Aug 4, 2012

Mountain Globetrotter - passport not required... Climbing the Lagginhorn

Apine starts are not my ‘speciality’. Even when sleeping in the worlds widest bed with at least 15 other groggy climbers in a stuffy humid and 'not so pleasant smelling' room (have I sold it to you yet?? Trip Advisor review?), the prospect of crawling out from under a warm woolly blanket and into the cold fresh air is never an appealing one. Today was no exception – with the fog settling outside the only thing that could rouse me from my slumber was a fresh cup of coffee – and fortunately the hut had that in abundance..!
Like Heidi in the mountains, we set out from the friendly Swiss-German run hut at around 6am after a leisurely breakfast on account of waiting for the early morning cloud to clear. Fortunately Isabelle had done some initial reconnaissance the previous evening as the path leading up the tongue of the glacier was not well marked. As my body got used to the ‘shock’ of having woken up at 4am, I was reminded of what I love about climbing – the stillness of the air, the steady plodding of feet, and the anticipation of a lovely sun-rise. This morning was no exception as we made our way over the loose scree and onto the glacier where we prepared for our ascent of the mighty Lagginhorn.
It was a great, straight forward climb which we managed with ease solving all of the worlds problems along the way. Some sections revealed some exposed ridges and careful navigation over ‘loose’ scree and brittle ice.  As we reached the 4010m summit, we were treated with spectacular views of the Weissmies which we’ll be climbing tomorrow. Whilst on the summit we took our blood-oxygen sats with the pulseoximeter – for the first foray up to 4000m results were good! The clouds from the summit were absolutely spectacular but when thunder was heard rolling in the distance we decided to make a well-timed departure from our lofty perch..!
The descent was a bit more treacherous and proved to be a great challenge on the knees with the loose rock underfoot - there were times when your feet went one direction and the loose rock had other intentions..! I didn't know it at the time but sadly the Lagginhorn had been the scene of a terrible climbing accident several weeks before in which 5 German climbers had lost their lives. It serves as a reminder that even on straightforward peaks, care and attention must always be taken.
Fortunately we had brilliant weather and managed a relativley quick descent, arriving at the bottom in time to enjoy a quick snack and the sunshine. When we arrived at the Weissmies hut at around 3pm that afternoon, we enjoyed a refreshing glass of apple cider and took in the spectacular views from the stunning hut. With its gigantic windows overlooking the Weissmies, we were absolutely spoiled with the sun streaming into the dining room. A fantastic dinner of schnitzel, salad and spaghetti was served accompanied by some of Switzerlands finest house-red wine.
A fantastic and fun day out in the Swiss Alps!


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