Bernese Alps. At the heart of alpine glaciers

Day 6: First attempt to climb Finsteraarhorn

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This day was the only chance to climb Finsteraarhorn according to our plan. It was stil overcast but a bit better than previous day.  In the begining we could see the peak but while progressing on the trail, the mountain started to play  hide and seek with us and in the end covered completly with  dense fog. We reached the place called Frühstücksplatz (3616 m alt.) and waited in vain there more than one hour, hoping the great mist would be gone. No way! From here onwards we had to enter glacier H. It was too dangerous to continue with zero visibility and not knowing the route. We returned to the hut in white out conditions.

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                                                                                    The big throne made of stones at Fruhstuckplatz

From the hut’s terrace we witnessed later that day an entire rescue operation performed  by Air Zermatt( they used 2 helicopters). A solitaire guy had fallen 10 to 15 m into a big crevasse in the Grunnhorn saddle area. He was discoverd by the guide of a french group of climbers while heading towards Finsteraarhorn hut. The guide tried to get him out but this guy was too injured to use the rope given to him. The only thing they could do in those conditions ( no radio signal, the depth of the crevasse, the state of the injured man among others) was to hurry up to the hut and alert the warden there. A serious thing to meditate on because the next day we’ll cross that zone towards Konkordia on Alteschglacier.

 

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                                        Fiescher glacier and Grunnhorn saddle (center) seen from Finsteraarhorn hut

Day 7: Second attempt on Finsteraarhorn

This day was the highlight of the entire journey. We woke up with the thought of continuing our tour to Aletsch glacier but when we saw the superb weather conditions, we changed our minds. Not imediately. While we were eating we kept watching somehow envy, the people seting off for the big climb. We couldn’t miss such a chance!  All the time I followed one of the oldest rules learned in the mountains – flexibility,  so today would ‘t be an exception to this rule.

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On the way up to Frühstücksplatz (3616 m). The shadows of Finsteraarhorn projected on Fiescher glacier.

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Finsteraarhorn. Frühstücksplatz (3616 m)

By 9 a.m we were already at Frühstücksplatz. The secrets were now unveiled: all the things we couldn’t see further from Frühstücksplatz.

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Contemplation

A small break for contemplation on the way up to Hugisattel (4088 m alt.). After 2 hours more we were standing at the saddle amazed by the stunning panoramas. We spent half hour here.

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Finsteraarhorn. Hugisattel

Some shots from Hugisattel:

 

           Endless. View from Hugisattel (4088 m alt.), on the way up to Finsteraarhorn. Deep down is Finsteraar glacier.

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Eiger seen from Hugisattel

                                                                          South face of Eiger seen from Hugisattel

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Aletschhorn (4193 m)

                                                                             The mighty Aletschhorn (4193 m alt.)

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                                                                           Matterhorn and Weisshorn reloaded.

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Finsteraar glacier

                                                                    Bottom of the abyss: Finsteraar glacier

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On the ridge of Finsteraarhorn

Then we continued up on the ridge of Finsteraarhorn. It was a lot of fresh snow on the steep slope that started to soften under the hot sunlight. The terrain became more and more slippery so we had to slow down the pace and take supplementary safety mesures. After riding the ridge for two hours and half we had to put an end to our climb, sooner than we wanted. Vlad started to worry about the weather in the afternoon (because of huge clouds on the horizon) and Catalin didn’t feel well (he was dizzy). Catalin suggested that Lili and me should continue to climb further. Even if I wanted realy bad to put my feet on the peak it didn’t cross my mind to split the team, we sticked together. We were 50 meters or so below the summit.

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On the ridge of Finsteraarhorn
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On the ridge of Finsteraarhorn

 

Aletschhorn at dusk

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