Four of us arrive at just before midnight Zermatt at the train station. With us a few English-speaking others, but have more drinking than running in mind at the moment. On the station toilet we refill our bottles, shoulder our heavy backpacks and skis and make our way through the beautiful village, which now, on Tuesdays, shows little of the hustle and bustle that always reigns over the weekend. We follow the hiking signs direction ZmuttThere is no snow down here. On a broad path, it goes for about an hour slightly uphill and around a bend westward, (almost) all the time directly ahead of the Matterhorn. At the Fool of the Full Moon we can walk without headlamps, the trees and mountains cast their shadows as if it were daylight. We leave Zmutt behind us and walk for another 15 minutes until we set up camp north of the reservoir at 2000m on a flat grassy hill. The perfect place for night shots of Matterhorn and Co is this, we still enjoy the quiet nightly mountain world, before we all disappear into the sleeping bags.
The alarm rings at 6:30 am, for humanity's sake I let it snooze a few more times until we crawl out at a bit windy at a quarter to six. But now quickly packed the things to take with fresh energy and at dusk the long journey to the summit in attack. We still keep walking on the hiking trail, over the Bodmen and to Chalbermatten, a small house. At P. 2161 the snow cover starts, we lose our way, but we keep practically the big ponds in front of the Zmutt Glacier to. This is apparently completely covered with debris, at least where the snow has already melted. We find the departure or ascent tracks, which run along the left (southern) edge until you cross the glacier to about 2500m and to the north P. 2735 pass the first flat plateau in a wide left bend. We are now on the way of Patrol of the Glacier, which takes place in two weeks (end of April). This is marked with red poles, and nose all the way come to meet us other tour operators. One helicopter after another roars over us, and when we arrive on the second plateau, we also see why. The army, the organizer of the race, builds supply and helper tents at regular intervals (2-3km) in the middle of the glacier. We take a break, let the helicopter blow through our hairstyle, and take a look at the whole thing.
From the hot strong wind is still nothing to feel, the sun bangs from the almost cloudless sky, and you're glad to be on the road with the good old sunscreen. Continue on the Stockjigletscher on good snow and without gaps up to the next plateau under the summit, which is now only 150 meters above us. Nevertheless, we lay down briefly on our backpacks and I nod promptly. After ten minutes, however, we gather and take the last few meters on the broad summit of Tete Blanche (3710m), with Steinmann and summit cross. From here you have a terrific view, on the one hand back to the valley, there behind the corner is Zermatt, now 2100 meters below us. On the other hand, to the east, the entire Zermatt four-thousander, directly in front of Dent d'Herens and Matterhorn, both impressive figures. At the very back, Breithorn, Liskamm and Signalalk peep out, then further left then Mischabelgruppe. But mastering the panorama definitely does the (or the?) Dent Blanche, with the southwest flank pointing in our direction. To the south and west the view extends over Gran Paradiso, Mont Blanc, the Bouquetins, the Dent du Midi up to the Diablerets, Wildhorn and Wildstrubel. From our overnight camp here, we took about 7 hours with extensive breaks, a little less than the motivated, who train here on the PdG.
We get ready for the descent, and we are rushing over relatively well-moving snow only to the north, to the camp of the PdG, then following the bars over the flat Mont Miné Glacier, Shortly before the northern foot of the Dent de Bertol the skins have to come back, a flat but longer ascent Bertol still has to be done. There, too, a camp is built, one of the soldiers instructs us to go to our knees at the break and not to stand, so that the wind gusts of the helicopters and, above all, our skis do not blow over the edge. Very impressive, these machines. From the Col de Bertol (P. 3268) it now means to drive on the aufgefirnten snow a bit steeper direction glacier. This is pure enjoyment, if you take a few breaks. All the luggage on the back of course pushes to the feet. at P. 2664 arrived, we probably no longer have the tracks in view, the south probably to P. 2625 have turned, where it still has snow. We drive along the steep summer path, use every bit of snow, and have to carry a few times. From the Madonna (or Maria?) Statue you can then get up a couple of times with a skier Arolla Glacierand, following the tracks, you glide and push yourself to the power station. From there on the trail to Les Magines, and you're on the road from Arolla, a nice little place (almost) at the end of the valley, still at 2000 meters altitude. With a little grunts we walk the 300 meters on the road up to the village center, the post bus stop.
The ride down to the Rhone Valley takes about an hour, with first the Mont Collon and later the Dent Blanche. Really impressive area, the Valais.
Ascent 2200 Hm (7-8 hours with breaks)
Departure 1800 Hm (3-3.5 hours with breaks)
Total distance 28km
Equipment: rope and harness if there is a risk of crevasses, avalanche beacon behind the Bertol hut if there is an avalanche. We had everything we needed but nothing 🙂 (level 1)
Very long and shallow, but easy ascent, beautiful panorama all the time, ascent except a beautiful descent, first flat on the glacier, then steeper in Arolla valley.