Too Much Snow

We spent the weekend here in Chamonix enjoying two days off from climbing.  We found a micro brewery and celebrated our Mont Blanc summit with our traditional hamburger, fries and beer dinner.


beer and burger

We visited the Alpine museum here in Chamonix.  We bought some chocolate to bring home and shopped in some tourist traps.

shelley chocolate

And spent more than a few hours sitting in cafes drinking tea and coffee and eating pastries.

rich having coffee

There was a big thunderstorm that moved in on Saturday as well.  This isn’t the type of picture the Chamonix tourism people usually promote, but it does actually happen.

rain in chamonix

Tonight, after another great dinner at Maison Moustache et Filles, we met with Jon here at the hotel to discuss the plan for next week.  You see, the weather in the Bernese Oberland area is not good.  The Eiger looks to be getting dumped on with snow.  13 1/2″ of snow over Monday and Tuesday.  Our summit day would have been Thursday.  If we climbed up to the Monchsjoch Hut, which sits at 11,975 feet, from where we would stage out of for the Eiger, we would just be stuck there.  The freezing level is currently around 9,800 feet.  There would just be too much snow on the ridges for climbing to be safe.  Also, there would be so much snow around the hut and on the surrounding glaciers, we may need to have snow shoes just to move around to work on our skills.

So, we have lost the Eiger for this trip.

We talked about what we could do instead.  It seems that most of this bad weather is focused on the Oberland area of Switzerland.  What we are looking at doing is working on those skills we need to improve ourselves.  Route finding, rock climbing and rope work to name a few.  So tomorrow, we are going to climb a ridge over near Zermatt that will give us some time working on these skills.  We’ll come back to Chamonix afterwards and spend the night.

Tuesday, we’ll go up into the Alps, once again, and stay in a hut (not sure of the name) and try to climb a couple 4,000 meter peaks around this same Zermatt area.  We’ll come back to Chamonix on Wednesday evening.  We’ll say goodbye to Jon on Wednesday and then on Thursday we’ll be back on our regular vacation schedule and head to Annecy as planned.

We are a bit bummed at losing the Eiger, but we also knew this trip was a long shot to make all five mountains.  We have been very fortunate to have had such great weather up to this point and feel very lucky to have been able to make Mont Blanc.  We have both been doing this mountaineering thing long enough now that we know climbing isn’t up to us.  It’s up to the mountains.  They have to let you on top.  Sometimes they don’t.  The Eiger will be there for another time.


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