I had a great time on the recent Tour of Monte Rosa. The weather was very good for the 2 weeks and the views were excellent. For me, the last 3 days were the most exhilarating. The first of these was, in fact, the spare day in Zermatt. Four of us chose to do an ascent of the Mettelhorn, at 3,406 metres, a super trekking peak on the less busy side of Zermatt, away from the crowds.
We left the youth hostel at 7.15am and set off up the Trift gorge, arriving at the Trift Hotel just before 9am for early refreshments. The route then took us up a lovely high valley which, as well as being quiet, opened up some wonderful views of the surrounding peaks. Following a short glacier crossing and the final steep ascent, we reached the summit just before midday. The weather was almost perfect and the views from the top were exceptional; most of the 4,000 metre peaks in the region could be seen. We were the only people on the summit for the half hour we were there; a great day.
(Mettelhorn summit, with the Dom, Taschhorn and Alphubel behind)
The next 2 days, the last of the tour, took us along the Europaweg. This is a recently created (opened in 1997) high level route between Zermatt and Grachen or, in our case, Gasenried. The route is more than 30km in length, involving a stay at the Europahuutte at the halfway stage, and reaches a highpoint of 2,663 metres. Some places on the route are subject to rock falls and landslides, resulting in parts being closed as they were in the previous year. Our leader had checked in Zermatt and the route was fully open this year, thanks in part to a recently installed suspension bridge, 250 feet in length, which takes one clear of the danger area. The 2 days on the Europaweg included some of the most challenging and exciting walking of the holiday and I was very glad we were able to complete this section; a memorable way to finish an excellent hutting tour.
(The Europahutte and, to the right, the new suspension bridge clearing an area prone to rock falls).(On the Europaweg, above Zermatt)