Favourite climbs

Hi all, following a conversation with Tomser I am sure a few members will be climbers or hill walkers. So, a chance to post about your favourite climbs and share the odd photo.

I will start the ball rolling with my beloved coming off the Barre des Ecrins in France.

Stu

Original Post

I was an avid caver when young, but we used to do a fair bit of rock climbing, mostly Wales & the odd climbing cliff like Harrison's Rocks near Tunbridge Wells. The only mountaineering we did was the Grossglockner in Austria. Here's a piccy of the boys, posing on the glacier, followed by one of myself, doing the big pose with fag (which in those days was supposed to make you look cool...) :-

 

 

Blackstone Edge, the A58 Halifax road out of Littleborough nr Rochdale. I occasionally used to cycle to the in-laws if we were visiting and finishing the ride with that final climb to the White House pub at the top was satisfying end to a 108 mile ride, as well as generating me a shedload of brownie points for making all that effort to see them when I could have had a nice easy car ride with the rest of the family. The blast back down was always a hoot too, although the prevailing wind usually made it hard to get much above 40mph on the descent, until nr the bottom.

Happy days, shame they've moved to the coast.

Super pictures Tomser. TD/ED? Looks a bit too difficult for me. I rarely did anything above AD and mostly stuck to routes of PD.

Chris, I hadn’t thought of cycling climbs, a topic worthy of its own thread. Living in Kent I have good access to the Kentish Alps!

Rodwsmith, spectacular sunrise in Africa! Because of the nature of alpine starts the sunrise high on a route is a much anticipated part of the day!

Stu

Perhaps I can pose a question here, as there are many climbers (apparently).!?!

I am really not good with heights (natural heights anyway, buildings and aeroplanes no problem). I just can’t feel comfortable with the whole ‘don’t look down’ thing. Even just looking at your photos, Tomser, gives me the habjabs. Kilimanjaro was great because it’s a hike. Quite a difficult hike, with long distances, towards near 6k metre altitude (I didn’t get altitude sickness), and a few bits less fun than others, but just a hike all the same. 

So would I be able to scale Aconcagua?

It’s definitely a bit more ‘ropey’ than Kilimanjaro, but no-one seems prepared to answer this question honestly..!

Cheers

Rod

rodwsmith posted:

Perhaps I can pose a question here, as there are many climbers (apparently).!?!

I am really not good with heights (natural heights anyway, buildings and aeroplanes no problem). I just can’t feel comfortable with the whole ‘don’t look down’ thing. Even just looking at your photos, Tomser, gives me the habjabs. Kilimanjaro was great because it’s a hike. Quite a difficult hike, with long distances, towards near 6k metre altitude (I didn’t get altitude sickness), and a few bits less fun than others, but just a hike all the same. 

So would I be able to scale Aconcagua?

It’s definitely a bit more ‘ropey’ than Kilimanjaro, but no-one seems prepared to answer this question honestly..!

 

Regarding altitude, there's a big difference between them - Aconcagua is over 1000m higher, and you will feel it! I certainly wouldn't want to try and put you off, especially if you coped OK on Kilimanjaro, just prepare for it as best you can. Training for aerobic fitness certainly helps, as your lungs will be pumping that much harder to supply the oxygen you need. Beyond that, I think the problem for many people is that they just aren't able to devote enough time to such a trip to allow thorough acclimatisation. Many of the changes to your metabolism that are a part of the acclimatisation process take several weeks, and if you can only take 2 or 3 weeks off work, it isn't really enough - but of course, people do manage it. 

rodwsmith posted:

Perhaps I can pose a question here, as there are many climbers (apparently).!?!

I am really not good with heights (natural heights anyway, buildings and aeroplanes no problem). I just can’t feel comfortable with the whole ‘don’t look down’ thing. Even just looking at your photos, Tomser, gives me the habjabs. Kilimanjaro was great because it’s a hike. Quite a difficult hike, with long distances, towards near 6k metre altitude (I didn’t get altitude sickness), and a few bits less fun than others, but just a hike all the same. 

So would I be able to scale Aconcagua?

It’s definitely a bit more ‘ropey’ than Kilimanjaro, but no-one seems prepared to answer this question honestly..!

Cheers

Rod

Aconcagua is no more difficult technically than Kilimanjaro. They are both "walks". No ropes. But the extra 1000m of altitude is not be underestimated. The final night/day on Aconcagua is significantly more physically demanding than the final climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro. The other factor is the weather, usually benign on Kilimanjaro, but often atrocious on Aconcagua. See a few pics below. Click through to Flickr for some more...

 The goal....

predawn aconcagua

The luxury accommodation at Camp III. Spent 4 nights here waiting for weather to clear.

camp 2 aconcagua

My friend Marge's fingers. She lost parts of three of them. Take good gloves..... 

marg's fingers after the descent of aconcagua

stuart.ashen posted:

Super pictures Tomser. TD/ED? Looks a bit too difficult for me. I rarely did anything above AD and mostly stuck to routes of PD.

 

Stu, hard to evaluate this route combination. The Ginat is graded TD+. This combination is kind of a "Directissime". It's a 1100 meters steep route with no rest. You spend around 10 hours on your crampon's front points. I would grade it between TD+ and ED. But more around TD+. Technically it's not extreme. Pretty easy in fact, but with really NO rests. If you add the fact we had the skies on the backpack it was quite a little adventure. Up and down it was around 20hours.

Sounds like a long tough day Tomser, but very impressive. Not sure I would like to be on that face if the weather broke! I can only marvel at those that climb at this standard.

