Mountaineering, near to home and away...
Below are the links to a couple of our latest videos. The first is shot in Snowdonia National Park on a glorious autumn day and features the absolutely sublime Snowdon Horseshoe which includes the magnificent Crib Goch Grade One scramble. There's even time to pause for a leisurely lunch (including Snowdon beer, what else?!!) at the award winning Hafod Eryri Summit Shelter on the roof of Cymru, before tackling the less challenging but equally pleasant Y Lliwedd ridge. This terrain was the training ground for some of Britain's most famous mountaineers and it's somewhat humbling to think that on tackling the Snowdon Horseshoe you are following in the footsteps of people that braved the first ascents of Everest. You don't have to leave the shores of Britain and Ireland to acquire the basic skills and fitness required to stand on the roof of the world...
But you do need to become accustomed to climbing at altitude which means travelling further afield. Look no further than the Monte Rosa range in the Pennine Alps. From the village of Alagna Valsesia, we took a series of cable cars up to Punta Indren at 3,200m and then ascended to the excellent Gniffetti Hut (3,647m). You don’t need to be a highly experienced mountaineer to tackle several 4,000m+ peaks here. However, a full alpine kit is necessary and basic skills such as moving roped together, knowledge of self arrest with an ice axe and crevasse rescue is essential. Most fit hill-walkers can aspire to the climb up to the Margherita Hut at the summit of Signalkuppe (4559m) on the Italian-Swiss border with some basic training. But if you do not feel confident going it alone and are prepared to flash the cash, a guide can be obtained. This isn’t a technically difficult route, fringing a mildly crevassed glacier (an early start is recommended) but it is a bit of a slog leavened by fabulous scenery.
The day after bagging Piramide Vincent (4,215m) we climbed up to the Margherita Hut. After relaxing in the warm afternoon sunshine, admiring the jaw dropping scenery and taking a well earned nap, an early and very excellent 3-course dinner was followed by a divine sunset over the Matterhorn. At dawn we began the 1,500m descent to the cable car at Punta Indren, summiting Ludwigshoehe (4,341m) and Corno Nero (4,321m), before arriving at the Gniffetti Hut and continued on to the cable car with plenty of time to spare. Our high altitude acclimatisation programme had worked perfectly and we had been blessed with fine weather. But then our luck ran out. We had been preparing for an ascent of Mont Blanc, but the weather forecast was for high winds and a low pressure front on the days we planned to climb it, so we cancelled the Goutier Hut and aborted our mission. Better to be safe than sorry, but that’s mountaineering!!
Climb to the highest hut in Europe