Being in the mountains, you always have to relinquish some control. All over world, whichever mountains you’re in, you have to realise that you’re not the boss; the mountain and the weather take those positions. The Matterhorn and the Eiger are notorious for their non-complient-with-carefully-made-plans weather patterns, and so just one day into our trip and plans have already changed.
We were hoping to get some ridge work at altitude done today, but the whole upper sections of the mountains were closed due to high winds, and so instead we went on a really exciting gully climb for the late morning/early afternoon. Down here in the valley it was still nice and warm, and we were climbing (using the term very loosely) in a really beautiful gully with the glacier water from the Matterhorn rushing down the middle of it. It was one of those climbs where there were sections where you were constantly repeating “Oh my God, oh my God” to yourself because you couldn’t quite believe what you were doing. For example, climbing along the side of the sheer walls of the gully, quite high up, with a fast river below you, standing on single metal nails drilled into the rock face and with nothing else beneath your feet. It was exhilarating and wonderful fun. It also included rope swings over the river, and some abseiling and such like. Basically, just a fun day. Nothing particularly challenging or hard work, just fun.
Because of the change in plans and the weather predictions, we’ve pushed our Matterhorn attempt back by one day, and are going to try and get up to the ridge that was meant to be today, tomorrow. Although that could be unlikely looking at the weather forecast for the morning… Hopefully all will work out, and we do have a weather day built into the holiday for exactly this reason.
I’m really enjoying climbing in the Alps in general – it makes a huge difference coming back at the end of the day to a nice village, a hotel room, hot shower and internet access! Could definitely get used to this.