Solitude and Stars

The dance of light, from sunrise to sunset, continually paints the rock canvas of the high mountains with the skill of a master painter, yet it is ever changing. Minute by minute the tableau unfolds from predawn silhouettes of ridges and sky, to luminescent walls bathed in the first morning sun. As the hours pass, the contrasts of line, form and color Continue reading ->

A Deadly Season in the Alps

Orage – French for thunderstorm. Just one of the new words I’ve learned as the summer monsoon season in the Alps continues to drop new layers of snow with each day that passes. Historically, late July is the most stable time to climb in the Alps, but this year, as the snow line continues to lower and the precipitation accumulates,  Continue reading -> 

Aiguille du Chardonnet

In 2009 my friend Yves and I set our sites on Aiguille du Chardonnet and its Forbes Arête rising abruptly from the glacier du Tour whose spiny backbone delineates the border between France and Switzerland. From the safe confines of the Albert Premier Hut, the route looked like a climber’s fantasy, traversing the entire mountain from east to west along an impressively narrow arête full of airy ridges and immense granite gendarmes. Continue reading ->

Difficult Conditions: The Matterhorn

We had traveled thousands of miles to be at this very spot. Atop the Riffelhorn, high above the Gorner Glacier, our gazes fixed upon the peaks and snowy ridges of the high mountains. For many, these spiny backs and snow clad pinnacles merely mark the border of Italy and Switzerland. Continue reading ->

Route Shopping: The Matterhorn

Iconic peaks seem to stir something within our souls. They stand in resolute isolation, their towering heights and sheer faces impervious from the valley floor. They exude power, majesty and enslave any alpinist who dare stare too long, tracing its ridges and routes to the summit. Continue reading ->

Gearing Up: The Matterhorn

4,000 feet of sustained, exposed climbing on unstable rock at high altitudes, leads to the summit of one of the most iconic peaks on the planet; a goal that barely 60% that try it actually achieve. The Matterhorn still claims 12 deaths annually, and up to 1,200 are rescued in the area every season. Continue reading ->

The twin brothers Pollux and Castor known in Latin as Gemini

Here We Come: The Matterhorn

The week before any major climb my mind is full of questions, concerns, doubts. Did I train hard enough? Will the weather be good? What will the climbing conditions be like? Should I have had one or two less slices of foie gras? – All, important questions, but ultimately unanswerable until I begin putting one foot in front of the other. Continue reading ->

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