Switzerland Climbing- Zermatt and Saas Fee Valleys

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending a week climbing with Jane and Dan in Switzerland along with John Race from the Northwest Mountain School as another guide. After a great year of climbing and preparing, we were ready to go experience some of the classic climbing that Europe has to offer. We did the trip as a 1:1 climber to guide ratio to give us great flexibility in some of the climbs that we choose. I think we all agreed it was a great way to go.

The first day in Zermatt, we awoke to clear skies and stellar views. We settled on an ascent of the Rifflehorn for our warm up day. This climb would provide a bit of acclimatization and some great rock climbing in an amazing setting. Below Jane, Dan, and John are hiking out with the Breithorn in the background. The approach included a train ride up to a short hike. Now that is mountaineering.

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Mount Shuksan- Mountain Profile – Jewell of the North Cascades National Park

At 9131ft, Mount Shuksan is the fifth highest non-volcanic peak in the state of Washington. It is one my favorite climbs in the North Cascades National Park because it possesses great qualities like commanding position, as well as combining all the essential elements of classic alpine climbing: glacier travel and rock climbing. Even though you might not recognize the peak at first, chances are, you’ve seen on a bank calendar at some point or another. It is one of the most photographed peaks in the US.

After about a 5 mile trail approach one arrives at a small saddle above Lake Ann. Here is the first really spectacular view of the mountain. The Curtis Glacier spills off the cliffs and the upper mountain is guarded by rock walls. Below Stephen Perry from Minnesota takes a break while soaking in the view.

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News From the Hood!

We’ve been having a great season here up on Mount Hood.  Despite some days with an ominous forecast we’ve still had tons of successful climbs with sweeping views from Mount Rainier to the North and the Three Sisters to the South.  We’re still enjoying the record snowfall year we had in the Oregon Cascades with tremendous summer ski mountaineering. For some reason it’s really hard to get tired of skiing when the snow is this good!  Right now we’re seeing great conditions with cold weather and firm snow. All the main variations on the southside are in great shape, although somewhat steeper.

Climbing the Wy’East with some great alpineglow.
Johnnymtguide.com and his crew on the summit.
Enjoying great snow high above the clouds.