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4,000m + Monte Rosa Ski Tour - Gressony, Zermat, Cervinia, Champoluc

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just back from quite a challenging three days doing the above.

All though I'm pretty strong when it comes to being ski tour fit for sub 3,000m tours that we do around here in Serre Chevalier on a frequent basis throughout the season, going above 4,000m was indeed a challenge, and we climbed to 4,500 which is the highest I've ever been

And again the terrain was in another league as well with staggering glacial skiing and the constant danger of crevasses is very real.

My mate on a splitboard found it even more of a challenge, whilst our other mate was fine as he's a lot younger as is used to high altitude terrain and is in training for his annual assault on Mont Blanc.

Trouble is that you tired as refuges were around 3,500m and without being acclimatised sleep is really hard, so bad nights sleep combined with being exhausted is not a good mixture, but what a trip!

Have to say Zermatt is quite a location.

We were lucky with the weather and snowpack was varied, one-day superb cold snow, next day crust and spring snow and heavy cement lower down.












Our guide Andrea


And food was outsanding in one refuge


Map of our root
https://eur-share.inreach.garmin.com/gavlar

And more images and more detail of the trip

https://stylealtitude.com/monte-rosa-ski-tour.html
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Weathercam wrote:






That’s a beauty. Zermatt sure is pretty special with good weather!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks for sharing. Seeing photos of places I have toured makes me even more jealous than with places I haven’t! It makes me wish I was doing it right now.
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@BobinCH, forgot to mention, four Brit guys from Verbier were in the hut first night.

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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Small world, I was up there with two mates (& a guide) at the end of March 2019 but the wind had sandblasted everything the previous weekend. Went up Breithorn, Castor & Signalkuppe (Margherita Hütte). Did you get any drone footage?

Our plan was one night in a winter room and then two nights in the Gnifetti Hütte, so only one night without showers.
First night went to plan.
Second night we ran short of time as Castor ended up being an ice climb rather than a boot up. Ended up in another winter room where the doors and windows let in snow and cold air. My camelbak froze indoors overnight.
Third night finally reached the Gnifetti Hütte only to find out they didn't have enough water for the showers. Only one cold water tap for 30 skiers to wash & brush our teeth with.
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@DB, wow that sounds hardcore Shocked

And I did not take the drone, though do agree could get some fantastic footage!

Just as we were transitioning after the short ski down to start the long climb up to the Gnifetti Hütte as the top lift was closed, this other group appeared and I looked over and it was guide I know well having done four trips with him to Val Maira and other locations in Piedmont.

Can be a crazy small world in the Mountains.



My mate heard him telling his clients as we started on our long hike up the hut, having explained the rest of our agenda "those guys are going high" Laughing
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Weathercam,

Still waiting for pics, and go-pro / drone footage from a friend but here are a few pics …..












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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@DB, respect guys but I'm not sure picture 4 is in lexicon of skiing Madeye-Smiley
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Weathercam - love the first set of photos, the second one in particular looks like it should be in a magazine. I climbed Monterosa (Dufourspitze) last summer, really made me want to go back and do the spaghetti tour on skis and you're not helping!
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Little vid - towards the end, you can clearly see the hole on the single track and many more indentations either side, and how sweet the snow was, on that particular day at least!


http://youtube.com/v/hUJSMmbuRso
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
A tragic story from the Grenz Glacier and just goes to show....

https://www.planetski.eu/news/11722
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quote:

All though I'm pretty strong when it comes to being ski tour fit for sub 3,000m tours that we do around here in Serre Chevalier on a frequent basis throughout the season, going above 4,000m was indeed a challenge, and we climbed to 4,500 which is the highest I've ever been

And again the terrain was in another league as well with staggering glacial skiing and the constant danger of crevasses is very real.

My mate on a splitboard found it even more of a challenge, whilst our other mate was fine as he's a lot younger as is used to high altitude terrain and is in training for his annual assault on Mont Blanc.

Trouble is that you tired as refuges were around 3,500m and without being acclimatised sleep is really hard, so bad nights sleep combined with being exhausted is not a good mixture, but what a trip!



