Climbing The Matterhorn
The Matterhorn is a mountain. I mean, it really is a Mountain.
If you were to ask a child to draw their idea of a snow capped peak, it would not look too dissimilar. The 'Toblerone Mountain' is one of impressive looks and one of solitude, sitting by itself with no other mountain dwarfing its majestic appearance, perhaps one of the most photographed peaks in the Alps. It is no wonder it is one of the busiest, its ability to catch your attention is undeniable. It caught mine and its been pinned up on my wall ever since.
As I sit here packing, its all come a little quickly, it seems not long ago when my friend Rhys and I were standing in Zermatt looking up to where the Matterhorn should have been, but instead was shrouded in cloud, and with a weather report enough to terrify even the Night's Watch, last year's attempt didn't even make it past the red draped tables of the Monte Rosa - it ended with a slight kick of a cafe chair and sigh, and an off the cuff trip climbing to the south of France.
Will it be second time lucky?
Here I am again, with a much tighter time restraint, a tighter wallet, but again waiting to board that plane in Bristol to take me back to the familiar streets of Chamonix and Zermatt, hoping against hope that I will be second time lucky. This time with Peter Hill who, before leaving to live in Chamonix, went climbing with me and witnessed my climbing prowess by seeing me spat off a climb in the Langdale valley called Mendez and promptly cracking a rib! All the same, he still wants to attempt the Hornli Ridge with me, kudos to him, he must have some faith in me...
For those who have little idea, the Hornli Ridge is the most popular route up the mountain, and is attempted by many people in the high season which runs from early July to Early September, the route is not overly technical - with high exposure, and a few pitches of some of the easiest rock climbing grades Vdiff - what makes the route a little more challenging, apart from the altitude, is the amount of people on one route. Rock fall is a very real danger on this route, from people abseiling back down the route, to waiting in exposed positions for the next party to move on. Route finding is also tricky business, especially when leaving the hut in the early morning.
This mountain has been in the back of my mind ever since I joined a film crew, making a short film about the first ascent of the mountain, and was given a small part - walking about in tweed and hobnail boots, and giving me a tiny taste of what it may have been like for the first ascentionists. And you know what, tweed wasn't too bad...(says the man with a Gore tex jacket sitting safely beside him whilst filming).
Go Ape's Adventure Fund in practise
This trip wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for Go Ape. Their Adventure Fund enabled me to put my dreams into action.
If you'd like to read my whole story, the ups and the downs, then head over to my blog!
Thanks all. Joss Guyer.