Zmutt Ridge Couloir

First repetition and first clean descent.

When i saw this line for the first time i felt like i was living in Paris and hadnt seen the Eiffel Tower. A perfect couloir on the west face of her majesty the Materhorn was just around the corner.

Me and Dominik went for a look a few days later and climbed 1/3 of the way up but the weather got cloudy and the snow stayed hard so we down climbed and had a nice playfull run on spring snow lower down.

The season later i still felt like the couloir was ridable and the line looked amazing, yeaahhh you dont get a clean entrance from the top but the environement of the location definitly make up for it. After seeing a photo a friend took from an heli flight during those days we went for it, only to meet this monster bergschrund at the exit.

This definitley shook us down and we knew that a fall could have the worst consequesces with this thing at the bottom. We spotted a clear exit point that didnt need abseiling and on the exit line.

After scrambling around a tricky boulder section to avoid the bergschrund we started to realize how steep the terrain really was.

Step after step we gained our way to the top and felt exhausted by the time we got there. I improvised a relaxing belay and pretty soon the time had come to get rid of the fears and drop in. The snow had softened to the sun in an uneven way which made a bit unsure. Actually I have never had so much doubt in my head before about riding a line but as I felt the grip on my edge I was relieved I wasnt going to slide down the whole face to end up inside the monster bergschrund.

We did take it really conservative for the first 200m and only when the snow loosened a bit more so did we and started really enjoying to ride. The second half of the couloir with the small jump over the bergschrung followed by a fast exit turned out to be a lot of fun.

It is probably one of the most striking couloirs in Zermatt (there aren’t that many around here) but the exposure is great and the risk very high an we don’t think we will repeat this descent any time soon.


Tyndall

Winter 2015 was sketchy one in Zermatt but during the end of the season things setttled a bit and we went east to check out the Tyndall couloir.

We were busy catching up to a slow start after i had some issues with my new skins , we quickly made up time by choosing a more direct but steeper traverse.

The timing was still good but as we approached Torre Castelfranco the wind picked up a lot! Like really a lot. We reached a plattform on top of the entrance and i went on a reconissance rappel sine i wanted to see how the rappel would look like. Pretty soon i found a trusworthy anchor and thought that lower down the wind would probably settel down a bit.

The wait for Charlie at the anchor turnded to be quite long since communication was impossible and he couldnt feel the rope coming tight as signal to come towards me.

Eventually we rappeled the 15m cliff and slowly started getting a view of the amazing couloir ahead of us. Conditions got better and better and we got dry snow all the way to the bottom which was unexpected considering it was April.

We felt the spring again as we reached Macugnaga and with some ice still hanging on my face we looked for a place in the sun and bought a panini before heading up to Monte moro.

A few joyfull turns and your left with this long ass traverse to the end of the damm which as we found out can be a real pain in splippery conditions

As for the exit of the tunnel above the mattmark see, you might have to play marmotte and shuvel your way out.


Tuket - The Shortest and narowest cut to Macugnaga

What a surprise when we saw this line from the top of Torre Castelfranco. A perfect line down to Macugnaga in our back door. We walked there on reconissance tour and didnt exepect to to get anything but when we saw this we couldt turn back.

Some wet slides from the big rock faces above the couloir were threatening our descent but luckily they took most of the snow with them and we felt that there was nothing too big left that could fall onto our heads, so i dropped in to check the conditions.

The top part was still on dry powder which felt great to ride, and geeting sluffed by Charlie and Kara was totally worthed.

Kara was imprssively very relaxed even if this was her first tour with us, she calmely sat down and took her time to snap some of these pictures.

It was almot too good to be true and soon we were facing the crux.

The dry powder had vanished has one of the earlier slides swept down most of the powder in the steepest and narrowest section.

We were left with ten meters of thin ice before the two meters drop and more ice on the landing. hmhmmhmm!

Hitting a rock with an ice screw to clear a very thin crack where i could jam a piece of cordelette felt pretty desperate but it worked and we abseiled past the ice.

The bottom section soon turned into spring snow and with big smiles we carved our ways to the bottom greeting two Italian skiers walking their way up and seemed preetty surprised to see us.

Winter 2012 was really cold and we foud the Mattmark lake covered in a thick layer of ice giving the surroundings a kind of lunar atmosphere .

