august 13

Mountaineering: Matterhorn, 4478m – Italian Route, Cresta del Leone

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[vc_row][vc_column][us_message color=”success”]How was it?[/us_message][vc_column_text]… FULL of life[/vc_column_text][us_message color=”success”]Was it hard?[/us_message][vc_column_text]…it was full of life. And it filled me with life, too. And it called me all the time – while I was climbing up and down, I heard my name.[/vc_column_text][us_message color=”success”]How do you feel now?[/us_message][vc_column_text]…I know that I am loved now[/vc_column_text][vc_tta_accordion][vc_tta_section i_icon_monosocial=”vc-mono vc-mono-icq” i_icon_material=”vc-material vc-material-message” icon=”mdfi_action_face” active=”1″ title=”My story”][vc_column_text]Two years ago, after I climbed Mont Blanc, I knew I wanted to climb Matterhorn. It seems that 2018 was the time for it.

My plan was to acclimatize before climbing it, so my expedition started with 3 days spent on Monte Rosa, 2 of them at over 4550 m at Margherita Hut.4

I was sick, very sick. You may find below the difference between my face @ 4500 m and my face on a casual day.[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1829″ size=”full” align=”center”][vc_column_text]We climbed Dufourspitze (4634 m – the 2nd highest peak in the Alps) . I will write the story of Dufour in another article.[/vc_column_text][us_separator][vc_column_text]Thursday[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]We camped in a van in camping Glair in Valtounenche.

Cost: 59 euro per night[/vc_column_text][us_separator][vc_column_text]Friday[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]We climbed the Italian route of Breithorn (4164 m).[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Although B. wanted to climb Matterhorn on Sundays and Monday, we decided to start out expedition on Saturday.

The weather changed for Sunday (the summit day that we chose) from bad to very good. We got lucky, but we still remained reserved.

[/vc_column_text][us_separator][vc_column_text]Saturday[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]We took the first gondola from Cervinia to Plan Maison.

Cost 12.5 euro per person (up and down)[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1801″ size=”full” align=”center”][vc_column_text]From Plan Maison we took the route 65 to ABruzzi Hut.

Approximate time: 1-1.5 hours.[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1806″ size=”full” align=”center”][vc_column_text]From Abruzzi Hut we begun hiking more and more abrupt zones. There were also parts of the route that we had to climb till we got to Colle del Leone (see picture below, at ‘Route’ section of the article).

After Colle del Leone, there’s a path until you get to some fixed ropes on a vertical section. It might seem easy, but climbing that part with a heavy backpack on your back won’t be the easiest thing.[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1772″ size=”full” align=”center”][us_single_image image=”1803″ size=”full” align=”center”][vc_column_text]And when you think it’s over, you’ll find the most vertical part of the route (until Carrel). And you stard wondering ‘What are you doing there with the 15 kg backpack dragging you down?”

[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1816″ size=”full” align=”center”][vc_column_text]At the end of this fixed rope, B. was waiting:

“If you managed to climbe this rope with your backpack on, it means that you are well acclimatized. Let’s go!”[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]We found at Carrel snow and the cooker working, so I got chill regarding the water.

I watched the mountain for a while, I saw some teams coming back from the summit. Then, I went to sleep for a few hours.[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1809″ size=”full” align=”center”][us_single_image image=”1819″ size=”full” align=”center”][us_separator][vc_column_text]Sunday[/vc_column_text][us_separator][vc_column_text]Climbing up to the summit[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]B. wanted to leave Carrel at abou 5 a.m., but I wanted to leave earlier – maybe 2-3 a.m. so that we won some time. Even though climbing an unknown route during the night wasn’t going to be easy, we would still won some time& distance.

All the teams left Carrel at 3.30 so we had to leave, too. We had to wait at the beginning of the route for four teams.

 

The route starts with a fixed rope,  a quite heavy climb. B. went after the first ones, now it was my turn. But a Spanish lady that was just in front of me started screaming:

Ramoooon, tensaaa! No puedoooo” I managed to pass her by on the hardest part section.[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1782″ size=”full” align=”center”][vc_column_text]And we continued the route doing what we learned on Dufour:

  • we kept the path where we could see it or watched for the climbing pins
    • when the path couldn”t be recognized, we looked for crampon marks on the rocks.

