Jun 27, 2012

The terrible Schreck

Schreckhorn in aller Munde - Die Schrecklich!

The 4078m heigh Schreckhorn is a most wanted and beautiful peak. Not so easy to access and not so easy to summit. It takes it's man, fearless man! And its South Pillar route is supposed to be of great quality and much demanding, even though if the grade isnt the highest. But, its far away from a regular sportsclimb! Just entering the named hut takes the fear out of most people cause the guardian is a gruff guarding man that doesn't make much of letting the airspace a little lighter...so to speak...

The walk in is said to be long and ... long. But I must say it is a bit long but still very nice with great views over a lot of 4000m + peaks and a brutal glacier.

And the atmosphere keeps its mythic cause of suddenly tumbling down the hill boulders as well as small rivers of water to cross. The first that wants to cross you and the second that you want to cross:)

A 4h walk from Pfingsteggbahn, located in the lower end of Grindelwald. The trail goes over and traverses a long mountainside with a track that gets more and more interesting the closer the goal.

You won't be lonely on the trail, a lot of locals around as well...

"schreckhorn is in the Eastern Bernese Oberland, between Grimsel and the Fiescher and Eismeer Glaciers. It forms with Lauteraarhorn an impressive double-summit. Schreckhorn is the culmination point of a 10 Km ridge that extends from the NW to the SE over Mettenberg (3.104 m), Ankenbälli (3.164 m), Gwächtenhorn (3.164 m), Klein Schreckhorn (3.494 m), Nässihorn (3.741 m), Schreckhorn itself, Lauteraarhorn (4.042 m), Kleines Lauteraarhorn (3.737 m) and Lauteraar Rothörner (3.473 m). It's the most rugged and hardest 4.000 meter mountain in the Bernese Alps"

the Schreckhorn hütte, with the gipfel still in clouds

One thing that I don't like with alpine climbing is when I have people above me. The risk of someone pulling down a big rock in my head always wants me go faster then the rest of the "crowd" But, this is one thing that you don't have to worry about in this part of the world, no one else will probably be around. And, arriving at the hut it looks like said is true, we are the only ones! Might be beacuse it's the first official day open, but still. It's a Saturday, with nice weather!

The first glans up the hill gives the impression that only getting to the base of the peak will be a small expedition! But, after a second one, I get a better idea of how to get there. It says that this mountain is hard to approach, which ever side. And I must say I believe this!

After the evening Coffey the weather clears even more and we can get a good look over next days goal.

with the sunset the sky clears and we can get a perfect vuiew over our goal, Schreckhorn in the far distans...how the h..l to get there...

After a superb dinner provided by Hans and his nice wife, we both feel it's time for randevouz with the bed. The morning workout with sport climbing in Lehn and then the walk in has taken its share.

Sunset over Bernese Alps

Next morning brings us a clear sky and perfect temperature, +4C and the neige has frozen to solid floor to walk up. The 900mts of hight to gain to the base will do much easier. Only thing is that we need to walk down almost hundred mts first to the glacier!

Christmas breakfast in a quiet hut

The approach turns out to be quite ok, once over the morain a good path brings us up to the snowfields and make the walking easy. But still, hard enough! The snow is hard frozen and the crossing of the glacier feels very safe. And finally we can get a first glance up the mountain and the objective route. It looks like its a bit of snow on it...

Schreckhorn 4078

Once at the base we rack up and makes the final adjusments for going vertical. The bergschrund is easily passed and the neve is perfect to place the axes in. A stroll up the hill.

Approaching the South Pillar of Schreckhorn with other 4000m peaks in the distans, so much to do.

The first pitches are very easy on consolidated snow and some ice. The choise to bring 2 axes quickly turns out to been a good one.

Mikael on the arête, the red machine!

The route finding turns out to be quite obvious, thanks for that! But the amount of ice and snow gives the climb a bit of mixing feeling. Sometimes I have to take the crampons off to climb some slabs in my boots, but then needs to take them on again on up to vertical mixed terrain. Just magnific!

Still on two crampons...

According to the topo there supposed to be a good number of pegs in place. But almost on the half part of the climb I still haven't found any.

The climbing is most enjoyable, though never super hard. But some nice runouts now and then on slabs that has a bit of steep feeling, makes me think of the rock shoes I am carrying in the bottom of my blueice pack. Well, they fits fine there. A bit of cussing over non possible chance to place any pro works fine as well!

Soon halfway, on or off...But perfect rock

After pulling myself up a steep corner I find myself on a most difficult section, a slabby non protected traverse and a hard landing. No chance. Down again and fight myself over a short mixed section, on with the crampons again and axes out.

