Probably the biggest and most famous ski mountaineering race in the world, the Patrouille des Glaciers takes place at the end of April every 2 years. So big they literally mobilise the Swiss army to organise it. The scale of both the organisation and the race is colossal. It will attract people of all levels of ability from Eurowad uberheroes to guided parties (big cash cow for the Swiss and other guides) as well as thousands of keen amateurs, all in teams of 3 people.

[caption id="attachment_6030" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Summit of Mt Buet, 3090m - out training earlier this winter with Ben Tibbetts and Misha Gopaul. View of Rochers de Fiz. Summit of Mt Buet, 3090m - out training earlier this winter with Ben Tibbetts and Misha Gopaul. View of Rochers de Fiz.[/caption]

The route is from the centre of Zermatt to the centre of Verbier by the most logical route on skis. This is, more or less, one of the Haute Route variations in reverse (excluding the Chamonix to Champex section), and is 53km horizontal distance and 4000m of ascent and descent. Added complications include starting with a 1 hour run with skis and boots on your back in the middle of the night, skinning uphill roped-up and, much worse, mandatory downhill sections skiing roped-up (in the dark). Factor in altitude up to 3,600m and the brutal cold at 4am, descending on skinny skis for maximum speed uphill, and you have a big night out that you don’t forget in a hurry.

[caption id="attachment_6031" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Summit of Mt Dolent, 3820m - border of Switzerland, France and Italy, acclimatising earlier this winter for the Pierra Menta. View of Aiguille Verte and Argentiere Glacier. Summit of Mt Dolent, 3820m - border of Switzerland, France and Italy, acclimatising earlier this winter for the Pierra Menta. View of Aiguille Verte and Argentiere Glacier.[/caption]

Acclimatisation is a big factor for this race. I have learnt the hard way there is no substitute for sleeping high if you aren’t out constantly at altitude. I have in the past arranged weeks ski guiding, sleeping huts immediately prior to the race. Not an option working in UK the last 2 weeks- so a painful headache-inducing trip to the Cosmiques Hut for 2 nights with Misha and Gaby (also doing the PDG in a different team). My team mates- Ben Tibbetts and Ben Bardsley - have been out for many weeks/months so didn’t need this thin air hit.

[caption id="attachment_6032" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Only 5 people in the hut on Sunday night. Outrageously good homemade puddings! Only 5 people in the hut on Sunday night. Outrageously good homemade puddings![/caption]

No booze but in my case fresh from sea level it felt the next morning like I’d had plenty- a familiar sign of the altitude. The weather was pants- 30cm fresh snow but fog and still light snowfall. We stayed put most of the day and fashioned a concertina system with bungee. We cable tied it every 50cm to the mandatory 30m of full weight rope, in order to prevent it snagging under your skis when roped up.

[caption id="attachment_6033" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Anti-snagging rope system Anti-snagging rope system[/caption]

The weather was no better in the afternoon but we ventured out into the ming to test the system skiing roped up- entertaining! I enjoyed the skin back up to the Midi lift as we skinned all the way up to the icy tunnel exit itself. Normally too icy and mobbed with people.

[caption id="attachment_6038" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Jon Morgan and Misha Gopaul . You can’t normally skin up this far! Very snowy Aiguille du Midi lift station behind Jon Morgan and Misha Gopaul . You can’t normally skin up this far! Very snowy Aiguille du Midi lift station behind[/caption]

One night wasn’t going to be enough so we had a great little ski back down the arête and wade back up for more tea and delicious food at the hut. A much better night and hardly a headache in the morning. Not all essential training is exhausting and makes you short of breath! Even more snow overnight- proper wading on the skis back to the Midi this morning.

[caption id="attachment_6034" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Jon Morgan and Misha Gopaul wading up to the Aiguille du Midi with even more fresh snow this morning. Jon Morgan and Misha Gopaul wading up to the Aiguille du Midi with even more fresh snow this morning.[/caption]

All set now. The race starts 1am in the very small hours of Wednesday morning. If anyone is interested there is live satellite tracking- easily visible are any teams you wish to follow- we are 'Team RAB'. You can follow us on the free app 'PdG2014' (Android & iPhone). We expect to finish sometime between 9 and 10 in the morning. Bring it on!

UPDATE: Due to heavy snowfall, the race has been delayed by 24 hours and is now due to start at 1am on Thursday.

