Our first summits in the European Alps

A restless night. Whilst our group was lucky and had a room right at the end, quiet and peaceful are not the words I would use for the night. Every call of nature from one of our group caused a squeaking of wooden bunks beds and clicking of doors to disrupt an already uneasy sleep, probably due to the altitude.

Then groups started having breakfast and leaving from 4.30am. The clunking of mountain boots was just a level above the other noises. And those groups made short work of the breakfast supplies as we found out at 6.30am. That, and a lack of coffee made for a poor start for the day.

But start we did at 7.30 in order to climb the Vincent Pyramid and the Balmenhorn at 4215 and 4167 meters respectively. I had to borrow some sunglasses for the day as mine went on a leave of absence for the day between packing my pack and putting on my crampons. Most annoying. The snow had frozen to provide a nice, firm surface to walk on. There were a few other groups, but by the time we reached our first objective after about 3 hours, the Vincent Pyramid, we were on our own. Obligatory high fives were followed by summit photos. Then the Balmenhorn summit was ticked off less than an hour later. It provided us with a fairly steep rocky scramble to the top and its Jesus statue.

Then back down and to the Gnifetti hut for something, anything, resembling lunch. That was followed by a 5 hour, just mooching around, wait for lunch. Literally, that was it for the rest of the day, just mooching.