Monte Rosa ( Castor & Pollux )

Day 3: Guide de Val d’Ayas – Pollux – Guide de Val d’Ayas

We set off at 5 a.m in the morning, heading towards Pollux (4092 m alt.). The whole route to the summit consists of glacier walking mixed with rock climbing ( near the peak ).

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Not far from the hut, we put our feet on Verra glacier, finding our way through  crevasses, very visible and relatively easy to pass them. We walk parallel with other lines of climbers.

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Verra glacier

While walking on the glacier we look to the south, admiring the highest peak of Italy – Gran Paradiso, the only 4000 er that is entirely within italian territory.

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Monte Rosa. Gran Paradiso (4061 m alt.) seen from Verra glacier
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Pollux seen from Verra glacier

Soon we change the direction on the left and approach the rocky slopes of Pollux.

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Rossi e Volante refuge seen from the slopes of Pollux

The refuge Rossi e Volante nestled on a rocky spur at an altitude of 3700 m, on the south face of Roccia Nera peak.

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On the slopes of Pollux

On the slopes of Pollux, high above the Verra glacier. As we ascend, the climb gets steeper. Soon we are at the crux of the entire south-west ridge of Pollux: three steep sections of rock climbing equiped with fixed ropes. I insist here a bit because when we prepared the tour, we couldn’t find relevant pictures of this sections and I understand why. Still I managed to take some shots that might be usefull for other climbers. So,the first section consists of a traverse of a slab.

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Pollux: the first section equiped with fixed ropes after traversing it

Then comes the second section equiped with fixed ropes. This is the longest one. It is a couloir, very steep and narrow, where traffic jam is frequent.

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Pollux: moving upward the second section equiped with fixed ropes.

 

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Pollux: looking down from the upper part of the second section equiped with fixed ropes.

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Lyskamm West (left) and Lyskamm East (right) seen from the upper end of the second section. From this very narrow place starts the third and the last section, a vertical wall.

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After passing the third section, we reach a shoulder, a small plateau where we can see a statue of Virgin Mary.

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From here a snow arete leads to the summit. A short brake, then we put the crampons on and up we go!

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Pollux

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Having a nice gentle walk on the snowy ridge

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Lyskamm

We just can’t get enough of crystal clear panorama! Simply amazed by the majestic peaks of Lyskamm – (4479 m alt.  Lyskamm West and 5427 m alt. Lyskamm East) – in the center of the picture. On the left is Dufourspitze, the highest mountain in Switzerland – 4634 m alt.

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Gorner Glacier

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Weisshorn (4506 m alt.) seen from Pollux.
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South face of Matterhorn
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Monte Rosa. Sky of Italy seen from Pollux. Gran Paradiso above the clouds.
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The south-west face of Castor

Looking to the south-west face of Castor while descending on the same track.

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