The Spaghetti Traverse

Guiding in Europe
During early July I spent 9 days guiding in France, Switzerland, and Italy.  Ellen Singer and I did a hut-to-hut link up called the Spaghetti Traverse, which is what Swiss guides affectionately call the tour from the Breithorn to Monte Rosa.  These peaks are located along the Swiss-Italian border above the mountain villages of Zermatt in Switzerland and Breuil-Cervinia in Italy.   This is mainly a high-level glacier traverse with options to climb many peaks along the way.

European Alps

During our trip about 30cm of new snow fell throughout the week, which made for several periods of white-out conditions.  We made the best of this by taking advantage of 4-5 hour weather windows when we could move on to the next hut.  One day, however, it was too grim to move into the high mountains, so we took lifts down to the Gressoney valley in Italy, had hot chocolate, and went for a nice hike in fair weather below the clouds.


We finished the traverse by climbing the Signalkuppe, which is one of the many summits in the Monte Rosa group.  Believe it or not there is a fully stocked mountain hut on top of the Signalkuppe so we stopped in for a hot drink and took shelter from the strong winds and cold temperatures before descending the Grenx glacier toward the Monte Rosa Hut above Zermatt.

Sawtooth Mountain Guides

We started and finished our trip in Chamonix, the world capital of alpinism.  On the first and last days of our trip we rock climbed in the Aiguille Rouge, a long escarpment of jagged metamorphic rock on the opposite side of the Chamonix valley from the Mt. Blanc massif.

Climbing in the Alps

The new snow we experienced along our traverse in Italy and Switzerland also fell in the Mt. Blanc area.  On July 12 9 climbers were killed in an avalanche on Mt. Maudit, a subsidiary summit of Mt. Blanc.  This was a grim reminder of risks associated with climbing in the mountains.  We were happy to have completed our trip safely and will savor another round of memories from climbing in the Alps.

One last route