"what a beautiful day" singing along with Chris Cagle and bringing the rope in

On the next belay I can see there is something shining in the sun, an old camdevice. At least now we are on route, and close under the pillar leading to the summit, after 3 hours climbing.

Mikael on an other of many mixed sections.

At the base of the pillar the crampons goes of again, some people decided to trough them down the hill, not me!
The rock goes ruff and looks a bit hard,some sections a bit hard to protect but over all again most perfect. Rock solid.

On the go

After this 2 pitches of steep rock the thing angels out and it feels like we a close to the col under the summit. But, the Schreck has one more test before leaving us the top. A most hard looking section up a ruff looking gendarme, but at least there is some old stuff on it in the shape of and old badly placed piton. I climb up and manage to clip it, but quickly decide to go down and replace it with a little better nut. Before mantling up on a small cussin' foot hold with some lousy pinch hold. Why have they built the crux at the summit!?

But it's just a short section and once over this I can see the final ridge up to the top. Gonna make it! But the wind has picked up and sometimes I have just a hard time standing up, and holding on to my hat!

Last ridge to the summit

As always, this great feeling of completing a long planned route and topping out a great climbing effort, the Schreck fought well but with some cooperation we made it work.

Two happy summiteers!

-Ok, we managed to bring us to the summit, 600mts uphill, seen any good way down this hill?

Because we ended up with just 3 crampons, one and a half set, we decided to skip the full traverse and headed for the south west ridge to descent. Currently the normal way up as well as down. And, to my pleasant surprise there was good anchors here and there. Not even hard to find. And after a lot of rappelling we was back on the long wanted glacier!

An other great day in the mountains!

Only 2 hours walk back to the hut-dinner is served 19:00 sharp!, the last word spoken from the Schreckguardian...

A good rack of hard wear with a nice looking chalkbag

Schreckhorn south Pillar

600 mts climbing3-4hours approach from the Schreckhorn hut (3-4 hours approach to their from the Pfingsteggbahn)

Grade UIAA V+

You need, crampons/ice axe, maybe 2 axes, 2x50m rope useful but might work with one 60m, a small set of nuts, camdevices Camalot 0.75-3 plus some small green and yellow Aliens. There are no belays in place! 7-8 QD

And équipement for glacier
Recommended way down is the south west ridge, good rappel anchors

If you don't mind a long approach, this is a most recommended route up to a great mountain, long way from the crowds!

/Bonne courage

Jun 22, 2012

La Petite Maladière Une très bien...


It is always nice to find out something that works well. Doesn't matter if it is a new adjustment for the road bike, like my new compact disc for my Scott, or just to find a nice vertical cliff with a whole bunch of 4* routes. And then not just one pitch ones!

The walk in to Maladières is about 30 min on an easy trail. Passing some old houses as well as an area where there always this time of year are masses of berries.

And once at the cliff the views over le massif are stunning!

An other thing for the day was to try out the best of three options of clogging on a fix rope!

Rope solo climbing

If the route isn't to long or hard I prefer to climb the pitch again when cleaning it, this is when I rope solo. Otherwise, I clean the pitch using jumars, if the route is long, hard and warm...Since before I have given up on using the regular Petzl Basic, which I think is ok for it's purpose but a bit ankward cause it's also nesessary to use a chest harness as well. There for I have found out that the best choices would be Petzl minitraxion, Trango Cinch or Kong Duck


Only one of these are actually tested and approved for clogging, but that doesn't really mean that the other ones won't work and be safe?? Maybe a factor of cost of money?

So today I put the all in the blue ice pack and walked off from le Orage

And walked off, again to mald... The goal was set for a couple of high star routes - Jacques l'éventreur and Obsession. Two as it turned out easy to find! and good quality routes up the middle of le Petite. With a start up ...casque de Jupiter.
Vanja as always at the base (this time top) taking observations

The rappel down is straightforward. 2 rapps and touchdown.

Rien pour obtenir la corde de rester coincé dans la clôture! After leading the first pitch, rapp down and first out on the fix rope was the duck. A small nice thing that weights only like 78gr. With a still big enough whole for a regular biner to fit in. But, this thing isn't recommended for this use! And I must say it doesn't feel quite safe. Even though it worked fine when I fell back in it. BUT, it will not lock if you just lean back or if there is a to big weight below holding the rope down! Then it just slides down the rope...