Yes that is hardcore! Looks great though.
I'd like to try to ski Mont Blanc - would probably try the "Royal Route" (Domes des Miage, Bionnassay, Gouter, Mt Blanc and down) to fit some acclimatisation nights in before the summit day but the Miages-Bionnassay traverse would be largely on foot rather than skis. I'm under no illusion that the altitude would be easy.
I'm doing a (guided) mountaineering trip in the summer - idea is 3 easy 4000m peaks around Saas Fee in a week. That will be a good test.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@jedster, a full traverse of the Mt Blanc range has been on my list for a while. Start in Trient or nearby and end in Les Contamines. Probably quite a lot of wiggling to find stuff I am capable of skiing or climbing Laughing
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Weathercam wrote:
A tragic story from the Grenz Glacier and just goes to show....

https://www.planetski.eu/news/11722


Sad

RIP
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
For the trip I was ski touring up to 2700m the weekend before and then slept two nights at ca. 3000m here https://www.diavolezza.ch/en/

Also took a mix of 11 minerals including iron & magnesium.
https://www.vitalabo.co.uk/ironmaxx/mineral-complex

Had a slight dull headache the first night at 3000m but then was good right up to 4559m. Hard to say what helped the most but the other two in the group started to feel the altitude above 4000m and were pretty spent at 4500m even though they were 13 to 15 years younger.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
DB wrote:


Had a slight dull headache the first night at 3000m but then was good right up to 4559m. Hard to say what helped the most but the other two in the group started to feel the altitude above 4000m and were pretty spent at 4500m even though they were 13 to 15 years younger.


Altitude is a real bitch! We spent (IIRC) 4 nights total sleeping at 3900m on Elbrus - one to acclimatise (then down the valley), then the 2nd 3 consecutively after a massive storm shut down our first summit attempt. Slept ok the first night (of the 3), but the 2nd and 3rd I couldn't sleep at all due to the noise of my pulse thumping into my pillow then into my ear.

I'd been to 4500m before with a heli and climbed from 4000 to 4300m, plus one tour to 4000m in the Alps, but that trip really opened my eyes - and frankly killed any future desire for high altitude (5000m+) touring.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I think it is mainly acclimatisation but people react differently and general fitness is not a good predictor. I tend to be quite strong up to 3000m but really feel it above 4000m (compared to companions).
I hiked Kilimanjaro years ago (bit under 6000m). You fly in at 1000m then we did a more gentle route of 4 days up and 1.5 days down - but that is not much acclimatisation. I think the two high nights were 3600m and 4700m and I didn't really sleep for either - kept waking up with palpitations. I got to the summit but the traverse of the rim at >5600m was grueling. I couldn't really imagine how people do 8000m without oxygen or climb hard at 6000m but I think proper acclimatisation much make a big difference.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Don't feel too bad reading some of the above.

Like I mentioned on my blog - the first day was not helped by seriously getting trashed the day before, as I was in contact with the guide and my mates, and the first day schedule was not too bad, only 2.5hrs and some 350 vertical from the top of the lift to the hut, so I didn't back off the red wine.

However on arrival in Gressony we discovered that the Punta Indren lift was closed due to perceived avalanche risk (4) so we had no option but to skin up to the hut, which was some 1,100m and nigh on five hours and I was in a very bad way by the time we reached the last Via Ferrata climb up to the refuge.

That first night my head was probably throbbing for other reasons.

Next day I was totally different; I don't usually take my bike riding gels when touring but this time I suspected that they might help, and sure enough, felt very strong at times after having taken them.

Think for a group on a weeks holiday to go straight from lowlands UK to over 3,500 sleeping and being active is a huge ask, maybe at least a couple of days semi acclimatisation.

When I'm touring and taking people out for a gentle tour, which I've been doing recently, any exertion above 2,300 is always a major effort for those not use to altitude even if they are fit, you see them slow up considerably.

And even worse on a road bike around here as we have three Cols well over 2,300m, no wonder the Columbians are so amazing!!
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