The ices I am going to report about are marked in the map 1.-5. In fact, ice is all around in these valleys and we decided for those most suitable for us. To be more precise: climbing on third and fourth degree of ice-climbing scale.
I was very lucky that I found right friends this year to explore ice-climbing regions in valleys of Wallis. Well, "explore" with guide book Hot Ice West is not really exploration. I shall say "following tips and instructions of the guidebook with hope that ice is there. " And it was there ...
1) The first ice we climbed this winter is positioned in north face of la Maya, marked as 1 in the map. More picture can be seen here: dandy_fb. This ice is worth to climb when there is not enough snow on the slopes above it, otherwise avalanche is more than probable. It has 5-6 pitches of easy climbing and it can be recommended as easy start to the season. There is always some belay station, just look left on the rock.
2) Ice called "Cascade du Tunnel" because it located above the tunnel. It offers many beautiful lines on 3rd and 4th degree. There shall not be a big danger of avalanches, however it is better to climb it when there is not too much snow. Firstly because the access to the foot of the ice is leading over steep and long slope and secondly because snow would constantly fall down from upper parts of the ice. Nevertheless, this ice is ranked as the best in this valley so it is worth to climb it when conditions are appropriate.
|Cascade du Tunnel
|My line in Arena, nicer then Mrkva's one :-)
We descended from the Arena by the other stream that creates that 60 m long ice-fall. That one we rappelled down to ensure ourselves that it was good decision not to climb it. Firstly it is tough, secondly, that ice is probably in good shape only few days in year. The ice stood separately from the rock only on its own weight. But this one could realize only when reaching its top.
4) Zinal. This place is not in the guidebook. It is perfect playground where one can practice also after sunset. The lines are not very long (up to 30 m) but those one on the right can be pretty tough. This place is often used for courses and one needs to get up early to be first there. Big pros of this place is good access from parking place. It is right above Zinal, 10 mins from car.
Difficult left side and easy right side of the Zinal climbing gym
5) If you are done with ice-gym in Zinal, you can fallow the valley further and large open area with many ice-falls open before you. There is also Indiana Jones ice-fall that is definitely on list of every climber searching for remarkable lines. We however decided for shorter and easier one called "Cascade du Chamois". This one however can be climb only when the lowest degree of avalanche risk occurs. This place is extremely exposed to avalanches. But I think you can see it immediately when you enter the valley.
|Cascade du Chamois
|Dandy doing his job
And now ... the better part of the winter season.