Summer Alpine Meet August 2008 – Randa
This meet was a successful outing and typical of Alpine meets the club use to run until fairly recently. Just a group of RC members and guests having a go at some of the best mountains in the Alps. No very difficult routes but challenging enough if you’re not used to the Alpine scene. A good 40 people turned up for this meet based at Randa near Zermatt. I’ve included the original meet report to jog a few memories.
Alpine Meet August 2008 Rae Pritchard
Those attending this meet completely missed the 2008 Beijing Olympics but never mind we had our own Alpine Olympics in Switzerland. The campsite at Randa was much the same as I remember from the last time the club had a meet here nine years ago with improvements to the facilities it proved once again to be a good base for various activities. About forty members and guests in various tents, caravans and campers attended. We enjoyed mixed weather and conditions but with only one day been a total write off I don’t think we did too badly in all, it was certainly much better than the drab summer back home.
The high ridges and tops of the Valais Alps often had new snowfall on them but that didn’t stop a fair rash of big mountains receiving assents, I for one seemed to have an awful lot of delightful! ‘Alpine starts’. We had to be slightly inventive as a forecast for two settled days in a row was hard to come by. Many peaks were climbed either in a long day from the road head or a much easier shorter day from the top cable car stations. On the most successful day no less than sixteen people attainted a summit on four different 4000-meter peaks.
Away from the mountaineering the Europaweg mid level path proved to be popular and provided not only stunning views of the landscape but also of the flowers and the vividly coloured butterflies, many walks up to the SAC huts were undertaken too. Val Saville had a couple of rounds at the Randa golf club, the tee shots had a spectacular backdrop but I would think any sliced shots would quickly end up in the thickets or the swollen river that ran alongside the fairways. Carole Smithies managed to cycle from Schroarzsee to Brig using a cunning plan that avoided any uphill bits whilst Andy Edmunds cycled up to Taschalp in a not so cunning plan that avoided any downhill bits! Climbing took place down the valley at St Niklaus with mixed reports about the state of the rock and placements.
Zermatt was an obligatory visit for most experiencing the milling throng of tourist and the stupendous cost of coffee and cake. Robb Wilkinson and Jim Hall did however managed to buy three of us a meal and get me birthday cake for 15 Francs in this town that requires quite exceptional tight fiscal-ness. A ride up the Kine Matterhorn telepherique almost required a re-mortgage but never the less had plenty takers saving hours of uphill slog. Personal shopper Jezz (Chinstrap) Nasse tried his best to get us to part with CHF in the gear shops! Must be on commission. The target mountain Matterhorn remained aloof and out of condition looking more like winter than summer, stories of other parties accidents and fatalities were never far away. Best left for another day.
As the weather settled down a bit in the second week slightly harder routes were tackled. The highlight for me was a traverse of the Ober Gabelhorn finishing with a night at the Arben Bivak where we managed to scrounge a meal of spaghetti with no sauce, well beggars can’t be choosers. The thunderbox here must come in pretty high on any top ten list of ‘toilets with the best view in the world!’ a great place to sit and contemplate! Another memory was a an overnight bivi outside before ascending the Alphubel listening to Richard Strauss’ version of an alpine sunrise on an I pod whilst actually watching the real thing through a gap in the bivi bag very surreal, more contemplating.
Gold Medal for tenacity is awarded to Tony Moeller who finally made the summit of the Mettlehorn by a torturous route on his forth attempt in a week. He did admit afterwards that his 1947 guidebook might be a bit out of date!
Silver Medal for determination goes to Moira Sawyer for a freezing ascent of Mont Blanc on the way home in less than ideal conditions. Not entirely sure she enjoyed being dragged up the last few hundred meters but she can at least hold her head high now in her adopted town of Les Houches. Calamity struck on the other side of the mountain on the same day as eight climbers disappeared under a serac collapse.
Bronze Medal for effort is to Gill Edeas and Paul Murray their first 4000-meter peak.
You’ll have to wait another four years for the London Olympics but it’s only a year till the next alpine meet in Val Ferrat. Many thanks to all who attended for a very successful and active meet. As tradition dictates a list of summiteers follows all via normal routes unless stated: –
Mont Blanc 4808m RP RW NS MS
Alphubel (from Taschalp) 4206m RP RW RM JN : NS MS
Rimpfischhorn (from Taschalp) 4198m RP RW NS
Breithorn 4164m RM PM JN : JM NH : NS MS
Breithorn Central Summit(SW Face) 4159m RM JM NH
Pollux (SW Ridge) 4092m NS MS PR SG ES CM RB PJ
Ober Gabelhorn (Traverse) 4063m RP RW JH NS
Allalinhorn (from Taschalp) 4027m RP RW JN : AB JH
Allalinhorn 4027m SG GE
Weissmies 4017m RP RW JN ES
Lagginhorn 4010m RP RW RM JN SG
Wellenkuppe 3903m RP RW JH NS
Mettelhorn (via Hohlichtgletscher) 3406m AM ES CM
Mettelhorn 3406m PR
In Attendance :- Anita Arkell, John Arkell, Sally Arkell, Andy Barron, John Banks (g), Roger Booth, Dave Crilley, Nancy Crilley (g), Wade Cooper, Andy Edmunds, Gina Edmunds (g), Lilly Edmunds (g), Gill Edeas (g), Tomas Frazor (g), Scott Goodman (g), Sid Goodier, Neil Haworth (g), Jim Hall, Phil Jones, Nick Judkins (g), Charlie March (g), Tony Moeller, Jim Morris, Paul Murray, Margaret Murray (g), Ros Murray, John Muskett, Kath Muskett, Jezz Nasse, John Oliver (g), Jean Riley (g), Paul Riley, Val Saville (g), Neil Sawyer, Moira Sawyer (g), Ed Shawcross (g), Carole Smithies, Robb Wilkinson, Rae Pritchard.