After Mont-Blanc, the Jungfrau. Mountain guides recommend avoiding the ascent by the normal route of this other mythical summit, which culminates at 4158 meters in the Bernese Oberland. In question, the temperatures which remain high for too long and increase the risk of rockfalls.
On several occasions, mountaineers have had to turn around in the face of danger, indicates the Sonntagszeitung. “It is therefore with a heavy heart and for the first time in more than 100 years of history that the mountain guides of Grindelwald are renouncing the classic Jungfrau hike”, specifies the German-speaking newspaper.
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But it’s not just the famous peaks that are affected. The situation is unprecedented in the whole of the Alps, specifies the article. Thus in Valais, the Zermatt guides advise against climbing the Pollux. The threat also remains high on the way to the Weissmies, starting from the Hohsaas. On the Italian side, Val d’Aosta guides recommend avoiding the ascent of the Matterhorn from Cervinia.
“These are known phenomena, these routes are regularly exposed to falling rocks and will always be more so at certain times, with global warming”, reacts the secretary general of the Swiss association of mountain guides, Pierre Mathey, contacted this sunday.
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The danger arises when temperatures approach or even exceed the freezing point for several consecutive days. “In the plain, we speak of a heat wave. Above 4000 meters, it is the absence of refreezing which poses a problem. Rock stores heat. Pieces are detached, ”continues Pierre Mathey. Mont-Blanc is often among the first cities. “But there, it happens a little faster than expected and earlier in the season: often, we avoid Mont-Blanc in August”, adds the Valaisan.
Ask about. And leave early
The rule to follow, for who wants to rub shoulders with the summits: get informed until the last moment. The mountain guides issue their recommendations in consultation with the municipalities. Decisions to leave are usually taken in the very short term, sometimes the same morning. “These are not route closures, but temporary negative notices, subject to change. Hence the need to inquire locally”, notes Pierre Mathey, who also recommends “favoring races in rocky areas which are not exposed to areas of snow or a glacier in the upper part”. But also “leave early, if possible when it is still dark, to be able to leave the exposed areas early, around 11 a.m.”
“The rule in the mountains is to stay humble. Adapt, maybe a little more than usual. And change course if necessary, no matter how attractive these routes are. These summits were there before us. They will stay there after us”. Despite the risk of landslides, “this summer remains exceptional for the guides who are having a very good season”.
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