Exhausted and cold but with genuinly happy faces we made it to Saas –Almagell and later in the evening back to Zermatt for burgers and drinks.

Tuket we look forward to ride you again…!


Untergabelhorn East Face

When you see this face you immediately feel like skiing it.

Its beautiful and the narrow steep start into the larger and gradually flatter bottom face make it a super fun line to ride.

No lifts, no crowds,this is a pure backcountry line where you need to start at dawn and manage your stamina well , unless you’re doing 2000m uphill every second day for fun like Glenn Parson.In wich case you can start at 8.00 and catch up with the slow guys around 11.30 :-) This is what what happened the first time we went up here.

The feeling of being greeted by the early morning sun is always warm and rewarding. The wilderness of the valley is also astonishing.

As you work out your way to the bottom of the couloir you get some pristine glacier views and might even ear some screams from euphoric Sundays skiers who got heli dropped into Aschi.

Stuart (Foggy) showing us some graceful kickturns.

The push for couloir definitely puts the test on your fitness level. The thought of dropping down half way up might cross your mind but dont listen and just keep going.

The last few hundread meters everyone is feeling wasted but the fact you can see the end of it makes it mentally much easier to keep walking despite the latic acid building on your legs.

Once at the top we were blessed with an amazing view towards the north face of the Matterhorn. For me it is the highlight of this tour so I decided not to post a photo so I don’t spoil your hike…. :-) Ohh yeah the 600m drop in dry powder is also not bad.

Some people might argue that this is too much effort for the way down and that the couloir is not steep enough and theyre right but its still better than touring up on crowded slope to come down on a crowded lift

If you look well you can find some fun lines that will bring you down straight to the walking path towards trift hotel.


From the Bahnhofstrasse to the Marinelli

While walking down the street i met alocal guide who asked if i wanted to join them on the marinelli the next day.

After a dubbious start due to cloud formations we got out bed and soon after were waiting for the Heli at Testa Grigia, where the pilot gave us plenty of time to mentally preapare for the descent.

After an impressive flight and smooth landing right on Top of Silbersattel we were greeted by mountain-wilderness members who were not so impreessed with our arrival.

Quickly we started rappeling into a friendlyer environement and mountainguide Thomas Zumtaugwald (Turbo) set a second rappel station and i was lucky to go down first.

As i felt 20 to 30 cm of well setteld snow under the board i instinctively unclipped the carabiner and toke the first turns and it turns out we couldnt have asked for better snow.

Carefully we went trough the mid section with the ceracs and soon were standing on top of the last and biggest face.

For not beeing out of breath me and charlie were given the first tracks.

We thankfully accepted and started attacking the face. The snow conditions were perfect, so good that we didnt stop until we met the Bergschrund.

After a somewhat tricky exit trough the glacier the guides gracefully traversed their way out as we sweated and cursed at our splitboards til the Italian Restaurant.

We were a bit in a rush to skin back to Saas over the Montemoro but it quickly vanished as we met our pilot who was also having lunch there and kinldly made the offer to fly us back to Torre Castelfranco.

Big Thanks to our guides Fabi Lauber, Thomas Zumtaugwald and Roberto fort the unforgetable day.

- What a day!!


Klein Pollux

Schwärxe aka Tomis Bowl

A more exiciting a less crowded alternative to the schwarztor.

You can get a great view of this beatifull lines from Gornergrat. Due to glaciers retrieving fast Tommis bowl is completly glacier free.

I first rode this with charlie in 2012 during one of our learning by doing splitboard adventures.

The entrance into the first face for me is one of the scariest lines, even if itis easy to ride it rolls in very slowly which makes it impossible to get a view of the face right until your all ready on the steepest part.

Its a big face which most times after a snowfall gets wind affected, i have only got it once on perfect conditions. So usually you get a fair amount of sluff. Knowing this and beeing goofy i usually take a fast left cut to set off the sluff. The danger is if you would get caught in the slide it would bring you down fast into 30m drop onto the zwillingsgletscher.

The Bowl has quite a few options on it,
from very steep until pretty flat.

So here its up to you, some people avoid the first scary drop by riding the normal way down schwarztor and then skining back up to Tomis Bowl.

The steep sections of the bowl usually require abseiling unless ist phenomal winter which rarely hapens this days.

