2013-09-02

Wallis

After our last success, Jaron and I planned to go for a week of mountaineering again this year. I had been looking forwards to it and saving my vacation days for the entire year, mindful that this would likely be my one chance this year to cross the 4000m line. The weather forecast for the entire week was as good as you could possibly hope for, with a stable high pressure zone and nothing but sun for 7 days.

Jaron on the approach.
Lagginghorn (4010m). We went up the ridge on the left last time.

In anticipation I came down from the Grosser Diamantstock a day early, foregoing on a day of climbing and cancelling the reservation for one night. At home on Sunday I was anxiosly pacing up and down our appartment, like a tiger in a cage, waiting for Jaron. Unfortunately due to some misunderstanding and spotty planning/communication Jaron wouldn't arrive till Monday. I was hoping he'd be early and we could do the drive to Wallis and hike to our bivy spot on the same day. Alas, we arrived at the campground in the valley only late at night.

Jegihorn (3206m). The 13 pitch route Alpendurst goes up on the left-ish side of the main face.
The Dom (4545m) range.

At least I thought we could hike in quickly and then do the planned 13 pitch climb in the afternoon on Tuesday. Instead we spent a lot of time organizing gear and once we finally got going we were agonizingly slow. It turned out Jaron wasn't fit and suffering from a bad cold. It took us twice as long as it should have to get to our bivouac spot and, once there, the only thing we could do was crash and get some rest.

My hopes that almost 12 hours of sleep at our bivy would revitalize Jaron somewhat where shattered once we started climbing the Alpendurst. It is almost trivially easy climbing and features bolts every meter or so (seriously, on some stretches the bolts are closer together than in the gym!). I led the first pitch and once Jaron followed up to the anchor it became painfully obvious that we'd have to turn around. Devastated I prepared the rappel.

Camouflaged chamois. They were scrambling around our camp site.
Bivy with a view!

There was nothing to do but bail. We took the cable car down and drove back home. A disappointment of epic proportions. Complete waste of dream weather and vacation days. No climbing partner for the remaining days means no climbing and no 4000er. I had grand schemes for this week, traversing the Weissmies, linking summits, climbing a peak a day... the sun was with us and I was as fit as I had ever been. Then a stupid cold destroyed those dreams. Lesson learned: plan better next time and communicate expectations more clearly.

~1100m up, ~10km

Things-that-could-have-been: Alpendurst.
Things-that-could-have-been: Weissmies (4017m).