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Until, finally, the sun rised. It was the moment we begun climbing the vertical parts of Pic Tyndal.[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1795″ size=”full” align=”center”][us_single_image image=”1787″ size=”full” align=”center”][vc_column_text]I found Pic Tyndal the hardest part of the route, I didn’t like it at all – while climbing up or down.[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1835″ size=”full” align=”center”][vc_column_text]We could already see the summit. It seemed so close. Seemed…[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1810″ size=”full” align=”center”][us_single_image image=”1812″ size=”full” align=”center”][vc_column_text]We climbed for another 2 hours – vertical sections, some of them had fixed ropes and then we climbed Jordan Stair. And then again fixed ropes and just before the summit, a free climb zone.[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1793″ size=”full” align=”center”][us_single_image image=”1794″ size=”full” align=”center”][us_single_image image=”1786″ size=”full” align=”center”][vc_column_text]And there was it! The cross. And I started crying…[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1775″ size=”full” align=”center”][us_single_image image=”1836″ size=”full” align=”center”][us_single_image image=”1837″ size=”full” align=”center”][us_single_image image=”1821″ size=”full” align=”center”][vc_column_text]I called my mother, as I promised her.

^hours and a half of climbing. We managed to pass by all the teams – the Koreans, the Spanish teams quit and other 3 teams that left Carrel earlier than we did were already climbing down. And we found out later that we also had a team of Russians behind us.

[/vc_column_text][us_separator][vc_column_text]Climbing down[/vc_column_text][us_message color=”error”]We didn’t know what was going to happen…[/us_message][vc_column_text]The Korean teams reached the summit just the moment we started descending. Kim asked what my name was, using signs as they did not know English at all. I Told him my name, I shake his hand, smiled and continued the descending.

Easy, very careful, at the edge of safety. B. is better than I am at rappelling, so I looked for the pins and he descended first.[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1784″ size=”full” align=”center”][us_single_image image=”1785″ size=”full” align=”center”][vc_column_text]On Pic Tyndal, all of the teams that were behind us got caught us up. But none of them wanted to go first. Until we got to Carrel they all waited for us to male each rappel and they followed us. They were afraid that they would miss the route.

[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1771″ size=”full” align=”center”][vc_column_text]At the end of Pic Tydal, we were preparing to cross a traverse and B. begun screaming. I turned and a saw a backpack crolling in the valley. We were expecting to see a human following it, but it didn’t. We continued handling the rope in silence.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]B. passed the traverse and told me to come, too.

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]I stopped suddenly. A rock hit me, luckily on my left foot. I can’t realize how bad it is.

B. is telling me to move. After 10 seconds I realize that I can continue. It felt like the mountain told me to hurry up.

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]All the time I felt like someone was calling my name…

…in korean, at every rappel

…in russian, every time Vladimir and Serghei got next to me, waiting for B. to confirm that he found the next piton for the rappel.

…B. was calling my name all the time, in each sentence (he usually doesn’t)

[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1818″ size=”full” align=”center”][us_single_image image=”1814″ size=”full” align=”center”][vc_column_text]There was an absurd silence, I could only hear the glacier braking, the rock avalanches and my name. The mountain knew I was there.

We didn’t make any major mistake, we didn’t lost the route, so we managed to get back to Carrel at sunset. Almost crying, I called my mother: “I’m good, we got back to the hut”

Each mountain teaches me a lesson that I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life.

Last year, on Monch, the Swiss guide told me “It’s easy to become a good mountaineer, but it’s hard to become an old one.”

This year…during the whole expedition, B. told me that he wanted to climb the Matterhorn with a more experienced person. He tried to climb it last year, but couldn’t make it. At the end, when we got home, while we were splitting the equipment, B. smiled at me, he thanked me (the most sincere ”Thank you” that I’ve ever heard) and then he kissed my hand.

