Escape to Italy

John Albright and I met in Zermatt for a tour across the Monte Rosa Massif to Italy. A mountaineering adventure from one extreme to the other. 

Zermatt is an extreme of luxury mountain culture. I had to make some tough decisions about timepieces while riding the Klein Matterhorn lift uphill for 2300 meters.

Our first summit was the Breithorn, a 4,164-meter summit near the Klein Matterhorn tram. John lives at sea-level in Florida, like myself in Anchorage, so climbing over 13,000 feet on day one was a lung-ripper.   

We spent our first night at the Val D'Ayas Refugi on the Italian side of the Monte Rosa massif. Everything is better in Italy. 

Our next summit was Castor–a beautiful snow-ice face to a long snow ridge. 

And down to the Quintina Sella Refugi. That is probably the Gran Paradiso out there. 

From the Quintina Sella we descended a bolted ridgeline down to the Aosta Valley.

In Verres we drank beers, sold a shopping mall, bought an office building and caught a bus to Cervinia.

Everything in Italy has style: people hold hands and drink in the street and debate loudly and make amazing cappuccinos in the gas stations. 

Cervina is on the other side of the ridge from Zermatt. The town is much rougher and parts of the tram station look recently bombed. But it's Italy. Italy is so cool. 

I was lucky to come in second, considering there were only two contestants. 

The tram to Zermatt was shut from high winds so we walked the ski area cat track down, minding the crevasses along the way. Thanks for a fun trip John!