Yesterday ended up being completely rained off – the whole upper mountains were closed and we spent the day in the village, visiting the Matterhorn museum, drinking coffee and walking on some pretty paths up the sides of the valley. Consequence being that the Eiger is now officially off.
With the weather being what it was, the Matterhorn was covered in snow and made impossible to climb for a couple of days, so we’ve pushed our attempt on it back to tomorrow and the day after. Tomorrow we’re heading up to the Hornli Hut, and the following day, starting at 4am, we’ll be off on our summit bid.
With not moving up to the hut today, we spent the day on the ridge that was meant to be the climb on the second day of this trip. It was amazing. The route is called the Brighthorn traverse, and took us up a beautiful snowy plain up to a knife edge ridge with three rocky steps in it. It was probably the most technical mixed climbing we’ve ever done, and was incredibly exposed. Again, this had many elements of very real rock climbing, but in boots and crampons, and with the sides of the mountain absolutely falling away on each side of you. Such, such fun.
The scenery was stunning and for the most part the weather was perfect. Blue skies and very little wind along the ridge (thankfully), although at the beginning of the day we were buffeted quite a lot with hail stones and snow picked up by the wind.
With the change of plans, after the Matterhorn we’re planning on trying to climb another classic peak around here called the Weisshorn. So we’ll see what happens with that in due course. Today was tiring, with going up to over 4,000m, catching the sun a little, and the physical challenges of the climb. I didn’t get rid of the slight altitude headache I got until dinner this evening, but hopefully the acclimatization process will pay off for tomorrow and the day after.