So after the next pitch, a long nice 6c, I put on the cinch, which main purpose is belaying, so if one want to re-climb a section just rappel down back and start over. It slides nice up the rope but needs a heavier weight pulling the rope down for easy sliding. ( I just used my more or less empty sac a dos)

Off course this depend on which diameter your rope have. I use a 9.4mm Bluewater at this test. And it slides fine. The Cinch is approved down to just 9.4! I also noticed that it slides slowly down wards if I just hanged on into the cinch without braking it...just sslloowwlyy As in very slow!

The last pitch of l'éventreur has a hard to read section of 6b, but here is the horn! Catch it if your a short guy and your home safe!

Le Romainian horn!?

Otherwhise there are no surprises, except really perfect lime...

Fun and funny on the day off...

Back on top, off to next route and an other rappel. Same start with le Casque, but this time out to the right and the last pitch of 6c on Obsession is just a stunning line, move after move.

For this route I use the minitraxion. But it's sharp teeth makes me feel a bit "hairy". Even though it's the only device of these that is approved for the reason... And, it slides fine up the rope and is easy to pull in.

It locks with out any hassle when I let the body fall out with some slack. Well, it works, thanks 4 thats!

After the days workout, it's time to get back down the road to get some more berries down the belly.. And the conclusion that booth Petzl and Trango has a good working piece for clogging.

And the duck belongs with the Clic a Claque...!

La Petite Maladiére

To get here follow the track and signs from the parking, first one on the left after village le Frasse. The track takes you up a dirt road which changes to a path. After a small forest clearing the path goes up right. Follow this for approx 50mts and then take left. Your at le sommet!

The best anchour is at the sign of Romain Vogler metal plate.

The limestone is very compact on steep rock with very good friction.

You need, 2x50m ropes for the rappel, 7-8 QD and a good bag of chalk

notice. To use a clogging system safe, what ever device, it is wise and reckomended to have a backup rope with "bunny ears" to hold you in case of mal function of the device!

But, after leading on a thing, Rock Exotica Soloist, that doesn't even have a CE typing, I don't feel to unhappy to clogg on just one rope...:)

/ Dur Conduire!



Jun 18, 2012

Trois jours trois vois vertical - L'oiseau de feu

L'oiseau de feu, 6c 10pitches and a mega tour up a beautiful line of La Mamule - Aravis

La Mamule - les Aravis

If you as me like steep footwork with long runouts, this is a route to aim for! And it's not just a climb. It involves a 1 1/2h approach as well up some nice scenic trails via the most exellent place refuge ...!!

Starting from the ski area and road end of la Clusaz. Drive up to les Confines and take the trail to ref. Bombardellaz. The path continues behind/above le refuge and an other 40 min walking.

After this sign...

...Continue approx 20-30mts uphill and then there is a faith trail out leftwards. Follow this hard to see start trail around the hillside and up towards the peak.

The start of the climb goes over an often wet steep tricky part. There is actually 2 starts, but the nicest one is the one to the right. Higher up to the right there are a couple of one pitch routes!

As so often, as it is said, the start is wet, very wet! So either pull on the bolts or choose an other route, I go for the first option...

Pulling the first 2, up on the third and then I decide to take off uphill...lets see...,

The Firebird is said to be hard on the grade and up yes, it looks like the bolts are placed after the "take the shit" out of them device. On the easier pitches the bolts are pretty close but on the 6's there is only one way, climb it! And it's most enjoyable indeed. Very spacy climbing on good friction limestone.

As we, as to often, started up with an anti alpine start, I head up the first pitch at 14:30 something, could be a long day in the mountains. But the day is great, a little wind and no clouds, just the dust from the chalk bag. Time to relax and just climb.

An route le Montagne

There is no easy pitches to start with, actually the only 6a is a very short one at the end of the route and even that one has a bit of boulder problem grade, a bit higher than the grade set in most cases. But cussing the numbers!

Somewhere on the route there is just no point of thinking at the chance of going down, like falling. There is just a nice flow in the climbing. Very perfect and as said, enjoyable!
At some point I find my self stretched out, with my thumb at a cristal trying to pinch...something. Next thing I'm not holding on to anything, not even the crystal that just broke off.
But a nice blue water holds on to me so the cussing cristal didn't win after all! :-)
Me, the stone and the blue...

The route is a bit devided in two, as it felt. The first part...and the second part, 2 parts right!?

The first parts slabs and friction steps gets a bit more vertical but still a bit frictionista. Vertical friction.


I finally find myself at a nice, one of many, belay. Overlooking the next pitch, said to be a 6b, but looks just impassable...

