Report" (Rhys on a 1:1 Swiss 4000ers course)
As promised, we now set out below a full expedition
report of the Williams-Velic exploration of wildest,
most savage Switzerland. We trod where no walrus has
trodden before. And, we wager, where no walrus will
Given that our expedition was one of unexplored lands,
there were no local guides to assist us on our intrepid
path. Instead, we appointed a guide from Slovakia, on
the basis that Slovakia and Switzerland both start with
an "S". We chose Slovakia because, like Switzerland,
it has mountains, and we were unable to find a guide
On 17 July, we set off to climb Weissmeis, a mountain
of 3167m according to my trusty altimeter. Our guide,
Monsieur Velic, forgot to bring any mountaineering boots,
leading some to wonder whether or not he had actually
climbed any mountains in the past. We hired some boots
for M. Velic, however, after which he performed admirably.
Our own lead climber, Monsieur Williams, demonstrated
a range of his most noted technical skills in the high
mountains, with some much-admired dry heaving before
he finally produced some of the contents of his stomach.
We camped that night in the enchanting hamlet of Zermatt
(altitude 3167m) and set off the next day in order to
climb the fearsome Breithorn Half Traverse (3167m).
In order to set ourselves apart from our guide, and
to emphasize the seriousness of the undertaking, we
decided to climb in full evening dress. Our decision
to start each day fashionably late was already beginning
to produce tremendous benefits, as we had the mountains
pretty much to ourselves, although the resulting melted
snow made the climbing somewhat challenging and the
dash back to catch the final cable car led to at least
half the team (M. Williams) throwing up again.
On 19 July, we made the first ascent of a new route
up the Riffelhorn (3167m), the highest mountain in the
region, if our calculations are correct. A lot of nonsense
has been written about the difficulty of some of the
climbs on this fine mountain. We, however, were able
to find a route that is not listed in any of the guidebooks.
To the uninitiated, it might appear that the route was
almost a staircase with barely the need to use one's
hands, but that merely reflects the balance, poise,
and technique of our climbers. To make something so
difficult look so easy is high art indeed. We named
the route "The Williams-Velic Directissimo"
and gave it a grade of 5.39++, although we seriously
doubt that anyone else will ever attempt it. Life is
simply too precious.
On 20 July, we climbed the previously unclimbed (so
far as we could tell, other than the other people on
the summit) Allalinhorn (3167m). By this stage in the
expedition, many members of the team were actually becoming
acclimatised, thus reducing the number of comedy stops,
falls and heaves. This was generally agreed to be a
shameful day for everyone, and we had little option
but to terminate the expedition immediately.
We would like to record our thanks to our numerous supporters
and sponsors, including the ladies of Madame Fifi's
Massage Parlour for their enthusiastic hands-on support,
and Icy-Cold Mountain Beering, for recommending M. Velic
to us in the first place.
Now that we have made the initial explorations into
this untamed land, we have no doubt that others, less
brave perhaps, but no less admirable in their own way,
will follow. We confidently predict that other mountains
in this range will soon be climbed. We humbly trust
that posterity will view our small undertaking with
undiluted praise and exaggerated honour..