I understood that I was the mate for this dream of his (climbing Matterhorn) – maybe not the most experienced, but I was his mate in this expedition and we got back safe.[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1817″ size=”full” align=”center”][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section icon=”mdfi_action_done” active=”1″ title=”The Route”][us_single_image image=”1800″][vc_column_text]Day 1[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

  1. Cervinia –  Abruzzi Hut – we went with the first chairlift to Plan Maison, then we followed the 65 route.
  • The chailift cost: 12.5 euro (up&down)
  • Timing: 1-1.5 h

[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1834″][vc_column_text]2.  Abruzzi Hut– Carrel Hut

  • We were told that Carrel is very crowded. You can book your place at Carrel at the Information Center in Cervinia.
  • The cost for one night at Carrel is 20 euros.
    • Timing: 4.5-6 h

[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1815″][us_single_image image=”1838″][us_separator][vc_column_text]Day 2[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The route from Carrel to the summit

  • the route doesn’t follow the ridge all it’s way tot the top. The beginning take the right side of the ridge (as you look at the mountain). The image bellow helped us to follow the correct route
  • when you gert to Pic Tyndal, the route follows the ridge
  • After Pic Tyndal you’ll find a climbing zone, the fixed ropes, then the Jordan Stair and again fixed ropes to the top
  • We used friends whenever we couldn’t find pinsor fixedropes.
  • We used the crampons quite early (at the beginning of Pic Tyndal), but this depends on the conditions that you may find on the mountain.
  • The descent is quite long if you don’t know the route. You may rappel almost all the way down to Carrel.
  • We used a 50m rope. We did not find any rappel longer than 25 m. This aspect is relative and it depends on how you manage to find you route down.

[/vc_column_text][us_separator][vc_column_text]NOTE[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]We got some information from people that climbed Matterhorn in 2016 and realized some things:

 

  1. This mountain may be different from one day to another, from one month to another, from one year to another depending on the weather.
  2. 2 years ago was very dry, people climbed it withou crampons or ice axe. We climbed 2/3 of the mountain using crampons and found many zones with snow.
  3. Timingul can be influenced by :
    1. Your experience in climbing & mountaineering, of course
    2. If you have other climbers ahead so that you can follow them or not. We didn’t have any teams ahead, but we had 3 teams behind us – they were always waiting to see if we got the right route and then followed us.
    3. If you’re climbing this mountain with a guide or a person who has been here before.
    4. if the route is crowded or not.
  4. Carrel Hut is booked depending on the weather – because this season wasn’t too friendly from the weather point of view, we found the hut half empty.

[/vc_column_text][us_separator][vc_column_text]Surse externe pentru informare (de aici).[/vc_column_text][us_single_image image=”1798″][us_single_image image=”1797″][us_single_image image=”1796″][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section icon=”mdfi_action_thumb_up” active=”1″ title=”The Gear”][us_single_image image=”1802″][vc_column_text]

  • 3 seasons boots, La Sportiva Trango
  • Compression socks – very helpful!
  • 30 liters backpack ( Ferrino Lynx – a very easy one and with many pockets)
  • softshell pants and wool pants (base layer)
  • Gloves – that I didn’t used
  • First layer blouse, windstopper, down jacket and goretex jacket
  • Crampons & Ice axe
  • CLimbing equipment:
    • harness
    • helmet
    • 50m rope
    • Sling for personal assurance
    • Prusik
    • 6 friends
    • 6 long sling with one carabiner
    • 3 HMS carabiners
    • Rappel device with carabiner on it
  • Water – 3.5 l. You may find at Carrel a gas cooker for melting snow – but you need to check if there is snow at the refuge.
  • Food(minimalist 🙂 )
  • My Suunto 9 🙂
  • GoPro Hero 

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section icon=”mdfi_action_account_child” active=”1″ title=”Thank you…”][vc_column_text]…Matterhorn – for letting me climb you

… to B.

…to my mother

…to God[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_accordion][/vc_column][/vc_row]


Tags

abruzzi, carrel, cervino, cresta del leone, italian route, matterhorn


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