Europe 2017

Tuesday August 1, 2017
Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, France to Martigny, Switzerland

Wednesday August 2, 2017

Thursday August 3, 2017
Zermatt to Saas Fee

We woke up in Martigny, elevation 470m / 1545' , after drinking way too much last night and falling asleep way too early, I slept great!
Somehow I got the best sleep I'd had in weeks.

Kent and I both wanted to climb Allalinhorn 4027m / 13,212', which is probably the second easiest 4000m peak in the Alps.
However after a failed attempt in a near whiteout and 40kph winds I still hadn't summitted the Breithorn 4164m / 13,661, which is by far the easiest 4000m peak in the Alps.
I needed to summit the Breithorn a) to prove to myself that I could do it, and b) to prove to myself that I was ready to attempt the Allalinhorn.

Problem is Kent had already climbed Breithorn.
I knew he'd go up with me to do it again, but I didn't really want to spend the day in Zermatt, then to Breithorn tomorrow, then need another recovery day before attempting Allalinhorn.
Shortly before 6am I figured it out - the weather was great, I felt great, we'll just head straight up and do the Breithorn today!
Not recommended to get such a late start on a summit day, but this is 'only' the Breithorn.

Around 6am I woke up Kent with the announcement that we're going to head up the Breithorn today!
He thought I was crazy but he didn't argue...

I figured very best case we'd start climbing around 11:30am...

2017-08-02 07:04

The morning after the amazing fireworks show in Martigny Switzerland

The glacier below the Weisshorn from the train up to Zermatt
Kent solod the Weisshorn last year.

Kent pointing out his climb up the Weisshorn
Breithorn is in the background, the smaller peak on the left is Klein Matterhorn.

2017-08-02 10:17

Back in Zermatt!

We re-packed in the locker room under the train station and left our big bags behind

2017-08-02 12:38
Kent's pic

Getting my gaitors on just outside Klein Matterhorn.
This the fourth time I've been up there.
The first time was the day after Kent summited the Matterhorn, Kent and Micheal were with me.
The second time with in 2014 when I failed to summit and Kent succeeded (of course)
The third time was in 2015 when I started the Tour de Monte Rosa with Paul, Jed, and Kent

2017-08-02 12:41
Kent's pic

And we're off!
Just like my last attempt at the Breithorn in 2014, it is very very windy, a good 30-40+mph
Fortunately this time it is clear and not a near whiteout...
I wanted to make good time cause we were starting quite late.
I did not want to spend the night up here!

from zermatt.ch

Kent's video

2017-08-02 13:04
Kent's pic

I'm the closest person you can see, the little dot on the right.
The Breithorn is nearly 2km long.
The highest summit 4164m is the 'easy' summit on the left.
Other summits on the Breithorn include Breithornzwillinge 4138m, Gendarm 4106m, and Roccia Nera 4073m

2017-08-02 13:29
Kent's pic

I'm at the righthand bend in the switchback, now the trail goes up toward the left.
This is about as far as I got last time, I never made the switchback

2017-08-02 13:33
Kent's pic

Me again

Somewhere around here I met a party of 3 coming down.

There was one small crevasse, the crossing looking as safe as any crevasse crossing is likely to be.
The crack was narrow but you never know what you can't see.

I kept heading up and didn't see another soul.
I made the corner where you follow the ridge up to the summit.
The wind really picked up there.
The ridgeline is fairly broad and feels fairly safe, which is good cause it felt like a 40kph+ wind could blow my butt off the mountain if I wasn't careful.
As I was getting closer to the summit I realized that I'd really screwed up -
There was no way I could get my iPhone out, my phone and my gloves would all get blown off the mountain into the abyss.
I could have taken a picture with my real camera, except I didn't have it out, and there was no way I was going to try to get it out in that wind - same problem, I'd lose my gloves and who knows what else..

I got to the summit, it was unreal.
The view reminded me so much of Kent's videos, but I was here and I'd solod the Breithorn!
This climb is normally so crowded I knew it was pretty rare to solo this climb.
I was on top for maybe two minutes at most.
I didn't know how long Kent was going to be, and I was not going to wait too long in this windstorm.
It was so windy I don't know how we'd communicate anyway.
After a far too short 90 seconds or so I turned around and went back down.
I was a long way from my lift at Klein Matterhorn, my ride back to civilization!

