Thursday, 31 August 2017


The Theodulgletcher

Best view of the Breithorn

Coffee before the ice
For weeks I have been wandering (guiding) around the Alps with just shorts and T-shirt in hot sun and blue skies. Today that attire came to a sudden halt.  It was wet, it was cold and it was very low cloud. Not a good day to be walking  at over 3400m on an icy glacier between Cervinia and Zermatt.  But hey ho that's what we got and there's no low level alternative! On the plus side there were cosy huts on either side of our crossing. The Rosti at the Gandegg Refuge was excellent after our soaking, skidding and watery experience over the ice. No Matterhorn views again today, Hopefully tomorrow.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017


Fab inversions 

Ibex country 

Sue & Bridget nearing the Col de Valcorniere (3072m)

Hard work over

Loving it!
If yesterday was the toughest day of the Tour of the Matterhorn, then think again! Another long, 10 hour day with amazing scenery.  Day 5 goes from Praraya to Cervinia via a 3072 metre high col.  A great mix of conditions today. Steep ground,  long traverse paths, boulders and some exposed sections with fixed protection We had a glorious temperature inversion this morning.  Setting off at 7am we got to see plenty of wild life including an female ibex with her young  just a few metres from us. We had lovely sunshine above the Inversion. By the afternoon the cloud filled the skies. There's a great view of the Italian side of the Matterhorn above Valtourenche, but not this time. A magic day and two of the finest, hardest, remotest sections of the trek are now behind us, Sadly.
Some exposed sections

Lots of photos like this today

The descent from Col Valcorniere 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017


Sue on her first glacier crossing
Yanik,  Sue & Bridget heading up the Arolla Glacier 
The lower reaches
The beautiful Comba d'Oren Valley leading to Praraya 
The odd crevasse to negotiate 
The fourth day of the Tour of the Matterhorn and it gets even more exciting.  From Arolla we headed over the Swiss border into Italy.  The Col Collon lies below the impressive Mont Collon which is so prominent in the views from Arolla. To get to the col requires walking on the Arolla Glacier.  This Glacier retreats at an alarming 20 metres per year! Since I was last on this sheet of ice it has changed a great deal. As an IML I would be out of remit to guide clients on any Glacier.  Therefore I have to hire an IFMGA guide for half a day to guide us up it. I have worked with Yanik many times and he's a super nice guy and great guide. For Bridget & Sue this was their very first experience of walking on a glacier,  they loved every minute. It was a beautiful hot and clear skies day. Great views. The Italian side of the hill is wild and has a raw beauty,
a world of rock and waterfalls. We saw ibex roaming about in the Upper reaches. Once in the meadows there is a beautiful walk down the valley to our remote accommodation for the night. The charming and friendly Refuge Praraya at 2010m. Ace day.
Arolla Glacier & Bouquetins ridge
Morning light 
Heading up to the Col Collon 
The beautiful Lacs de Moulin
The South, Italian side of Col Collon

Monday, 28 August 2017


Sue on the col
Col de Torrent (2919)
Mont Collon in evening sun
Weisshorn from The col
Last of the summer necter
The last of the 'easier' days today on the Tour of the Matterhorn. From Zinal to Arolla is a long distance but easy trails. It was another day of grey,  light cloud cover so rubbish dorms photography until early evening when it cleared. Start of the big days tomorrow.  Glacier crossings, wild, high, remote.

Sunday, 27 August 2017


Bridget & Sue above Zinal

The Meid Pass (2790m)

Meadows below Meidhorn
Weisshorn & Meidhorn 

Le Touno

Weisshorn,  Matterhorn,  Dent Blanche 
Today's Route on this section of the Tour of the Matterhorn heads our of the Turtmantal and over the Meid Pass.  Some spectacular high Alpine mountains are seen on the walk. The North Ridge of the Weisshorn dominates the morning walk over lovely meadows up to the Meid Pass.  It was quite hazey for most of the day so no great photos today. It was very warm once again with plenty of sunshine.  Shortly after passing by the Weisshorn Hotel the trail to Zinal stretches across high Alpine meadows with constant views of big 4000m peaks. The Weisshorn,  Bishorn,  Zinal Rothorn,  Matterhorn and the Dent Blanche are all in view above Zinal.

Saturday, 26 August 2017


Fine views down the Mattertal 
High above the Mattertal

Augstboard Pass 
Back to meadows 
View from Augstboard Pass 
Near the top. Mishabel summits in the distance 
First day on a Tour of the Matterhorn trek today.  It's been a few years since guiding on this superb trek around one of the most iconic mountains in the world.  Bridget and Sue have already trekking the TMB and on the Haute Route.  This is their next step up. High, 3000m+ cols , two glacier crossings, fabulous remote scenery are just some of the ingrediants on this 8 day trek. Today is the easiest of the days, the Augstboard Pass from St. Nicklaus to Gruben.  The sun shone all day and the trail was much quieter than of late.
Nearing the Augstboard Pass

Friday, 25 August 2017


Morning light on the Matterhorn 


What Zermatt used to be like 

The North Face 
A day off work so went for a leg stretch. Zermatt is always busy with tourists but within minutes you can escape and be on a quiet trail with wonderful views. It's onmly 1 hour to the delightful hamlet of Zmutt. From here you get stunning views of the Northern side of the Matterhorn.  Across the valley the Brighthorn look fabulous.
Weather to stay hot again.

Thursday, 24 August 2017


The new bridge on the Europaweg 

The Weisshorn 

Ober Gabellhorn & Weisshorn 

The Europaweg 

The Europaweg 


Fabulous views from the trail
The team on the bridge 

Tunnel entrance
The fun bridge 
I've seen the light

Final day of this Haute Route and the sun shone once again. The final leg of our journey sees us walking into Zermatt. The Europaweg is a twisting, exposed and fun trail that hugs the side of the Mattertal above the treeline. The last few years the trail has been closed in several sections because of dangerous rockfall. There have been many bridges crossing the Dorfbach river,all of which have been knicked out. The last year a major construction of a swing bridge spanning almost 500m has been in progress. It eventually opened about 3 weeks ago. The team we're quite eager to walk this and the continuing Europaweg into Zermatt. A new trail starts from.the village of Randa. This new bridge is some sight. It takes 10 minutes to walk it. Soon we left the 'bridge tourists' behind and continued our journey to Zermatt. The bridge was fun but it's the narrow ledges along the traverse that are the real attraction.  Stunning views of the Weisshorn and Ober Gabellhorn and of course the star of the show, the Matterhorn. Unfortunately the cloud filled the skies and this iconic mountain looked a bit grey this afternoon.  When we reached Tufteren it started to rain and thunderstorm. So I wore my waterproofs for the first time on the Tour! 1 hour out of 10 big days. Good going!  A top trek. This last 10 days I have been guiding for Mont Blanc Treks.