Wenghorn-Rothorn with Matthias
Matthias and I have been working on tour-partner skills for much of the past winter. Before our first tour, Matthias suggested a goal for our season: the Wenghorn-Lagginbiwak-Rothorn loop from Simplon village. Descriptions of the tour made it seem pretty intense, and so we've been working hard to make sure we could do it safely. I'm happy to say that we easily achieved our goal!
We arrived in Simplon village at about 9:30 Monday morning, and in a nice cold breeze set out for the Wenghorn. The snow conditions seemed a bit tricky - there was tons of wind affected snow sitting on top of a very slick ice crust. We were able to find a safe route through the wind slabs and popped out in the bowl below the Wenghorn around 11:30 - surely a beautiful place in summer as well. We skied off the summit in 37 degree breakable crust (not so much fun with a heavy bag) and arrived at the Lagginbiwak (easily visible from the Wenghorn summit) at about 2:30 pm.
Typical biwak activities ensued: start a fire, cut some wood, boil snow, boil snow, boil snow, boil snow, eat some pasta, take some photos, go to sleep. The next morning started at 5:30 am, and we planned to get on our way at 6:30, but I had a contact lens problem, so we were delayed a bit. No problem, it just gave us a bit of a warmer day in the steeps. The crux of the whole tour was the steep slope out of the bowl west of the hut. I managed it with the ski-crampons on, and Matthias smartly opted to boot-pack. The south couloir of the Rothorn was wide and not so steep - probably fantastic for descent as well as ascent. We made it to the pass, deposited our skis, and climbed the last 100 vertical meters to the Rothorn summit at 10:30. Our rewards were beautiful views of Lago Maggiore and a nice, icy descent back down to Simplon.