Climber's Inspiration Gallery: Alpine Routes In The European Alps
The Glacier Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt is 150 years old, and on today's hut-to-hut trek following the British Alpine Club's original 1861 route, it's hard to imagine early mountaineers crossing the unknown terrain, looking for a series of cols and passes to connect glaciers, and returning to farmhouses in valleys below. The scenery, however, hasn't changed, and it's still breathtaking. In 2013, we hiked the Glacier Haute Route over six days for several magazine stories, and just beforehand, took a trip to climb France's Aiguille Dibona, a sharp spire piercing the sky high above the Le Soreiller hut—with its most classic summit route a 13-pitch 5.10c, Visite Obilgatoire. Photographers Dan and Janine Patitucci captured all the amazing views here—follow them on Twitter @patitucciphoto and on Instagram @danpatitucci.
1. Descending a steep trail in cold, changing weather at sunrise with rain starting while on the second day of the Chamonix to Zermatt Glacier Haute Route
2. A climber at sunset high above glacier covered mountains using a headlamp while walking to the Vignette Hut on the third day of the Chamonix to Zermatt Glacier Haute Route
3. Approaching the Glacier d'Otemma at sunrise while on the third day of the Chamonix to Zermatt Glacier Haute Route
4. Climbers on the final section of ridge to the summit of the Tete Blanche, a small, easy peak on the morning of the fifth day of the Chamonix to Zermatt Glacier Haute Route. In the distance is the Matterhorn.
5. A heavily crevassed and dangerous Stockjigletscher is the final descent on the fifth day of the Chamonix to Zermatt Glacier Haute Route. Great care must be taken to avoid the crevasses and follow the best route down the glacier to the endpoint on the Stockji, a rock island where the dirt trail starts that leads to the final overnight at the Schonbiel Hut.
6. Two climbers sit outside the Refuge Sorreiller looking at the Aiguille Dibona guidebook.
7. A climber on the summit of the Aiguille Centrale in the Ecrins National Park, France
8. Climbing the classic 6a+ route Visite Obligatoire on the Aiguille Dibona, Ecrins National Park, France
9. Author Brendan Leonard sits outside the Refuge Sorellier writing in his notebook while on a climbing trip to the Aiguille Dibona