2017-08-02 14:03
Kent's pic of me coming off the summit of Breithorn after soloing it

Kent's video

2017-08-02 14:03
Kent's pic

I met Kent coming down, it was fantastic, I'd summitted and he was right behind me.
I didn't get any pictures for quite a while, I'm so glad Kent did!
I'm not used to wearing sunglasses but eye protection is mandatory on the snow.

2017-08-02 14:05
Kent's pic

Looking west or northwest
Me near the bottom of the Breithorn ridgeline with the Matterhorn (Matterhorn is in the clouds)

Kent says "It's windy! Dusty just summitted the Breithorn ... solo... solo!"
Kent's video

2017-08-02 14:11
Kent's pic

Looking north
Obelgaberhorn & Wellenkuppe 2013
Zinalrothron 2015
Weisshorn 2016

2017-08-02 14:11

Looking east
Kent's pic of the Breithorn summit and ridgeline looking southeast at Pollux, Castor, and Lyskamm
This the view that stayed with me, this was unreal...
I was really on a Swiss 4000m peak!

Kent's video

2017-08-02 14:12
Kent's pic

Kent's video

2017-08-02 14:19
Kent's pic of me

Kent caught up to me quickly on the way down

my pic

PANO - scroll right
my pic
the plateau below was perhaps 1 mile x 2 miles, it seems quite large when you're hiking across it, but it really looks small in this picture.
You can barely see the ski lift towers between Klien Matterhorn and the Italian border to the south
Klein Matterhorn is a long ways away!

The summit of the Breithorn from the trail below near the crevasse

Dusty's video

Kent's video

2017-08-02 14:22

my pic of Kent catching up to me

2017-08-02 14:27
Kent's pic of me at the crevasse - it is the small hole just to my left

Kent's pic

It's a long hike back!

PANO - scroll right

PANO - scroll right

Kent and I got separated on the way back
I changed inside where we'd changed before.
Kent got on the lift and was halfway to Trockener Steg 2939m / 9,642', the stop at the bottom of the Klein Matterhorn lift, before we texted each other.
He waited for me there...

Breithorn from the lift

Kent's pic

He's climbed:
Obergabelhorn and Wellenkuppe in 2013
ZinalRothorn in 2015
Weisshorn in 2016

Kent's pic

from the lower lift
Breithorn is in the center, we were on the snowy cap in the center that is the closest, Breithorn has center tio
Klein Matterhorn is on the right

Back in Zermatt!
We get the walk of fame!
We summitted!
We earned a beer!
We need a room!

2017-08-02 17:06
Kent's pic

2017-08-02 17:08
Kent's pic

We walked along the river.
Kent found us a room at the Hotel Beau Rivage, right next to the river.
First room literally smelled like crap, shower drain was a very big problem.
We went back down to the front desk and told the owner that the room smelled badly.
He apologized and gave us another room that was just as good or better, and certainly smelled better

At the crowded Co-op!

Our room in Hotel Beau Rivage

2017-08-02 19:23

View from our balcony

Kent's video

The bridge just in front of our hotel has a great view of the Matterhorn, it is one of the few places in town with a good view of the Matterhorn so it is often crowded

Matterhorn, Kent, and the Hotel Beau-Rivage

We hit the Brown Cow....

By the time we were ready to eat the wiener guy next to the Coop had closed, leaving only one relatively affordable dining option - McDonalds!
Still not cheap, nearly 14 CHF for my big burger meal deal, I was famished.

Then we hit the Brown Cow again....

Kent's pic

Kent's pic


Ray and Paul flew into Rome into record heat throughout Italy.

Ray used cash exchange at the airport in Rome, apparently forgetting that he'd be returning the the US in 8 days - he 'had some bills to change.  they woun't take my sacajewea coins though'
I asked him if he has any teletypes to send into work...

Ray's pic of the Pantheon from their room in Rome

Paul and Ray had a 76 euro lunch, which I found comical considering how much crap Paul gives me over going to McDonalds, which I only do in Zermatt while in Europe
Paul took nap mid afternoon
Ray left his room key and wallet in the room, so he was stuck outside and couldn't do anything and didn't want to wake Paul up.
Later that night Paul and Ray went to Trastavere and drank beer on the steps of a fountain

Tuesday August 1, 2017
Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, France to Martigny, Switzerland

Wednesday August 2, 2017

Thursday August 3, 2017
Zermatt to Saas Fee