In 2008, I, Per jerberyd and my friends Anders Grawin and Tomas Ericsson travelled to the Alps. The main goal was to climb Liongrat, a ridge on the italian side of Matterhorn. This was my first blog and I published it on my site. Read this blog by starting reading from bottom. It all begin with my speed ascent of my favorite mountain in Norway, Bierdacokka.
I’m home again. Anders and I got back home this morning after a major delay caused by Ryanair at the Bergamo airport.
It’s time to end this diary and make some sort of conclusion. First, I’m glad to be back with my family. I have missed them a lot. Our major goal to climb Liongrat failed but nevertheless I’m quite happy with the result of three summits above 4000 meters. Breithorn was nice; we started our two climbs very early and both times had the mountain totally for ourselves. Pollux was fun with its mixed climbing. Not too crowded and with fine weather with great views. Castor was harder because we had to re-charge after Matterhorn, the motivation wasn’t the best, but I’m glad we done it as a bonus mountain. The weather was great, we were among the first to climb it and we were fast and felt strong.
Matterhorn and Liongrat is a story of its own. We had bad luck with the weather and snow & ice conditions on the mountain and we were too slow. First my illness with a near faint (sinus?) and a bad stomach at the start hampered our speed. We also took the wrong path from Plan Maison and lost an hour. Anders fall higher up also grew more doubt in our mind. I’m glad we tried and I want to make a third attempt in the future. What we learned is what we physically need to train harder with; climb fixed ropes with a heavy backpack, running up hills and use the step-machines at the gym to make the legs stronger. Finally, we need to train in the alpine environment at home to be faster. We need to use less protection; move faster and minimize the use of fixed belays at the rope sections. I’m not sure when we’ll get a shot at Liongrat again, next year Jonna and I have been talking about trying Mont Blanc together. Nevertheess, the Matterhorn dream is alive and you’ll never know, perhaps we’ll go there again for a third attempt in 2010!
Finally, thanks to Andreas Wallström that despite no time over helped us with updating the site with our SMS and MMS sent home. Thanks mate!
This morning we topped out on Castor. A quite easy mountain to climb. The hard part was to recharge after Matterhorn and find the energy and motivation. We’re trashed. I haven’t slept for 30 hours and we’re not back in the village yet. Tomorrow, we will start to travel home, first to Milan and stay a night there and the next evening fly home to Sweden.
We summited Castor this morning at 08:25 AM
We have arrived to the Refugio Guide de Carvino hut again. This night at 02:00 AM, we are leaving for Castor, a snow and ice climb. We are both a bit trashed after Matterhorn, especially Anders right foot is troublesome. The approach is long and we hope the foot will hold together. In a few days, we’ll leave for home. I’ve been here for two weeks now and I miss my family, Jonna and Rasmus, a lot!
SMS 1: It’s 09:40 AM and we’re still at the Carell hut. We have come to the conclusion that we’re too slow to make it to the summit in resonable time. The conditions on the mountains demand the use of crampons all the way from here to the summit (and back). Later today, we will start decending.
SMS 2: It’s 10:53 PM and we’re back in our BC at the Dragon Hotel in Cervinia. We failed on Matterhorn during our second attempt. Our climb to the Carell hut was delayed by several reasons.
First, we took the wrong path from Plan Maison and lost one hour. After we had started the frist climbing/scrambling, a very scary thing happened to me. I almost fainted. I have no idea why, but it scared me. A faint here would mean a 1000 meter fall and cartain death for both of us since we’re roped together without protection. This hampered our speed since I moved more carefully.
During the whole approach, we had poor visibility in the clouds and the route was sometimes hard to find. The higher we got, the stronger I felt. No more faint attacks, but I was far from OK. We started to changed leading after Col del Leone. At the famous Whymper chimney, Anders was is the lead. This part is slightly overhanging equiped with a fixed rope but still hard when tired after a long day and wearing a heavy backpack. 10 meters up, Anders was in trouble, not being able to clip in because of exhaution. He fell about five meters until the protection below stopped the fall. We swapped lead. When I got up I hauled our backpacks. We arrived to the hut at 08:45 PM. In this slow pace, it’s impossible to reach the summit and get back during daylight. With my near fainting experience in combination with our slow speed, we decided to go down. The decent took 7,5 hours in OK weather. We made four 25 meter rappels. The rest was done downclimbing.
We have finally arrived to the Carell hut. Tired but safe and OK.
