Route -
to Zermatt

Tignes Off Piste Jan 2004
Gogarth Climbing June 04
Bernese Oberland Tour

Hut to Hut Grimsel to Fafleralp
August 2002

 Day Four : Finsteraarhorn 4274m

5 o'clock saw us setting off up rocks behind the hut. Another group was just in front
Cold and mistyleading the way well, so we just followed until the rock ran out and we were on the snow. Crampons on and roped up, we set off roughly due north until we got to the "fruhstuckplatz". As can be seen from the photo left it was wreathed in cloud and covered in a dusting of snow. This is the point at which the route crosses the long SW/NE ridge which runs the height of the mountain. After a quick bite, we followed the group in front.
I was not going well, and the further we got the more effort I had to put in. It wasn't that the route was difficult or strenuous, it wasn't, the route is very straight forward. But,as we approached the Hugisattel, I was having to push myself more and more, whilst Bill and Nigel followed easily behind.
View back to the Fruhstuckplatz We had a few minutes stop at the HugisattelView to summit ridge
and I was getting cold and shivering. I put my fleece jacket on and forced down some drink and a bite of something. Bill asked if I wanted to lead up the ridge but I just wanted to go down, I was feeling so rough.
But we roped up and Bill lead on up the quarter mile of ridge to the summit.Bill leads up the summit ridge
It's actually superb climbing, easy rock and snow, but interesting all the way and it was very atmospheric climbing with the cloud coming and going.Approaching the summit

Dave at the summit crossOn reaching the summit, the team in front of us were about to leave and we had the place to ourselves. Photos taken, I just wanted to get down. I lead off (weakest first!), everything to the right was in cloud, hiding the drops. Below and left we could see the previous team well down on the glacier below. It about 3/4 of an hour to regain the Hugisattel where we had left our sacks.Descending the ridgeLooking back up the ridge past BillA quick drink and I started down as quickly as possible. There was warm sunshine and with the decreasing altitude I began to improve. Just before the fruhstuckplatz there is a small area of quite large crevasses, then a slight rise and we were back on the ridge where we could stop and have a good break. Here I could take off some gear and really soak up the sun. Bill, who had been taking a video, asked me had I enjoyed it. I replied that I had hated every minute of it.
However, we were nearly down and just had a couple of small bergschrunds to jump, a plod down to the rock rib above the hut and we were back late at 4:50pm. The last team to get back.
Descent to fruhstuckplatz Nigel warms up on the way down, tracks and crevasses behind The Finsteraarhorn summit Almost back to the rock above the hut


David Mercer2002