Jon MorganProbably the biggest and most famous ski mountaineering race in the world, the Patrouille des Glaciers takes place at the end of April every 2 years. So big they literally mobilise the Swiss army to organise it. The scale of both the organisation and the race is colossal. It will attract people of all levels of ability from Eurowad uberheroes to guided parties (big cash cow for the Swiss and other guides) as well as thousands of keen amateurs, all in teams of 3 people.

[caption id="attachment_6030" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Summit of Mt Buet, 3090m - out training earlier this winter with Ben Tibbetts and Misha Gopaul. View of Rochers de Fiz. Summit of Mt Buet, 3090m - out training earlier this winter with Ben Tibbetts and Misha Gopaul. View of Rochers de Fiz.[/caption]

The route is from the centre of Zermatt to the centre of Verbier by the most logical route on skis. This is, more or less, one of the Haute Route variations in reverse (excluding the Chamonix to Champex section), and is 53km horizontal distance and 4000m of ascent and descent. Added complications include starting with a 1 hour run with skis and boots on your back in the middle of the night, skinning uphill roped-up and, much worse, mandatory downhill sections skiing roped-up (in the dark). Factor in altitude up to 3,600m and the brutal cold at 4am, descending on skinny skis for maximum speed uphill, and you have a big night out that you don’t forget in a hurry.

[caption id="attachment_6031" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Summit of Mt Dolent, 3820m - border of Switzerland, France and Italy, acclimatising earlier this winter for the Pierra Menta. View of Aiguille Verte and Argentiere Glacier. Summit of Mt Dolent, 3820m - border of Switzerland, France and Italy, acclimatising earlier this winter for the Pierra Menta. View of Aiguille Verte and Argentiere Glacier.[/caption]

Acclimatisation is a big factor for this race. I have learnt the hard way there is no substitute for sleeping high if you aren’t out constantly at altitude. I have in the past arranged weeks ski guiding, sleeping huts immediately prior to the race. Not an option working in UK the last 2 weeks- so a painful headache-inducing trip to the Cosmiques Hut for 2 nights with Misha and Gaby (also doing the PDG in a different team). My team mates- Ben Tibbetts and Ben Bardsley - have been out for many weeks/months so didn’t need this thin air hit.

[caption id="attachment_6032" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Only 5 people in the hut on Sunday night. Outrageously good homemade puddings! Only 5 people in the hut on Sunday night. Outrageously good homemade puddings![/caption]

No booze but in my case fresh from sea level it felt the next morning like I’d had plenty- a familiar sign of the altitude. The weather was pants- 30cm fresh snow but fog and still light snowfall. We stayed put most of the day and fashioned a concertina system with bungee. We cable tied it every 50cm to the mandatory 30m of full weight rope, in order to prevent it snagging under your skis when roped up.

[caption id="attachment_6033" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Anti-snagging rope system Anti-snagging rope system[/caption]

The weather was no better in the afternoon but we ventured out into the ming to test the system skiing roped up- entertaining! I enjoyed the skin back up to the Midi lift as we skinned all the way up to the icy tunnel exit itself. Normally too icy and mobbed with people.

[caption id="attachment_6038" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Jon Morgan and Misha Gopaul . You can’t normally skin up this far! Very snowy Aiguille du Midi lift station behind Jon Morgan and Misha Gopaul . You can’t normally skin up this far! Very snowy Aiguille du Midi lift station behind[/caption]

One night wasn’t going to be enough so we had a great little ski back down the arête and wade back up for more tea and delicious food at the hut. A much better night and hardly a headache in the morning. Not all essential training is exhausting and makes you short of breath! Even more snow overnight- proper wading on the skis back to the Midi this morning.

[caption id="attachment_6034" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Jon Morgan and Misha Gopaul wading up to the Aiguille du Midi with even more fresh snow this morning. Jon Morgan and Misha Gopaul wading up to the Aiguille du Midi with even more fresh snow this morning.[/caption]

All set now. The race starts 1am in the very small hours of Wednesday morning. If anyone is interested there is live satellite tracking- easily visible are any teams you wish to follow- we are 'Team RAB'. You can follow us on the free app 'PdG2014' (Android & iPhone). We expect to finish sometime between 9 and 10 in the morning. Bring it on!

UPDATE: Due to heavy snowfall, the race has been delayed by 24 hours and is now due to start at 1am on Thursday.