Tomorrow it’s finally time to head up Mt. Cervino, aka Matterhorn. Our plan is to take the cable-car to Plan Maison and hike to the Abruzzi hut. From there, we have to find the path to the Carell cross and further up the mountain to the Carell hut that is located at 3850 meters on the Liongrat ridge. We’ll carry food for three days. Our summit bid will be on Wednesday or Thursday depending on the weather and our physical condition. Today is a rest day at Cervinia, and we’ll try to eat and sleep well. We passed the guide station a last time to check the weather forecast. The lady behind the counter wished us good luck and told us to take care.
07:40 this morning, we summited Breithorn as part of Anders acclimatisation. We had no problem and was first up today. Anders performed excellent like he already had been on altitude!
Tomas left Cervinia this morning to travel back home, while Anders and I took the cable-car up to Testa Grigia. We plan to leave at 03:00 tomorrow and head for Breithorn to do an acclimatise trip for Anders. We leave early to be ahead of the crowd. Right now Testa Grigia is covered in clouds. Hopefully the night will be clear and crispy!
The conditions on Liongrat is still bad. This is mainly a rock climbing route and for us to be able to climb it reasonably safe, the hardest parts must be free from ice and snow since these parts should be done without crampons. Yesterday, the head mountain guide went up to the Carell hut with “a strong client”. This hut is located on the Liongrat ridge and the place where you start the summit attack. Just getting there were rough. The hardest passage, the Whymper chimmeny was iced up and tough to get up using crampons. The fixed steel chain was also hard to handle since it was covered in ice. They turned around at the hut. The Cervinia guides does not climb Mr. Cervino (Matterhorn’s Italian name) in these conditions.
Tomas hiked up to the Carell cross today and met two Polish climbers that summited Liongrat yesterday. This night, seven climbers had to retreat from high up on the mountain. We haven’t decided yet if we will give it a try. Decision day is on Monday.
Today we walked back to Testa Grigia over the glacier. We took a different route that involved a 70 degree steep and a 100 meter long snow colouir. Tomorrow, Anders arrives and so planning for Matterhorn begins. Tomas is thinking about making a hike up to the Carell Cross to have a closer look at Liongrat.
Today we bagged our second 4000 meter summit. The summit of Pollux was reached at 10:30 AM and we are now safely back at the Ayas hut. Good times!
Rest day at D’Ayas hut. Having a good time in the sun looking at the beautiful mountains and clouds below us. Tomorrow we’re going for some mixed climbing on Pollux.
First SMS: The time has just passed midnight and we’re about to leave for Breithorn. It’s a clear night with a full moon to guide us. There’s clouds over Zermatt, hopefully they stay down in the valley. We are both excited to leave, but we’re quite tired since we haven’t slept anything at all since last night.
Second SMS: We summited Breithorn this morning at 07:00 in the first morning sun. We spent one hour on the summit, taking photos and enjoying the view. We’re now at the D’Ayas hut planning to attempt the twin mountains Pollux and Castor. There’s no mobile coverage here, just at some occations it’s possible to send SMS and MMS from a certain cliff. We plan to be back in Cervinia on Thursday or Friday.
We’re back in Refugio Guide de Cervino at the top of the cable-car. Our plan is to leave during the night and head for the summit of Breithorn, 4164 meters. After Breithorn, we have a long glacier walk ahead to the D’Ayas hut. We have to be careful on the glacier since we’re just two persons on the rope. Also, the environment can be rough. Just two days ago, got trapped in a storm close to our route and died of cold and hypothermia.
This morning, we took the three cable-cars that connect each other up to Plateu Rosa. We have just taken it easy and hopefully acclimatised well. Right now I’m sitting in the sun at 3.500 meters watching Matterhorn while clouds slowly gather below the summit. Lingrat is in poor condition with too much snow. Hopefully it will melt next week. If not, it will be difficult for Anders and me to even make an attempt.
Today we travelled to Cervinia. When we arrived, the village was packed with people. This day is the highlight of the year for the local bergfürers when they have a day off, and everybody celebrates together. Some guides were dressed like Carrel, Whymper & CO. It has rained with thunderstorms today and all the mountains have fresh snow. We plan to take the cable-car to Testa Grigia to acclimatise tomorrow on Plateu Rosa. We both feel tired today so we’ll take it easy.
We arrived in Milan, Italy late in the evening. After having a microwave lasagna in the hotel bar, we took a short walk. The city was really empty. The portier told us that tomorrow is a national holiday in Italy, so perharps that was the reason. It’s after midnight now, and the bus to Bervinia is leaving early so I really need a good nights’ sleep.
Today I fixed the last things, I went to both the naprapat and got massage. I feel ready to leave, there’s just two things that bother me. My helth with sinusitis problems and the weather forecast. The weather forecast look really bad when we will arrive to Cervinia with night temperature down to -9 C and snow. Later the snow will turn into rain… I really hope this won’t be a repeat of the weather we faced in 2002 when we aborted and went to Chamonix instead.
