I’ve spent a part of this summer guiding around Andermatt, Switzerland. The village is a sleepy little place compared to Chamonix, for instance, and is best known as a winter freeride centre with great snow. All the roads leading to it are very narrow and winding, especially the one going over the Furka Pass, which takes you quite high in a matter of a few kilometres. Unstable weather forced us to go up to this very pass, where we planned to climb the Gross Bielenhorn (3,210 m) Southeast Ridge.
We parked our van a couple of kilometres lower down and hiked to the Sidelen Hut. After walking a further half an hour we passed an interesting rock formation nicknamed “The Camel” and reached the start of our chosen route. The first part of the climb was relatively straightforward and I short-roped my client until we reached the steeper section. The ridge became increasingly airy and I began climbing and belaying in pitches. The route led us across incredible granite spires and needles, and a few bolts helped with the routefinding. The route finishes just below the summit, where you have to make several abseils, the first one being very exposed. The rush of adrenalin was even stronger once we heard the sound of thunder in the distance.
Luckily, the threatening clouds remained at a safe distance. We descended to the hut, where we enjoyed a cool drink, and once our friends joined us the storm clouds had already enveloped us almost completely. We hurried to the van and reached it just as the first raindrops started to fall.
Despite the unpromising weather forecast we managed to climb a beautiful route and have a great day on the towers above the Furka Pass.