Photo Story: The Mönch at Sunset, Switzerland, 1968

The Mönch at Sunset, Switzerland 1968

Kodak Retina iiiC
Schneider 50mm F2 lens
Kodachrome (ASA 64 or 100)

Photo Story

The Monch is a frequently climbed mountain on one side of the Jungfraujoch. (To find out why I was there in the summer or 1968, see my prior two posts.)  It was first climbed in 1857. Along with the Jungfrau (rising on the other side of the Jungfraujoch) and the Eiger, the three mountains form what is called the Berner Trilogy. The Jungfraujoch is a saddle (about 11,371' elevation) between the Jungfrau (13,642') and the Mönch (13,445'). The neighboring Eiger has an elevation of 13,020'.

The best time to climb is said to be from mid-June to the end of September.  Many make this a day trip by taking the first train from Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. 

The easiest route to the Mönch summit is along the ridge seen here to the right of the summit. Beginning at the inside-the-mountain railway station (maybe a couple of hundred yards from where I am standing to take this picture), the trek starts with a fairly safe traverse (off to the right of this photo) across the glacier to the base of the Southeast Ridge route. From there, the vertical distance to reach the summit is 1,400 feet.  The summit has an altitude of 13,445 feet. 

Much of the climbing is along an exposed and narrow ridge that is typically cornaced.  I have a decent photo of the mountain taken while standing on the glacier, which I will scan and include in my next post.

Even in summer, the ascent is mostly over snow and ice. There are some rock climbing sections, too. Though I understand that the route is technically straightforward, there are some dangerous sections because much of the climbing is along an exposed and narrow ridge.  

In fact, a group of three Americans were killed that summer, falling from the ridge and 2/3 down the side of the mountain.  A small rescue helicopter was needed for the recovery, and I recall watching the operation through binoculars.

Please note that I have not climbed the Monch.  What I know is based on what I was told or have read.  I only ventured as far as the glacier traverse to the base of the Southeast Ridge route.  Though a fairly stable part of the glacier, watching out for crevasses was all the danger I wanted!

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