Our journey is closing in with just two days left until my and Tomas departure. Today Tomas came over and we checked the gear we’re bringing. We also trained some rope technique in the same tree Anders and I used a couple of days ago. We ended with doing some climbing on my home boulder that’s located just some 20 meters from our house. The boulder has artificial grips that was bolted up a couple of years ago when Jonna and I wanted to be able to train when we had almost no time over for climbing.
This site will continue to be updated after our departure. My old friend Andreas Wallström will handle the updates with photos and text that we send him through SMS and MMS.
I finally got the new Beal Joker 9,1mm rope that I’ve ordered from Addnature. They couldn’t deliver a 50 meter rope, so I got a 60 meter Joker instead, but for the price of a 50 meter. Rasmus “helped” me to coil the new rope. We had som fun with the mess…. I cut away 5 meter rope in both ends to get the right length of the rope and still keep the middle mark.
A good question is what length of rope is best for our trip. It really differs from mountain to mountain, so this is a compromise.
A 30 meter rope would perhaps be best for Breithorn and Castor, a 30 – 40 meter to be able to abseil the crux on Pollux (?) and on Matterhorn I don’t know, it depends on how much we want to abseil instead of downclimbing.
I read on Pierres site this evening that the war between Russia and Georgia may stop his plan to leave for Ararat next week. Hopefully it will work out and he’ll be able to get there as planned.
I still have headache that now have stuck for more than tree weeks. This morning I had a talk with my doctor, together we decided it probably is sinusitis. Though luck! To cure it you should take it very easy, rest and eat antibiotic. There’s less than a week left until I and Tomas leave for Italy… Said and done, I’ll have to take it easy until then and my stomach that already is bad after a week on antibiotic will probably turn into worse now when the dose is doubled! I just have to live it for a while.
This afternoon, Anders came over and we practiced some glacier travel and rescue technique. It feel like much needed since we will only travel with two person teams.
I worked the entire day at KSSS, the Royal Swedish Yacht Club in Saltsjöbaden, trixing with their computers. At 18.30 I finally got home. Rasmus was complaining about my “expedition beard”.
– “Daddy, beard off NOW!!”, so I just had to shave it off! Well, atleast half off it… Later in the evening I did an easy jogging tour near our home, the same route Jonna and I took last week but in the opposite direction: Brevik – Dyvik – Ällmora – Brevik. 8 kilometers during 46 minutes. The routes goes alot up and down and about 2 kilometers is in the bush.
Today Tomas booked a hotel room for us in Milan at the Ibis hotel. Now we don’t have to sleep on in the street during our first night in Italy 🙂
During the night, a summer storm passed with heavy rain. It was still very windy in the morning. A tarpaulin that we have used the last month to protect our house against rain where we’re restoring our house frontage blew away. In the morning it was impossible to get it back due to the wind. It was like trying to handle a sail alone with no ropes! On the way to work the road was blocked when a tree had fallen across the road. I had to turn around and drive about 10km extra to get around it.
In the evening when I was lying in the sofa I heard something strange… It was a bat that by mistake had found it’s way into our living-room! It was really hard chasing it. Suddenly it was gone! Just to show itself again. Finally I caught it in a bucket and released it outdoor.
There’s been a very rainy weekend with thunder and bad weather. On friday, Rasmus stayed at my mothers place while Jonna and I continued with the never-ending birch-tree history. Now we finally can see there will be an end to all this work. Most of the landyard is cleared but there’s a huge job to left – to chop the trees into birchwood. On saturday we went to Bauhaus and bought a new set of outdoor furniture that Rasmus and I put together today. I also built a sandbox for him to play in…
This evening I teamed up with Pierre and his pal Anders for a last training hike around in Tyresta before our separate trips. We did Pierres standard tour, around two lakes; Tyresö Flaten and Albysjön. We had a long talk about the recent events on K2 when a lot of people lost their lives in diffrent accidents. Not fun.
In the end of our hike it was raining cats and dogs and we got totally soaked! Remember to have a look at Pierres site and find out how his next expedition to Ararat will turn out (in swedish only).
Today I worked in the city, at Mentor. When I was finished, I went to Addnature to see if a web order I placed to buy some gear for our Alp trip was ready, but no. Still the Joker 9.1mm rope is missing. Went to another shop, Carlsönerna and bought a couple of chainsaw protective boots and ordered a pair of chainsaw protective pants specially made for tree climbing. In the evening I met up with Pierre and we had a good time hiking and running on Sörmlandsleden. On the way back we went off trail that ended up with a bush-walk. The GPS landed on 9,29 kilometers. When getting back home I found a tick sucking blood from my back. I must have had at least 20 – 30 ticks this year.