Turns out to be passable but on a bit secret holds, just perfect, again! Like the last pitches that brings us up to the last belay just at a small tower. A bit of airy scramble and we can walk out on the ridge to start the walk down descent.

tres belle le deux

Thé descent isn't to complicated,but there is a bit of down scrambling over some exposed parts and then when it feels hopeless. There is an anchour! Make a 50m rappel and you are down.

Pinching the lime time

Les Maladières
But, the weekend wasn't over just because of this...
Next thing was a shorter route on Maladières. A nice cliff above Cluse.
On which we the day before did a climb as well, the Qui s'y frotte s'y pique 6c+
A five pitch route that travel up the hill on the Eclipsè area. On most perfect rock with good bolts.
Anna on Qui s'y frotte s'y pique 6c+

To finally end this we after a bit of bushing and a lot from me at least Big Cussing Story, ended up and chalking the vertical on Amertume 6c.

Idyllic approach to les Maladières

This route is a bit of same as Eclipsé, same start but a harder 6c middle part and a bit of desperat 6b finish. Overall an other nice climb...

So happy I could scream out load or loader...great climbing on Maladières

And what ever you do, don't miss a pain du chocolat at les Nomade in La Giettaz. Its a bomber!

Next one is...written in the stars

You need

For la Mamule; 2x50m rope (for the last rappel, we use just a 6mm trail line), 12 QD, good shoes

For les Maladières; 2x50m rope (the routes are rappelled down and easiest to find anchour are at the Eclipse area, small yellow wood signs) 10QD

next one...?...is written in the stars!


Bonne chance avec le été et le pluie...À +


Jun 16, 2012

Forza di Orco

What an incredible amount of rain and snow!

It's almost midsummer and there is still fresh snow on the peaks even as low as the 2000mts ones of les Aravis each and every morning...

The weather has been a bit of on and off for a couple off weeks and it doesn't look like it matters where ever I go, from here to the northern part of Norway, still the same (but just colder) forecast, le pluie an masse!

So, time to go a bit south and head for some Italian granit, one of my favorit climbing areas Valle dell'Orco

Just driving through the mont Blanc tunnel, doesn't just cost a bit of money but its like arriving in an other world. Dry roads, cheap good coffe and a yellow thing shining over us, yes!

And it just gets better down the road...

Orco, not to be mixed up with Arco, is on the south side of Grand Paradiso. Which has a named famous 4000m summit as well. An area great for skiing and climbing.

A couple of hours drive and we arrive to this ocean of slabs and walls of cracks, well worth the fuel.

And don't miss the Pizzeria da Tiziano

The approaches are everything from 30sec to a couple of hours, we aimed for the Sergent area at the end of the valley. A 20min walk and there's loads of routes.

Incastromania 6a, a do not miss this one warm up, beautiful hand crack. Well protected with mid sized up to nr2 Camalot

Vanja is enjoying, finally there is sunshine!

After Incastro we had time to head for Michail delle torture a 6b Orco crack classic. The route starts up some traversing crack and grass system which doesn't look to inspiring, and can be avoided via an direct start, but that involves climbing a bolted route, and personally I find it to bizarre to climb any of those bolted lines next to a perfect crack...can't understand the idea. There is an other thing with the slab routes, but a couple of meters next to a crack, why!?

First pitch of Michail delle torture

Anyhow, the Torture one isnt the anything close to the hardest route, but a bit tricky and exposed and can give a nice flight down the slope. A tactical nut is placed under the roof of the second pitch, sometimes...

And with a potential 7a finish, not to be missed!

P-E takes the opportunity to show the Swiss dülfer rappel

Since Orco has both cracks and slabs we headed for a tendon workout day two and "Cristo Verde" 6b

A slab training route over 7 pitches. The crux on the 6b is well protected but consider some nice run outs

Sea of granit

The route starts at the west side of le Sergent, the most left hand side, just where there are some old cement blocks with 2 big old rusty bolts. A faint trail takes you out there from the main trail


This is a perfect route, as well as one of the classics, an other one, which are crucial considering the foot work as well for the mind. Go there and see what I mean:-)

Per-Erik on the 7th and last pitch of Cristo Verde

All of the anchours are in good mood but there was one that needed a bit of shaping up...
Like this one....

Time for descent and some Pizza!


Valle dell'Orco rack

a set of nuts, a set of cams, black Alien to at least no.4 Camalot (for the big ones no. 5 or 6)

2x50m ropes

Up to 10QD


There is a new well made topo made by Maurizio Oviglia and in English as well



There is a very nice camping spot below the Sergent, with a fish pond as well for fresh fish

The biggest area are Sergent, Caporal and don't miss the climbing above Lucano!

Sergent left side, no.9 is the Cristo Verde

/Climb hard, fall sometimes...