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Breithorn -Triftjigrat Traverse (4164 m) 19 July 2008 Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland Guides: Rütschi Pollinger and Richard Lehner
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From Gandegg hut (red square, 3030m) descend and cross both the Theodul and the Triftji glaciers (lowest point: 2800m). Climb steep mixed snow/ice along the curve of the Triftji ridge and then under the corniced top of Breit-horn’s north face, to emerge on the summit ridge just below the west summit (4164m). Descend the Rosa glacier and loop around to the lift station (3820m).
We’ll have to come back to do this as a day hike.…
(Photo from the web)
J and M are happy to get their own private room (!), with two bunkbeds and wobbly little wooden bedside cabinets. –Plus windows with a postcard view of Breithorn, Lyskamm and Monte Rosa.
Here’s Tuftern, our intrepid mascot, making sure the bunk is occupied.
Today marks one day past the full moon, which is a great assist to our headlamps in the initial two hours of the tour. Not that you can tell in this photo!
This photo (from the web) shows the relentless incline of the upper Triftjigrat, with a familiar landmark—Matterhorn—in the background.
Crossing a Bergschrund requires an enormous step up, with or without a snow bridge. In our case, the bridge is very narrow, and the snow looks extremely rotten. After we are safely across, J asks Richard how many more people will be able to cross before it gives way. R replies, “Oh, maybe two or three.” (!!!)
The worst thing is the sense of “two steps forward, one step back”, as we struggle to make foot holds in the deep and powdery snow.
The final steep, steep push is a guessing game for Jeff. Richard provideshimnocluewhether it willtakeanotherhour, or another 10 minutes, beforewereachthesummitridge. M is luckier: Rütschispeculatesaloud at a criticalpointthat it will be just another 15 minutes or so…
Rütschi lets out a gleeful whoop as he reaches the ridge track, and M makes it a double. J and Richard arrive 30 seconds later, and there are kisses all around. The sunlight, the views and the wide open spaces are exhilarating.
(People on the ridge track provide scale in this shot.)
The wind is strong on the ridge, so we don’t stay long. (photo from the web)
(photo from the web)
Our ascent was done in record time, one of the reasons for Rütschi’s summit whoop.
(In this shot we are sitting on a relatively flat surface. It’s amazing how your perspective changes.)
This shot is taken from Home Sweet Home, with the familiar view of the V from our kitchen window in Almagell.
Route and altitudes: From Gandegghütte (3030m) descend 230m to low point on Triftjigletscher at 2800m. Climb 1350m from there to Breithorn ridge, just below the west summit (4164m). Descend to Rosa glacier and then cross back up to Kleinmatterhorn lift station at 3820m.
Climb from the hut to summit took 5 hours 20 mins (3:45-8:55).
Descent from Breithorn to lift station at Kleinmatterhorn took a bit over 1 hour.
Estimated horizontal distance of ascent, 5.7 km.
Estimated horizontal distance of descent, 3.5 km.
Rütschi and Richard were VERY pleased with our RT total time: 6 hours 30 mins.