Jon MorganProbably the biggest and most famous ski mountaineering race in the world, the Patrouille des Glaciers takes place at the end of April every 2 years. So big they literally mobilise the Swiss army to organise it. The scale of both the organisation and the race is colossal. It will attract people of all levels of ability from Eurowad uberheroes to guided parties (big cash cow for the Swiss and other guides) as well as thousands of keen amateurs, all in teams of 3 people.

[caption id="attachment_6030" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Summit of Mt Buet, 3090m - out training earlier this winter with Ben Tibbetts and Misha Gopaul. View of Rochers de Fiz. Summit of Mt Buet, 3090m - out training earlier this winter with Ben Tibbetts and Misha Gopaul. View of Rochers de Fiz.[/caption]

The route is from the centre of Zermatt to the centre of Verbier by the most logical route on skis. This is, more or less, one of the Haute Route variations in reverse (excluding the Chamonix to Champex section), and is 53km horizontal distance and 4000m of ascent and descent. Added complications include starting with a 1 hour run with skis and boots on your back in the middle of the night, skinning uphill roped-up and, much worse, mandatory downhill sections skiing roped-up (in the dark). Factor in altitude up to 3,600m and the brutal cold at 4am, descending on skinny skis for maximum speed uphill, and you have a big night out that you don’t forget in a hurry.

[caption id="attachment_6031" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Summit of Mt Dolent, 3820m - border of Switzerland, France and Italy, acclimatising earlier this winter for the Pierra Menta. View of Aiguille Verte and Argentiere Glacier. Summit of Mt Dolent, 3820m - border of Switzerland, France and Italy, acclimatising earlier this winter for the Pierra Menta. View of Aiguille Verte and Argentiere Glacier.[/caption]

Acclimatisation is a big factor for this race. I have learnt the hard way there is no substitute for sleeping high if you aren’t out constantly at altitude. I have in the past arranged weeks ski guiding, sleeping huts immediately prior to the race. Not an option working in UK the last 2 weeks- so a painful headache-inducing trip to the Cosmiques Hut for 2 nights with Misha and Gaby (also doing the PDG in a different team). My team mates- Ben Tibbetts and Ben Bardsley - have been out for many weeks/months so didn’t need this thin air hit.

[caption id="attachment_6032" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Only 5 people in the hut on Sunday night. Outrageously good homemade puddings! Only 5 people in the hut on Sunday night. Outrageously good homemade puddings![/caption]

No booze but in my case fresh from sea level it felt the next morning like I’d had plenty- a familiar sign of the altitude. The weather was pants- 30cm fresh snow but fog and still light snowfall. We stayed put most of the day and fashioned a concertina system with bungee. We cable tied it every 50cm to the mandatory 30m of full weight rope, in order to prevent it snagging under your skis when roped up.

[caption id="attachment_6033" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Anti-snagging rope system Anti-snagging rope system[/caption]

The weather was no better in the afternoon but we ventured out into the ming to test the system skiing roped up- entertaining! I enjoyed the skin back up to the Midi lift as we skinned all the way up to the icy tunnel exit itself. Normally too icy and mobbed with people.

[caption id="attachment_6038" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Jon Morgan and Misha Gopaul . You can’t normally skin up this far! Very snowy Aiguille du Midi lift station behind Jon Morgan and Misha Gopaul . You can’t normally skin up this far! Very snowy Aiguille du Midi lift station behind[/caption]

One night wasn’t going to be enough so we had a great little ski back down the arête and wade back up for more tea and delicious food at the hut. A much better night and hardly a headache in the morning. Not all essential training is exhausting and makes you short of breath! Even more snow overnight- proper wading on the skis back to the Midi this morning.

[caption id="attachment_6034" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Jon Morgan and Misha Gopaul wading up to the Aiguille du Midi with even more fresh snow this morning. Jon Morgan and Misha Gopaul wading up to the Aiguille du Midi with even more fresh snow this morning.[/caption]

All set now. The race starts 1am in the very small hours of Wednesday morning. If anyone is interested there is live satellite tracking- easily visible are any teams you wish to follow- we are 'Team RAB'. You can follow us on the free app 'PdG2014' (Android & iPhone). We expect to finish sometime between 9 and 10 in the morning. Bring it on!

UPDATE: Due to heavy snowfall, the race has been delayed by 24 hours and is now due to start at 1am on Thursday.

Jon Morgan