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2007 08 31 Climbing Pic Tyndal

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Ji ji ji, the title of this trip should have been attempt on Matterhorn, but I decided to change it to Pic Tyndal, that is a summit 200 vertical meters below the Matterhorn. Anyways, since no one reads these things, no shame (if a tree falls on someone's head in a forest... never mind) On Friday night, I took of with Seb to climb the Matterhorn from the Italian side. We decided to maximize our chances we would bring bivy gear so that we can bivy along the way. The plan sounded good at the time, although the fact that we only had really one night in the mountain and that Seb needed to be back by monday morning, made me wonder where and how we would bivy. We got to cervinia (2000m) at 11pm. We thank a nice Italian for showing us the trailhead (the trick is to take more or less the first left (right after a huge parking) as you enter the city). We hiked up the first 1000meters in the night and we bivied (3000m) somewhere before the carrel cross. I will say I was a little "fresh", a way of saying that my ultralight summer bag and bivy might have been somewhat short.

The next day, we thought we would be the bad guys (les malins) and we would climb as high as possible and bivy on the route. We still had to get up to the refuge which is at 3800m. The hike/climb to the refuge was interesting. Ah, it is important to note that it has snowed just one or two days ago, and that the previous call to the guide's office in cervinia, the woman said "no one is on the mountain, you would have to wait 2 or 3 days of hot weather for the good conditions to return"... ok back to getting to the refuge... we had some snow in the way which made the climbing delicate at times. You also get a cool 7m? vertical wall with a fixed rope to go up almost hand over hand (little work out to wake you up).

We got to the refuge at noon, where we met about 3 rope teams?. There we learned that the Polish team had taken a really long day the day before and that they only made it to Pic Tyndal, that the conditions were so so....hmm.. the idea of continuing seemed less appealing, and sure we can add that we were a little fatigué. We decided to stay in the refuge and attempt the summit on Sunday. I was not so sure how it was going to work out with Seb's work.

We got up at 4h30 and headed about the same time as the other two teams, two italians and three polish! fortunately we were able to get to the first fixed ropes first...the route is fun (especially at night :)... at some point we lost the "trail" and wondered around the wall (along with the three polish who were unroped)... we finally found the way and made it to pic Tyndal at 10:30am...the traverse to continue on seemed iffy, plus we needed to get back down, back down to the car!!! (2200m below!), plus we ended up helping someone with hurt hand. We started our descent, you can downclimb (a little sketchy with the snow), you can do rappels with a 50m rope (that is fine) or you can do longer rappels with two 50m ropes. We ended up descending with 2 italians and doing 50m rappels. This took a long time, but we had a good time. Now getting back to the refuge takes longer than climbing up!. We touched the refuge and continued down... at this time we had maybe an hour left of sunlight...ah, getting back to being used to long days, this one will go on the books. Downclimbing from the refuge at least the next 800m vertical meters is still non-hand-in-the-pockets climbing. We got back to the car at 2am after a 21h30 day!.

It is important to note, that the classic image of the Matterhorn is recognizable from the Swiss side but not really from the Italian side. I will not also tell the story how Seb got sick in the car from eating 3 month old pretzels that were in my car... but the actually tasted well...


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