Ascent of Monte Rosa on 2017-08-23

Climber: Peter Stone

Others in Party:Twm Stone
David Stone
Jacky Burrows
Martin Moran
Guy Stephen
Date:Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Monte Rosa
    Elevation:15203 ft / 4633 m

Ascent Trip Report

The most technical and among the top two or three most rewarding mountains I’ve ever climbed. Expertly guided by Martin Moran and Guy Stephen via the Swiss Normal Route (NW flank-W ridge) as the culmination of a 12-day five alpine nation high point tour.

Took the Gornergrat railway from Zermatt to the penultimate stop at Rotenboden 2815 m and thence hiked along trail, rock (with some via ferrata) and glacier (with 300 m descent to the massive confluence of the Gorner and Grenz Glaciers), before climbing up to the hut. The new Monte Rosa hut is enormously impressive, all gleaming glass and steel and finely polished wood, truly an architectural wonder for this location and testament to the excellence of the Swiss Alpine Club. Certainly the view from my bunk bed towards the Matterhorn was simply stupendous.

We made the usual early alpine start with a snatched breakfast and a refill of our drinks cannisters with hot tea, and after some problematic route finding in the dark through the crevasses we made steady progress up the increasingly steep slopes of the standard route in cold and windy conditions. The airy rock and ice ridge is continuously challenging but enormously rewarding. The route is varyingly classifed as either PD+ or AD- but Martin judged it as AD- in the conditions of the day and that’s accurate enougn for me. The weather remained clear throughout giving all the spectacular views and sense of elevation one might hope for in this epicentre of Pennine Alps glory. The summit cross is strangely stubby, presumably to withstand the climatic conditions up there. We had the top to ourselves and spent half and hour our so marvelling at the range of other summits in the Monte Rosa massif, and with Liskamm, Breithorn, the Matterhorn, Dent Blanche, Weisshorn and Dom all nearby, and Mont Blanc in the distance.

We descended over the full length of the Gorner glacier to Furi for a complete mountain experience, weary after a long day in the mountains but hugely satisfied with my number 1 alpine objective achieved.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:7279 ft / 2217 m
    Total Elevation Loss:10390 ft / 3165 m
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Ski Poles, Guide, Hut Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:6951 ft / 2118 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 5967 ft / 1818 m; Extra: 984 ft / 299m
    Loss on way in:984 ft / 299 m
    Route:Swiss Normal (NW flank-W ridge)
    Start Trailhead:Rotenboden Station (Gornergrat railway)  9236 ft / 2815 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:9406 ft / 2866 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 9078 ft / 2767 m; Extra: 328 ft / 99m
    Gain on way out:328 ft / 99 m
    Route:Swiss Normal (NW flank-W ridge)
    End Trailhead:Furi Mountain Station  6125 ft / 1866 m

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