I’m pleased to report that I managed to summit the Matterhorn yesterday! Unfortunately that is singular, as my dad was forced to turn back about a quarter of the way up because of his knee – definitely the right decision as he doesn’t think he’d have been physically able to get down if he went any higher. I suppose that’s what you get trying to climb so soon after such a big operation. C’est la vie. The mountain will still be here in the years to come. He’s a little flat about it, but knows that it was the right choice, and this was always on the cards, at least he managed to get in some good climbing beforehand.
As for me, well, I now hurt all over. The day really is one long scramble. Going up went pretty well, Seth and I got up in 5 hours – not breaking any speed records, but not appalling (especially with my current fitness levels…) and I managed all the rock climbing bits and pieces with no problems at all, feeling strong etc. But coming down. Oh dear. Well, that part took 7 hours. I guess it was mostly down to my lack of confidence in down climbing. I would be careful normally doing that stuff, but when it’s so absurdly steep and exposed I was actually quite nervous a lot and according to Seth ended up almost freezing up every now and then and then carrying on very slowly. Not maybe helped by the fact that these are new boots and the bond of trust is still being formed… We also got lost a couple of times on the way down. It was Seth’s first time guiding the mountain and route finding was really, really difficult.
We had beautiful weather for the day, really sunny and hot with clear blue skies. Downside being that by the end of our gruelling descent Seth and I were incredibly dehydrated and just wanted to get in out of the incessant heat. Upside, however, being that from the summit we had the most stunning views and were up there for most of the time in just a t-shirt.
Climbing Alpine style is so different from anything else we’ve ever done. The biggest difference that sticks out to me is the pace. Everyone goes so quickly, the whole climb is in such a rush. It’s kind of strange, to me anyway. But I guess it makes sense if you have to catch the last chairlift back down into the village at the end of the day.
On another note, it was Swiss national day yesterday, and we got to see a stunning fireworks display over the village last night, and the hut we were staying in had two huge bonfires going. All really nice, although I have to say that my top priorities were mostly focused on getting off my feet and getting to bed. And drinking water.
We’re now one valley over ready to move into position to try and climb the Weisshorn tomorrow. I sincerely hope my body feels less sore by then. My knees are just two big bruises and I’ve lost all sensation in one of my big toes. Hm. Oh well. I hope it all works out anyway. I’ll keep you updated.
I don’t have any photos of the actual climb with me as the camera was with my dad, but I’ll be getting some off Seth soon. So for now, this is just a photo of the Matterhorn. It is just as steep as it looks.