 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

There are so many better routes of that type, and the view from a mountain with such prominence is never the best, feels a bit like being in an airplane. Just compare it to the Dom, Aletschhorn, or Dufourspitze normal routes, where the surrrounding summits are of similar height.

And yes, the crowds spoiling the fun are there precisely because the route is rated more highly than it deserves, just because MB is the highest summit around. IMO that is the very definition of overrated.

Similar things can be seen in the Bernese Alps, where every man and their dog do the Fierscherhörner that just about surpass the 4k line, while you can have Chamm and Gross Wannenhorn all for yourself even though the routes and position are absolutely stunning.

CB

In reply to cb294:

> There are so many better routes of that type, and the view from a mountain with such prominence is never the best, feels a bit like being in an airplane. Just compare it to the Dom, Aletschhorn, or Dufourspitze normal routes, where the surrrounding summits are of similar height.

Sorry, but I have to disagree with all of that. The upper part of the ridge has a true feeling of spacewalking unlike anything else in the Alps and the view, being so much higher than anything, makes it quite unique. 

In reply to MG:

> Since this will clearly be a virtual season, and to complement the other thread.  I'll start with:

> Hornli Ridge (the route, not the summit)

> Hohlaubgrat

I thought the Hornli magnificent. We did have the summit and most of the route above the Solvay to ourselves though.

The second Alpine route I did was as an 18 year old on the NW ridge of the Aiguille du Midi. We were total novices. Guidebook time was about 12 hours. We pitched everything and bivouaced twice. I think we over rated ourselves. 

 Fergal 30 Mar 2020
In reply to MG:

Petite Aiguille Verte, Have never done it, but it looks like an overcrowded Ant hill. 

3
 cb294 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

De gustibus, etc.... I did not particularly enjoy the view downwards only. Nice, but not so nice that it deserves being so obviously highly rated.

CB

 Rob Parsons 30 Mar 2020
In reply to cb294:

> And yes, the crowds spoiling the fun are there precisely because the route is rated more highly than it deserves, just because MB is the highest summit around.

You can avoid the crowds. One October, I went up Mont Blanc via the Gouter (and then went down via the Trois Monts route): I saw only one other person on the entire trip (that was on the slopes of Mt Maudit) , and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.

Post edited at 13:44
 cb294 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Yes I did it late in the season as well, and also many years ago, so the crowds were not a problem. The question, though is, whether it is really better than comparable routes (Dom, Aletschhorn, ...), or whether it so popular that you have think about crowds because it is overrated due to the height of the summit?

I would argue the latter, same as rather nondescript 4k summits being much more popular than more spectacular 3980m summits just across the glacier and in an arguably more spectacular setting (my Finsteraarhorn hut examples above. Finsteraarhorn itself is of course very much worth doing)

CB.

In reply to Rob Parsons:

How did you get down out of interest. Was the cable car still running? 

 Rob Parsons 30 Mar 2020
In reply to MG:

> How did you get down out of interest. Was the cable car still running? 


On the ascent, I walked all the way up from Les Houches. On the descent, I took the Midi cable car, which indeed was still running. (I wouldn't have tried the trip if it wasn't.)

Post edited at 13:56
In reply to MG:

The great thing about this thread is that the more dislikes you get for a suggestion the better - after all, for a route to be overrated, lots of people have got to think it's not. So the suggestions with large numbers of likes and dislikes are the correct ones. I'm therefore cautiously encouraged by the response to my Frendo suggestion.

Post edited at 15:38
1
In reply to Robert Durran:

That is doing my head in. In a Father Ted      'Near and far away' way...... 

In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

It's quite simple: if you like it, you don't like it so you dislike it.

1
In reply to Robert Durran:

>  I'm therefore cautiously encouraged by the response to my Frendo suggestion.

Ages ago I had a thread asking what the appeal was because I couldn't see it.  Apparently it was obvious to everyone but me.  

 walts4 30 Mar 2020
In reply to MG:

Cordier pillar for sure, so over rated.

Cordier Pillar (TD 6b)

Why oh why, it seems to be on every Brits wish list I've no idea?

So many better long granite routes out there, the only pitch with any character & interest is the off width at the top.

3
 Tony the Blade 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Fergal:

> Petite Aiguille Verte, Have never done it, but it looks like an overcrowded Ant hill. 

A route quite often cited as THE acclimatisation session prior to MB. It's a fun morning out, I quite enjoyed the ridge, and the views are superb.

However, you can easily spend the day waiting for others to get out of the way, or being shouted at by guides as you overtake their clients - that isn't fun.

 derryclimbs 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Fergal:

> Petite Aiguille Verte, Have never done it, but it looks like an overcrowded Ant hill. 

I did this. But my mate was living locally and knew the logistics of getting there, and what time the crowds would arrive. We got the first lift up, ran off down the stairs, into our crampons and off we went with no one following us. By the time we were half way up we could see the hordes amassing. On the descent we encountered the typical 'French guide' scenario; overtaking, clipping anything, slow client etc etc. So we decided to abseil a rope length down the face and traverse off the other side. The actual climbing was great (for someone of my modest ability) but I would have hated being stuck in that clusterf*ck of ropes and people. 

Really good for a quick route too. My shuttle back to Geneva was at 10:30. Got back with seconds to spare!

EDIT: just saw Tony's post above. Which reflects my comments. ...Have a like! 

