51 down, 31 to go

By Dougald MacDonald ,

Patrick BerhaultPhoto by Philippe Magnin

Philippe MagninPhoto by Jean Michele Asselin

Patrick Berhault and Philippe Magnin are well past the halfway mark on their visionary Tour des Alpes. The two climbers aim to link all 82 Alpine peaks over 4,000 meters (13,123 feet), traveling between them exclusively by foot, skis and mountain bike. After completing the peaks of the Mont Blanc region in late March, the two had 31 summits in the bag. They skied to Switzerland, summited the three summits of the Grand Combin on April 2, and continued on skis over several high passes to the Swiss village of Zinal. Ahead lay the Royal Crown, a ring of 30 summits over 4,000 meters that surrounds the village of Zermatt. This traverse was first done in winter in 1986 by Erhard Loretan and André Georges. The two climbed the Bishorn and Weisshorn on April 8, then struggled up and down the Zinalrothorn in a meter of new snow on the 10th. Next, they made their way to the south of Zermatt. In continuing poor conditions, the two climbed a total of 14 summits in the Breithorn, Liskamm and Monte Rosa groups over three days, from April 12-14. Still ahead in this area: the Matterhorn, Dom, Dent Blanche and other big peaks. The two hope to wrap up their stay in the Swiss canton of Valais by the end of next week and head north to the Bernese Oberland. Daily reports can be found (in French) at www.glenatpresse.com.

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