Charlie on the steeper faces of Tomis Bowl

The Northwest exposure keeps the snow nice and dry for long periods after a snowfall. Even if the terrain isnt super consistent, since all tree drops are separated by small flat sections, its always a great day out here.

And when you think the fun is over you still get one last treat.. this nice couloir that drops straight into the glacier.

Some skiers prefer to traverse out left into steep rocky terrain to gain some time or just for the fun of traversing who knows…


Schwarztor / Porta Nera

A classic in Europe and probably the most skied glacier tour in Zermatt.

Sometimes skiable from Jannurary til May. The easy and relatively flat approach makes it almost a half day tour since if everything goes smoothly you make it back to furri for lunch time.

Its northern exposure keeps the snow dry and light for long periods after a snowfall. Like on every glacier things can change quite dramatically from season to season and sometimes you even noticed differences in ice formations from week to week

I once got asked by a French speaking man on slalom skis: Izz derre many crevasses hier..?
I havent count them but sure there are loads of them.

As you make your way down there are plenty of good photo oppoutunities.

Charlie putting some carves on a perfect day.

The way out can be a fun ride trough narrow canyons and ice fromatios until you reach the end of the glacier. It works well a board most days but bringing out the poles really helps.

Its a nightmare on snowshoes but hey who snowshoes naymore these days. Get your split on!

Laura Krohn from DK making her way out.


Bosentrift Couloirs

Bosentrift Couloirs

When we spotted these couloirs while touring up to the Rimpfischorn in 2013, we knew we had to go and ride them.

Here a view of the couloirs in late spring.

After being blessed with decent amounts of snow for the third consecutive season and some google Earth research we put the skins on and went for it.

The way up the west ridge of the Oberrothorn is quite easy and mellow and gives an astonishing view of Zermatt, but while we were absorbed in this magical moment we heard a loud noise coming from the village… it was a big slab of snow detaching from grassy ground close to the Edelweiss couloir.

We didn’t feel reassured at all after witnessing that and trudged on in silence for a while.

While trying to push left to climb straight up to the entry, we faced super slippery rock underneath the snowpack and were forced to climb up through waist-deep snow and then back down again to reach the entrance.

I thought that by the looks of the ridge, it was going to be tricky reaching the desired spot. Luckily, though, I had packed quite a bit of climbing gear and it turned to be very useful once we encountered sections of loose and slabby rock with almost no grip.

— Here a view of the couloirs which is at the lowest point of the ridge

We ended up abseiling the last 10m into the entrance on a questionable nut-placement, but once we took our first look at the couloir, we knew it was all worth it. Perfect powder conditions were waiting for us.

The couloir rides very well and there was plenty of space for some deep powder turns all the way to Täschalp. It’s probably one of the nicest couloirs in Zermatt – but sharpen your crampons if you go looking for powder here!


Edelweiss Couloir

Edelweiss Couloir

Rarely in good conditions, but when it works your in for an amazing ride!

Your standing right above zermatt with a 600m drop below you that starts with an exicting narroewer steep section that gradually mellow out towards the valley.

It doesnt go unoticed from Zermatt or the sunnega side as its a pretty striking line.

Storys were heard of early freeriders in zermatt like Jorg Johannes who skied it on telemarks in 1996.

I had pleasure to ski this couloir for the first time with Simon Anthamatten after a flight to Aeshi. I have hiked the couloir twice since on my own after the next snow fall on perfect powder conditions.

It goes well on vert snowshoes for snowboarders but bootpacking might turn tricky on the steeper sections with grassy ground and some people prefer going around on flater terrain.


Gerwetsch Couloir

Gerwetsch Couloir

One of Zermatts classics and a great place to practice steeper turns and ice anchors

Its short but it has a very rewarding exit on the right snow conditions.

During some seasons the wind can work its magic and completely fill the narrower section, making it skiable from the top without having to abseil.

The couloir is only about 150m long but once you exit it you find a nice and mellow run filled with pillows and cool little drops which can put a big smile or a big pile of snow in your face.

Its probably also one of the most photographed lines in Zermatt but I think the best angle is yet to be found.

In terms of riding Samuel Anthamatten has set the bar pretty high when he put up this amazing top to bottom run back in 2014.

Nice one Sam , we wish we were there too!

https://www.facebook.com/sam.anthamatten.5/videos/1453701738194165/