The Monch-Switzerland

My first climb in the Bernese Alps was the Monch (13,448ft). I awoke at 5:30am to catch the 6:25am tram from Murren to Lauterbrunnen. Once down I had to run to the rental car to retrieve my climbing gear and meet Franz and the train to the Jungfraujoch. We chatted and enjoyed the train ride into the interior of the famous Eiger. It was a short snow slog to the Monchhutte from the Jungfraujoch for a quick coffee before beginning the climb. The weather had closed in and it was horrendous with wind, snow and visibility in feet. Franz led the way up a number of easy short rock scrambling pitches before we stopped and put on crampons. As we gained altitude the clouds thinned and the winds stopped. We crossed a very exposed corniced ridge section of hard snow to a rock band, then onto snow and then another rock band of scrambling. Nearing the top the route steepened and Franz led upwards to a belay pole up an 45 degree slope, then another until we reached the summit ridge traverse. The traverse was quite nice with the snow corniced foot wide ridge dropping steeply on both sides. As Franz stated, “There are places one can fall and those places one cannot.” This was not a place to misstep or hook a crampon. It took about a half hour to reach the high point with incredible views and sunshine. After a few photos we headed back across the knife edge to the rocks and two hours later we were having a beer back at the hut. A great outing and I looked forward to heading up the Jungfrau a few days later.