Climbing in a white world
Little by little wind and fog build up and after a while it also starts snowing, slowing us down. The rock disappears under a thick layer of powder, making it ever harder place gear and find the abseils. When we reach the famous Bianco Ridge, the sharp white ridge this route is named after, the mist is so thick that we can hardly distinguish it. Above us, under our feet and to our left and right everything is white.
The sharp wind blows icy snowflakes in our faces whilst we work ourselves up feet by feet, short rope lengths between us. In this white world I lose all sense of time and space and before I know it we reach Pizzo Bianco, the white sub-summit of Piz Bernina, with frozen hair and eye lashes.
It’s a special experience, climbing the Bianco Ridge in such wintery conditions during summer. The weather obviously is not optimal and we can barely enjoy the famous views, but I’m genuinely enjoying every step of the way. Although there are some guided rope parties on the ridge, the thick fog makes for a desolate and lonely atmosphere.
That feeling disappears later when climbing traffic jams at the abseils just before the true summit. Pushy mountain guides quickly go first, as we aren’t assertive enough to let them wait for their turn. It slows us down even more, and it is late when the wooden summit cross of Piz Bernina finally emerges from the mist.