Funnily enough most of my really hard days have been in Scotland in winter. Different to the Alps or Pyrenees but very serious in its own charming way. Worth checking out, and no need to acclimatise!

Stu

winkyincanada posted:

With all this talk of Aconcagua, I'd also say that I don't really recommend it. There are many, many great climbs in the Andes, none of them as crowded as Aconcagua. Try a lesser-known peak and you will have it to yourself.

This is always the case. You could say the same about Everest, Mont Blanc, Snowdon or the Apple store on a new iPhone launch day. 

ChrisSU posted:
winkyincanada posted:

With all this talk of Aconcagua, I'd also say that I don't really recommend it. There are many, many great climbs in the Andes, none of them as crowded as Aconcagua. Try a lesser-known peak and you will have it to yourself.

This is always the case. You could say the same about Everest, Mont Blanc, Snowdon or the Apple store on a new iPhone launch day. 

I'd avoid all those, too!

stuart.ashen posted:

Wiinky and Chris,

good points re Aconcagua. Those hand look very painful indeed! 

Stu

Strangely, not at the time (according to Marg). What was gross was when the tips of her fingers and a thumb rotted, went black and fell off. She got a ride in a helicopter, though. This the medi-vac from base camp to Mendoza.

 

chopper ride to mendoza

I think that job at the Chilean Aconcagua Tourist marketing office is slipping ever more rapidly away from your grasp Winky!

Thank you for your insights. I would be able to do it, but I shouldn't!

I will be in Argentina and Chile next week, and it is definitely not on the itinerary this trip (just some 'high altitude' vineyards), so was a plan for the more distant future anyway. Might try something Nepalese first, but hiking rather than climbing is my thing (although I do like extremes - as long as my foot doesn't fall off or anything)

Cheers

Rod

rodwsmith posted:

I think that job at the Chilean Aconcagua Tourist marketing office is slipping ever more rapidly away from your grasp Winky!

Thank you for your insights. I would be able to do it, but I shouldn't!

I will be in Argentina and Chile next week, and it is definitely not on the itinerary this trip (just some 'high altitude' vineyards), so was a plan for the more distant future anyway. Might try something Nepalese first, but hiking rather than climbing is my thing (although I do like extremes - as long as my foot doesn't fall off or anything)

Cheers

Rod

If you really want to walk up some high, remote Andean mountains, travel to Laguna Verde near the Passo San Francisco (there's a basic refugio there that can serve as a base for acclimatization and for attempting multiple peaks in a longer trip. There are a large number of great, hard-but-not-technical climbs in the area. Some are only just shy of Aconcagua in altitude, but becasue they are not "the highest" they are often nearly deserted (We had Tres Cruces completely to ourselves). Guides are easily organised, and that simplifies logistics, but it is also easy to do independently by renting a 4x4 out of Copiapo.

stuart.ashen posted:

Really nice photographs Tomser! Impressive stuff.

You mentioned earlier that you guided your wife. Are you a Guide or an enthusiastic amateur?

No I'm not a professional guide. I'm just an amateur and member of the Swiss Alpin Club (I have there some responsibilities). Mountaineering is just a hobby :-)

stuart.ashen posted:

Funnily enough most of my really hard days have been in Scotland in winter. Different to the Alps or Pyrenees but very serious in its own charming way. Worth checking out, and no need to acclimatise!

Scotland! Never climbed there but I wish I had the opportunity. There are some amazing mix routes in Ben Nevis that I would love to try. And yes, no need to spend to acclimatize. This is a real plus! Every year it's the same problem : acclimatizing during the month of March or April. Each year a bit more difficult...

Can I just say a big thank you to all of you who have posted on this thread. I haven't climbed seriously since the mid 70's apart from a solo 'walk' up Mt Blanc in the mid 90's. These post have been great fun. My climbing was done mostly in Scotland on snow and rock and on rock in the Lake District and North Wales. Then we only had S, VS and ES which then became + or -. Neither the grading or the climbing was quite so technical then. I always intended to do more climbing in the alps but work and family along with moving to London simply got in the way. These posts have brought back many happy memories.

rodwsmith posted:

Has anyone here climbed this?

You have my undying respect and admiration if so.

We just felt lucky to see it. The clouds cleared for all of twenty minutes..!

Mt Fitz Roy, El Chaltén

No, I haven't! As it happens, a friend of mine climbed it in the early 70s. I believe they were stranded by a huge storm that lasted for over 2 weeks before finishing the climb, which is not that unusual in Patagonia, so maybe you were lucky!

We were very lucky indeed. In the area for 60 hours, only one brief - 20 mins - gap in the clouds (El Chaltén means head-in-smoke, or something similar). 

I posted this picture on Facebook, and no fewer than three of my friends, who had been there, asked for a copy, because they had never seen it without cloud while there.

Climbing it - quite apart from the obviously technical nature - must rely on a massive amount of weather luck, and even then you probably wouldn’t get a view from the top.

Kudos to your friend!

ChrisSU posted:
rodwsmith posted:

Has anyone here climbed this?

You have my undying respect and admiration if so.

We just felt lucky to see it. The clouds cleared for all of twenty minutes..!

Mt Fitz Roy, El Chaltén

No, I haven't! As it happens, a friend of mine climbed it in the early 70s. I believe they were stranded by a huge storm that lasted for over 2 weeks before finishing the climb, which is not that unusual in Patagonia, so maybe you were lucky!

 

fitzroy in clearing storm 3

This is from a trekking trip many years back. Anconcagua, Torres del Paine, Los Galciares (Fitzroy, Cerro Torre etc), the Antarctica.

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