In late August 2012, with a team of climbing friends, I will attempt to summit two of the world’s most famous and beautiful yet treacherous mountains, the Matterhorn and the Meije, in aid of the UK blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
The idea originated when the mother one of my dear climbing partners died of a myelodysplastic syndrome, a type of blood cancer, after our climbing trip to Morocco in January. There were six of us in Morocco and we had the most unforgettable trip, climbing in a remote, adventurous area on impeccable rock, with fabulous weather. It was a shock to come home to this terrible news. So we decided to do something challenging together, which was special to us and to dedicate it to her memory, whilst attempting to raise awareness about this ruthless illness and money for research.
The team is made up of three climbers: myself, Bertrand Donninger and Jean-Baptiste Chavanne. Vive l'entente cordiale!
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Our plan is to climb the two most beautiful arêtes of the Alps in one week in late August: the Matterhorn on the Swiss/Italian border, and La Meije in France. Obviously everything is conditional on the weather at the time, but the idea is to summit the Matterhorn from the Italian side (arête du Lion) and descend into Switzerland via the Hörnli ridge. We may bivi at or near the top. Then we will head to La Grave to tackle La Traversée de la Meije in one of the wildest parts of the Alps. We will climb to Le Prémontoire using the Enfetchores route, and the day after will do the traverse and then sleep at the Aigle hut.
For more on the Matterhorn see http://www.zermatt.ch/en/page.cfm/zermatt_matterhorn/4000er/matterhorn
The total altitude of the two combined is 8462 metres and this gave us the idea to set an initial target of raising £8462. These climbs are not to be underestimated. Indeed on the first successful ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865, four of the party of seven fell to their deaths. La Meije is also not easy and was one of the last major peaks in the Alps to be climbed.