Michel is one of the 1st client I had when I started guiding some 13 years ago… And it is always a pleasure to climb with him. I have to say they we already shared quite a lot of experiences: Cho Oyu with no sherpas & no oxygen, Denali, lots of fantastic climbs in the Alps… This WE is his last trip to the mountains before the winter and we talked about something I already tried once: the traverse between Taschhorn and Dom de Mischabel in Switherland. This route is long, very long and conditions seems to be ok after almost a week of perfect good weather in the alps. But todays’ weather is completely different as the forecast said and I’m quite worried about it because our goal is a long traverse with no possibility of going down before this end. The all thing is above 4000m so in case of bad weather, condition late Sept can quickly become as a winter storm.
This morning (Friday 27th) I also spoke to a friend who was supposed to climb above Chamonix. But he confirmed me what I feared: he couldn’t go because of the wind and the clouds…. What to do? Weather forecast was not that bad but it seemed they were wrong. So what if they are wrong tomorrow? … This part of guiding is very very difficult because I believe that most accident happens because at one point you don’t take the right decision, and I know that if we go and the weather is bad then it will be very very hard to turn around. Plus I’ve been there already once and couldn’t do it… Michel, with his long experience knows well the situation and it is a relief to be able to talk frankly about my doubts. We decided to drive to Zermatt anyway (because I really think the weather will be better over there) and we’ll see when we’ll get there. In Tasch, just before Zermatt, it was raining….
Some drink and a sandwich will help us to decide. Michel came from Paris, the weather was not super good, weather forecast is ok until tomorrow (Saturday) mid day and then it is a big storm. We need to find a better option, something easier not as exciting but at least a summit we can reach safely before the bad weather come tomorrow. Above Zermatt, you have a lot of 4000m peaks and I realized some years ago that I was close to have climbed all of the 82 4000m peaks in the Alps. I don’t like this kind of challenge I don’t climb mountains to collect anything but in the same time I think it is fun if I can do it. And there is one Michel did not climb and me neither! The Rimpfischorn! I did not even remember the name of this peak before Michel said it! In less than 15 min we decided to go for this one. Not technical, not super exciting but it is a new area, and it is our safest option.
The Rimpfischorn is situated between Saas fee and Zermatt, 2 famous ski resort in Switherland. We will sleep in the Fluealp hut which is still open tonight (actually it is the last night it is open, lucky us!!!). The hut is not in a very beautiful place, but the view is just astonishing. Right in front of us the Matterhorn, like a giant pyramid! Well for now, I can just imagine because clouds are everywhere but the next morning will confirm my feelings. The hut is an incredible little nest with perfect food (we had fresh fish for diner!!!) and super good wine. We figured out that this place is well known for its wine cart! And we are only 6 guess tonight.
Rimpfiscorn is a long walk on a trail, then on a moraine, on a glacier with 200m of climbing at the end. Breakfast at 3.15 to be able to reach the summit before the bad weather arrives. With Michel, Im confident, we’ll make it faster than the usual 7h even if I have to break the trail in the snow (= make the track in the fresh powder snow). When the day light starts to appear, the view is absolutely fantastic. Impressive. Plus with the clouds, the lights are very very beautiful. I like this kind of morning, you can only experience this in the mountains. Pictures speak by themselves and it is a pleasure to reach the top of the nice 4000m peak. One more in the pocket!!! Looking at all the big mountains surrounding us make me build other project, other thing I would like to do: it seems it is like circle of 4000m peaks above Zermatt that we could all climb following a ridge. There is a hut there, a bivy other there… it seems possible. 10? 15 days? Maybe ….
The sun is already gone at 9.30am and the wind starts blowing when we start our descent. A long descent…
Back in Chamonix, we are both happy. It is raining so no regret about our 1sr project and the Rimpfischorn without being the best of our experience was nice! But don’t worry, I – we – did not give up with the traverse from Taschhorn to Dom. We’ll be back, that’s for sure!