Jonna and I worked with the birch-trees for the entire day while my father followed Rasmus to the zoo. In the evening we had time for a quick walk close to home. Brevik – Ällmora – Dyvik and back home in a circle, 9.13 kilometers.
I still have that headache. Hate it. Normally I almost never have headache. After 6 hours work in the server room at Klintberg & Way, I went to Krusboda and walked out in the forest. Todays workout ended with 20 kilometers hiking through Tyresta National Park. I hiked to Tyresta Gård and back, following the hiking trail Sörmlandsleden. The GPS showed 4 hours and seven minutes of walking, taking 24688 steps…
Yesterday I was back at the hospital. I still feel “strange” and the test from last week “perhaps” was positive on borrelia. Not fun, but easy to treat. So they took a new blood test, hopefylly I will get an answer soon.
This morning I woke up with a terrible headache, I decided to stay in bed. Slept until 11.30 when I got up and had breakfast. Some hours later I went out and continued working with the birch-trees. I worked for about two hours, then I felt it was enough. Later in the evening I felt OK for a walk. Hiked around Tyresö Flaten, the GPS stopped on 6.3 kilometers. Now the headache is back again. Will try to get a good night sleep…
After a very rainy day, working with the computers at Klintberg & Way, Pierre Näsman and I met up in the evening and hiked around the lakes Tyresö flaten and Albysjön. It’s always fun to walk and talk with Pierre. We talked about our climbing projects and his big goal for 2010, Everest. Check out his site here.
My cellphone has a built in GPS and pedometer, got some statistics from it about this hike… Duration 2.08 hours, Distance 10,2 kilometers, 13343 steps…
Anders Grawin came over with his kids Hugo and Vendela, we went behind the house and did some scrambling. Anders led Harphoon, a 4b slab crack. Last time he did in gloves, this time with mountaineering boots. It went OK with one fall at the absolute end when the boot flopped on a tiny crystal. Think I shall try it in crampons next time. We finished with climbing my and Jonnas favourites Ahab (5b) and Moby Dick (6a)
I spent one hour in the afternoon to practice prusiking, I need to fresh up my glacier and cevasse travel/rescue technique…
Jonna and Rasmus travelled to Finland yesterday and will stay for a week at her parent’s summerhouse. On the way home last night I felt strange, I don’t want to become sick again now when I feel it’s a must increase my training for Matterhorn. Said and done, I started to feel ill and got a bad stomach and wanted to vomit. I couldn’t sleep for the entire night. I finally fell asleep at dawn.
Woke up at 11.00 and felt better but weak. I had a tiny breakfast and got my chainsaw pants on and started working with the birch-trees. After four hours of work I felt stronger. I had pasta for dinner and watched a movie to relax. I put on the chainsaw pants again and the tree climbing equipment I have borrowed from Micke. This was my first tree climb with aborist equipment. It proved not totally easy to climb with the “leg spikes”. I felt like an ice-climber novice and I must admit it was harder than I had expected. Fun though! I ancored a rope seven meters up in one of our pine-trees. I want to simulate some crevasse self-rescue sessions before our departure.
I ended the night with three kilometers of running (Brevik runt). The ill from the previous night is still here as I write this. I hope I will feel better tomorrow when Anders and his kids will come over for a climbing session on Träsket…
After being forced to a two week rest having a cold, I finally got some action when I and Anders Grawin did some scrambling at my home cliff, Träskberget.
Jonna and I hired Micke to help us take down ten large birch-trees that had to be taken down piece by piece. After having a talk, we decided that I would try to assist him in on future jobs. It seem like fun. It’s a hard and somewhat risky work but you get to climb and also get paid for it! The professionals call themself aborists.
Bushwalk at home with Pierre Näsman to Dyviksudde. Tomas asked Pierre to accompany us on our trip to the Alps, but he has higher ambitions this summer and is going for Ararat.
Two days ago I made a solo ascent of Bierdnacokka (Bear-mountain) in Norway. I did it as a test to see how well I have recovered from last year’s illness. It took 4½ hours to the summit from the car and 2½ hours back. I wanted to follow the East Ride to the summit and traverse down to the west. The East Ridge proved to be dangerous with serve cornices that combined with a high temperature made me abort my plan and focus on the easy but longer West Ridge. With a partner and a “jump” rope, the East Ridge would have been possible.
I performed OK, but not more, I was a bit disappointed that it took long time to get into my normal “phase” and that I was very slow in deeper snow. On the way back my legs filled up with lactic acid and I was walking on will power the last kilometres to the car. Now I have only two months to sharpen my strength.