Post edited at 16:19
In reply to MG:

> Ages ago I had a thread asking what the appeal was because I couldn't see it.  Apparently it was obvious to everyone but me.  

Probably the telepherique. But, of course, they don't realise that that is actually one of the things which makes it a bit rubbish.

In reply to Tony the Blade:

> A route quite often cited as THE acclimatisation session prior to MB. It's a fun morning out, I quite enjoyed the ridge, and the views are superb.

> However, you can easily spend the day waiting for others to get out of the way, or being shouted at by guides as you overtake their clients - that isn't fun.

I think I must have soloed it and had it to myself about five times. I used to have a routine of arriving in Chamonix after that dreadful Eurolines bus journey, dosing myself with paracetamol, taking the telepherique up, dossing in the Grands Montets station, and nipping up the route before getting the first morning telepherique down (and then doing a similar thing the next night using the midi telepherique........ )

It's actually a nice little route and a superb viewpoint.

 Al Randall 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I would be interested to know why you don't like the Frendo. Is it just the closeness of the telepherique?  I've done it 3 times.  It was my very first alpine route, way back and the experience was a dangerous disaster for one reason or another and resulted in my thinking that perhaps alpine climbing was not for me.  I repeated it after having done several other alpine routes to see what it was really like. The last time I did it was as a warm up for the Walker Spur and in that regard it to proved to be very good. I thought that it was comparable to the Walker in ascent but of course the telepherique makes it considerably less serious and time consuming. Bear in  mind that the first two times I climbed it we did the Rognon which makes it better and much harder IMO.

Al

 Fergal 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Check out Money bags! if we used the Telepherique, we would be heading into the Basin to do a proper route.

In reply to Al Randall:

> I would be interested to know why you don't like the Frendo. 

I didn't say I didn't like it or that it is a poor route. I said it is overrated which is not the same thing. So the question shouldn't be why I don't like it but why a lot of people think it's better than it actually is*.

Similarly I think that Gogarth is overrated while still thinking that it is an excellent crag - it's just that the number of people that go on about it as if it's the best crag in the world is ludicrous.

*Apart from the telepherique, I suspect that for quite a lot of people it is their first (and perhaps only) biggish alpine mixed route, so they have important personal memories of it without having all that much to compare it with objectively.

Edit: I now see that I did earlier say it was "a bit rubbish". I take that back - I should have been more careful. Sorry.

Post edited at 16:46
In reply to Robert Durran:

The Frendo is nice enough and a key stepping stone to bigger things. The rock is not the best but it’s not exactly loose either, great bivvy spot if you take it and nicely varied with the snow and ice at the top (increasingly difficult to get in condition now unfortunately). I wouldn’t put it in the ‘best of’ category but it’s nice enough and definitely serves a purpose as a training or acclimatisation route.

In reply to Misha:

> The Frendo is nice enough and a key stepping stone to bigger things. The rock is not the best but it’s not exactly loose either, great bivvy spot if you take it and nicely varied with the snow and ice at the top (increasingly difficult to get in condition now unfortunately). I wouldn’t put it in the ‘best of’ category but it’s nice enough and definitely serves a purpose as a training or acclimatisation route.

Yes, a fair assessment.

 Al Randall 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

It was probably in better condition when we did it back in the day, the snow ridge was definitely in worse condition the last time I did it.  Granted the quality of the rock is not as good as that on the Rebuffat but it's a different style/character of route. If I'm honest I don't really recall much bad rock as such.

Al

Post edited at 17:03
In reply to Al Randall:

> It was probably in better condition when we did it back in the day, the snow ridge was definitely in worse condition the last time I did it.  

I did it in '83 as my first reasonably serious alpine route and the conditions were good apart from Russian roulette with stonewall getting onto it and then dreadful stonewall off the rognon itself (someone in front of us got his thigh badly smashed); getting established on the rognon was really dangerous. 

In reply to walts4:

> Cordier pillar for sure, so over rated.

> So many better long granite routes out there, the only pitch with any character & interest is the off width at the top.

Really? It may well be overrated (I've not done too many routes of a similar style to compare it with), but I remember there being plenty of good climbing on it.

 wilkesley 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I think we should start a "Worst way of getting to Chamonix" thread. Eurolines would be a clear winner. I think I used it four times. On one journey driving on the motorway out of London the car in front had a blowout and the bus rammed it. The car looked like a write off, but luckily nobody was injured.

In reply to wilkesley:

Short thread! Only did the bus once. Horrible.

In reply to wilkesley:

> I think we should start a "Worst way of getting to Chamonix" thread. Eurolines would be a clear winner. I think I used it four times.

Nine times for me I think. It was hell. Worse than the worst alpine bivi. At 6'5" my tactic was to spend the first hour with my knees rammed hard against the seat in front until the occupant gave up trying to recline it.

 birks3746 30 Mar 2020
In reply to MG:

Dent du Geant, SW face.

Slog across a glacier, slog up 2/3 of the height gain up a choss gulley/slope, slog up an ok-ish route for the remaining 1/3. For full marks I slogged my way into a crevasse on the way back.

1
 Rob Parsons 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Nine times for me I think. It was hell. Worse than the worst alpine bivi. At 6'5" my tactic was to spend the first hour with my knees rammed hard against the seat in front until the occupant gave up trying to recline it.


Ah right! That was you, was it. Bastard!

In reply to Rob Parsons:

> Ah right! That was you, was it. Bastard!

My pleasure.


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