Which mountains shall we visit next summer?

I am bored, and thinking ahead to less boring times.

Accordingly: where should we go for the annual North London Mountaineering Club actual mountaineering meet?

Some possibilities:


Pros: mega classic routes everywhere; not that far to drive to; could always be based further up the valley so people like me who prefer somewhere peaceful can go to Switzerland

Cons: expensive; chair lifts (cheating; expensive); so many bloody people; expensive; no good valley cragging; expensive


Pros: No chair lifts (no cheating, cheap); amazing routes at all ability levels; loads of good valley cragging as well as alpine peaks with hut stays; super convenient once you are there; not too expensive

Cons: we went there last year, further to drive than Chamonix


Pros: No glacier crossings (more user friendly for those starting out); moderate amount of chair lifts (thus moderate cheating, moderate expenses); cheap; really good valley cragging

Cons: No glacier crossings (not proper alpinism); the grading in the valley crags is sandbagged; we went there before Covid and so most people have done Piz Badile already


Pros: mega classic peaks

Cons: Switzerland (= expensive, no sleeping in vans on side of road); do we have any existing club knowledge of the area to save time and effort?; further to drive

Aosta Valley Area

Pros: Cheap; Italian food; Monte Rosa massif accessed from the cheap side; loads of valley cragging

Cons: further to drive; have to drive past loads of graffiti boasting about Italy winning the Euros which brings back painful memories of July 2021.

But by all means, let’s have other suggestions!


Correction, Chamonix area has fantastic valley cragging, both down valley (around Cluses) and up valley, e.g. Vallorcine, including around the Emosson dam although I agree the valley cragging closer to Chamomix itself is less good.
However, the most important question is WHEN - in mid-July this year, a lot of alpine rock (all over) was unsafe and valley temperatures were mid-upper 30s.

Yeah we were in the Monte Rosa area early July and we managed a couple of days but the writing was on the wall that it was all we were going to get. However, my crystal ball is broken and I don’t currently know how hot it will be next year.

Interesting about the valley cragging up near the Emosson dam though - we did a route called Acqua Concert near the dam and it was fantastic. I’d much rather spend a week or two round there than the main Chamonix area, which is far too crowded for my liking.

Is it mandatory that there be snow? As Dave says from what I gathered last summer was pretty horrendous and even for rock stuff that isn’t reliant on permafrost holding it together (so lower hills) was a better bet.

I have been to around Zermatt before, years ago, we stayed at a campsite that I remember little about (opposite the uplift in Saas Grund, decent bakery over the road too) which suggests it wasn’t extortionate. I don’t think we found any valley cragging although I don’t think we looked that hard as we had ok weather for getting up high. We did go up to Zermatt town which really didn’t click with me at all but obviously there are good hills above it.

For about the same drive as Chamonix you could get to Interlaken/Meiringen for the Oberland. Good cragging at places like Lehn, medium multipitch (4 pitch sort of thing) at hintisberg, sub-alpine day routes at grinsel, wendenstock etc. I’ve never done high mountains from there but obviously Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau are some of the big names.

Salbit is another name I feel obliged to throw in at this point, although I’m not that sure about what that area would be like in terms of a Basecamp for a whole trip.

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Snow is not mandatory. Nothing is mandatory. Just wanted to start a conversation and see what people are keen for.

Ok cool, I wasn’t sure to what extent snow had to feature as if it does then venues that are more sub-alpine would be silly suggestions :slight_smile:

I keep toying with the idea of the Picos in Spain - Naranjo de Bulnes and all that. A trip there, primarily for the sport climbing admittedly, is one of the things on my “potentials” list for the summer.


I was in Saas Fee/Saas Grund in 2017 and thought it had a reasonable mix. The Allalinhorn, Alphubel, Lagginhorn and Weissmies are all fairly accessible, although the latter is probably quite dangerous via the normal glacier route now. There’s a bunch of rock routes on the Jegihorn and some local cragging, car not needed or even allowed in the valley (as with the neighbouring Zermatt valley). There are plenty of other objectives on the Mischabel chain, some of which seem to be rock routes and possibly therefore still in condition.

I like the sound of Aosta and have scores to settle with the Monte Rosa group, but I’d rather like to go to the Dolomites and get on big rock routes than bet on unlikely snow conditions.

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Was chatting to a mate the other day about big alpine rock routes (beyond the UK), having done little research on it myself, since I’ve generally been more interested in the snow when it comes to the Alps - he also suggested the Dolomites.

Following this thread with interest as haven’t been out the Alps for a while.

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Keen on the Dolomites for the same reasons (much more into big rock routes than snow) but Aosta also sounds interesting!


Watching with interest - Dolomites also on my potentials list.

Corsica might be fun? The natural base would probably be Bavella - the “Dolomites of Corsica” - which is a spectacular region full of of adventurous multipitch: trad, bolted and mixed. Beyond Bavella there is rock climbing across the island, from beachside sport crags to mountainous “grandes voies”, although you do need a car.

Bonus points include reasonably reliable weather (although it’s arguably too hot between mid June- end-Aug) as well as the famous rock pools, food and beaches. Also, it strikes me as still being surprisingly unknown to foreign climbers although I may be wrong.

The most obvious drawback is getting there - it’s a long drive to Nice then get a boat, or else go Easyjet and hire cars. Plus, there’s no real snow and ice in Summer, I don’t think. And (unless there are some old Corsica hands in the club?) I suppose there would be a certain “recce” quality to any such trip = more faff, risk of disappointment?

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I have never been to Corsica, but definitely on my list. However, there has been quite a lot of wild fires in recent summers…

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I vote for either Saas Fee/Saas Grund, Aosta or Chamonix area (totally narrowing things down here. I’m quite keen to do the Weissmeiss and it looks like there are some good sport climbing crags in the area. See Climbing crag – Almagellerhütte SAC .

I would say an advantage of the Chamonix area though is it has a wide variety of activities to cater for different tastes.

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Hi all.

Chamonix - Would have no complaints. As far as I know most variety and accessibility in a single location. (Including all of the fantastic routes in the Aguille Rouges into Switzerland as mentioned)

I also started thinking of some ideas for next summer in areas I’ve never visited: Val di Mello / Massino, Picos d’Europa, Ariege.

Any experience of these? Would any be worth consideration?

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Definitely no snow and ice in Corsica.

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Hi Jamie, I’d certainly recommend the Ariege but more as a Spring/Autumn bolt clipping venue than for mountaineering. The Pyrenees hold very little snow after about April these days.

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I have not been to any of them, although I hear good things about the Picos.

In a similar vibe to Mello, I can highly recommend Orco.

Val di Mello - now that’s another strong contender I reckon. Well located and a lot to go at in many disciplines, right?

But I would also be happy with the Dolomites as I’ve never been and have long desired to go.