4000-m peaks of the Alps by Silvestro Franchini
Published on 21/07/2019
When I wrote these thoughts I was in Courmayeur, it was June 26th and 45 days had passed since I climbed with my partner Gabriele Carrara the Barre des Ecrins.
The purpose of our trip was to cross all the 82 4000-m peaks of the Alps. I estimated that this was going to take us about 40 days.
I wanted to know if in 33 days of good weather it was possible to climb all 82 4000-m peaks of the Alps.
To prepare myself for this journey I planned and completed trips that with minimum effort would link several peaks in a single climbing day.
The unknown was to understand if the stages had been well planned and if my body would keep up.
The panning of the trip has been in itself a reason for fun and learning.
It is really true that trips are lived three times: in planning and in dreams, when you live them and then when you remember them.
Today I can say that I am very happy because after the first week I was tired, now that I am returning from Courmayeur after three days up and down the Mont Blanc I feel rested.
My body responded perfectly to the efforts I put to it and now I feel I get less tired in the mountains.
The weather conditions this spring were very bad, we were so unlucky that we were forced to stop for 18 days.
And yet, having managed to do what we did with these bad conditions, I could say that I was not wrong: in 40 days, in our training conditions, mountaineers can complete the ascent of the 82 4000-m peaks of the Alps without too much troubles.
Thanks to this challenge we have compared ourselves with the other mountaineers who in the past have tried the same project.
Unlike them we chose a hybrid season, neither summer nor winter.
During the spring we moved a lot on skis and faced the danger of not yet settled snow and we discovered that most of the mountain refuges and ski lifts are closed during this season.
The other choice at the base of our project was to move around in a van. We didn’t have any logistic support, and this is another aspect that has diversified us compared to those who preceded us.
With our training level, an approach with 1500 meters of ascent with subsequent rest can be an anti-fatigue walk, but when the cable cars were open we took them, to optimize the time and to make the routes less boring.
In 27 days we did 200 hours of mountain activity.
When we expose ourselves so much, there are always small risks and we were lucky because nothing happened to us and we didn't even have significant physical injuries.
As I did on the chain of the Andes in 2018, for every peak I climbed I took a georeferenced photo.
Now summer has arrived, the first work commitments for me and the exams to become a Mountain Guide for my partner Gabriele. I give him my best wishes, convinced that he will have no problem passing the exam.
Surely in a week of good weather I will also climb the 15 peaks that remain, but not now, I do not have the right motivation to continue.
To complete them we will focus more on the quality of the climbs, for example going up the full Peuterey ridge in a day, with the Aiguille Blanche and the Grand Pilier d'Angle. To end all this, on the last summit (which could be Zinalrothorn) I would like to take with me my girlfriend, to give her her first 4000 and to me a double satisfaction.
Below is the list of the peaks that we have climbed till now:
May 13th Dome des Ecrins Barre des Ecrins
May 14th Grand Combin de Valsoley NW face, Grand Combin de Grafeneire, Aguille de Croassaint
May 15th Dent D'Herens
May 16th Gran Paradiso
May 17th Bernina
May 22th Weissmeist Lagginhorn
May 23th Stahlhorn Rimpfrischhorn Allalinhorn W face
May 24th Bishorn
May 27th Droites Aguille du Jardin, Grand Rocheuse, Aguille Verte
May 30th Dent Blanche
May 31th West Breithorn, Central Breithorn, East Breithorn, Breithorn Gemello, Roccia Nera, Polluce, Castore, Punta Felix, West Lyskamm, East Lyskamm
June 1th Punta Giordani, Piramide Vincent, Corno Nero, Ludwigshohe, Punta Parrot, Punta Gnifetti, Punta Zumstein, Grenxgipfel, Punta Dufur, Nordend
June 3th Weisshorn
June 4th Cervino
June 17th Jungfrau Monch
June 18th Gross Grunhorn, Hinter Fiescherhorn, Gross Fieschhorn Finsteraarhorn
June 19th Aletschorn
June 23th Mont Brouillard, Punta Baretti
June 24th Picco Luigi Amedeo Mont Blanc de Courmayeur, Mont Blanc Dome du Gouter Aiguille de Bionnasay
June 25th Corne du Diable, Pointe Chaubert, Pointe Mediane, Pointe Carmen, L'Isolee Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit
June 26th Dente del Gigante, Aiguille de Rochefort, Dome de Rochefort, Punta Margherita, Punta Elena, Punta Croz, Punta Whymper, Punta Walker
Article and pictures by Silvestro Franchini, June 2019
Silvestro Franchini, born in 1987 in Madonna di Campiglio (Italy) is part of the Grivel team since 2019. Ski instructor and Mountain Guide since 2010, he practices climbing and mountaineering in all its forms, from freeride to the crag, crack climbing, ice climbing, ski mountaineering and mountain climbing.
Favorite Grivel product: 360 Ice screw.