Adventures must be done!

Climbing the Little Furkahorn (30.8.2008)

The Little Furkahorn had been on our todo list for some time now. It was to be Marcel's fourth attempt and my third. Previous trips had taken us up the first half and on the last occasion we tried a few pitches above that. In all cases, it was some mix of unsure weather conditions, lacking fitness of our companions or lacking time (due to slow climbing, thus finally due to lacking training and fitness).
This time, everything was right: the forecast was brilliant, we were just the two of us and our team work had been honed over the years. The only thing that might work against us was my tiredness after a full week of military staff officers training.
Thus, I got home, stripped out of my fatigues and donned the outdoor clothing, packed my backpack after a short gear check: harness, quickdrawers, helmet, rock climbing shoes, mattress, bivvy bag and sleeping bag. Then I was off again, taking a train to Goeschenen in central Switzerland where Marcel picked me up. We drove up to the Furkapass and set up shop near a barn on a flat piece of ground. For a while we watched the night sky littered with stars and looking out for shooting stars, then we dozed of quickly.
Our alarm went off before dawn and we quickly got dressed, left the overnight gear in the nearby car and marched off to the start of the first pitch.

Dawn over the Walliser Alps. The sharp peak still shaded in the right part is the Matterhorn.

We even found it instantly this time (the first time we had looked around for it a good hour) and got started just as the first sun rays illuminated the snow covered peaks.

Our route up to the summit.

The climbing was going quickly. As we knew the route from the previous trips, we did not even bother to clip into all the bolts. Consequently, rope handling was more strenuous than usual and we were both breathing quickly at the given altitude.

The Rhone glacier below our climbing route.

The route started at 2500m asl and led up the the summit at just 3000m. Technical difficulties were between 3 and 4 with some sparse 5 sections (UIAA rated).

Marcel near the end of the route.

Just 4h 10' brought us up to the end of the climbing route. The last bit along the ridge was not bolted but did not demand any protection to be set; we felt safe enough climbing along with the shortened rope.

Me on the ridge close to the foresummit.

Marcel and myself on the ridge (we had the camera dangling from an upright rock slab).

Marcel perched on a big slab on the ridge.

Me abseiling from the top.

Me taking up the rope with the rappelling section behind me.

From here we walked the rest up to the summit of the little Furkahorn for a well deserved picnic.
Excellent climbing trip!