A New Year with a difference this time around.
I decide to go on a Ski Touring trip from the 30th to the 2nd January, based at the Hotel Teifenbach at 2100m, and only approachable with Skins on the ski's or by snowshoeing, this was going to be my first time of Ski touring with several days stringed together.
I can tell you that after 2 days i was knackered!
It seemed that we had an unspoken aim of doing 1000m elevation for each day, I myself had never done 1000m up on skins, let alone 4 days in a row. and so my feet soon found out that my 'Freeride' boots were not really made for such accents... blisters popping up all over the place.
Day three had to be the highlight though, with me battling my mind, fatigue and announcing to the group that I was not fit enough to join them. I was coached on by Jean-Francois (our Mountain guide, great guy!) to join for the first 20-30mins up and see how I felt, I could safely ski down alone from this point if it didn't work out. After 30 mins, with sore heels, the beauty of the surrounding mountains and the group took a hold of me and I was in for the day, and what a day it turned out to be. What started as a fairly easy climb, took us past the tongue of the 'Tiefengletscher' were we could walk into an Ice cave, first time in a natural one for me. Then the steep climb started, with heaving lungs and once or twice popping out of the bindings on the 'Spitzkehri' turns it was hard work, till we got 10m away from the peak, skis off and the last 10m by foot to the top of the 'Chli Bielenhorn'. Yeah made it!... now to ski down...More adventure!
Traversing an iced 45 degree slope was also a first for me, slip and your 50-70m down hill! Here my heartbeat was sky high, and the Bad language was flowing I tell you. But Peter and I made it across to the saddle of the ridge, now it was down the Couloir (another 45-40 degrees) to the waiting open slopes of Powder snow.... was I glad to get down there in one piece.
All in all it was a great start to 2021, a great group, great Mountain guide, and a load of adventures.
(plus another 4000m but over 4 trips ;) )
Instead of getting up at 3:30am Saturday morning, I jumped on the train to Interlaken Friday evening and booked into the local Youth hostel, wow have these changed since the 90,s. Tomorrows meeting, with the Mountain guide, was at 09:35am at the top station of the Jungfraujoch (3450m).
Todays goal was the Mount Mönch (Monk) at 4107m!
The 40min glacier walk was relative easy compared to what was to come, with the mountain in view, or looking over us, all the way to the first climb. In our roped up group of three, snowshoes were placed aside and our mountain guide for the day, Jean-Francois, lead the way. A small climb to start, and bit of scrambling and before you know it we were looking down on others yet to start. A little brake and crampons on, now it got steeper, through snow/ice slopes, snow bridges and a touch of 'easier' rock climbing we made our way up to the sub summit at 3882m.
Another little tee break before the we came upon the long, almost horizontal, Snow ridge. God did this look SCARY!! At the beginning walking on the left of the ridge we had the comfort of being able to place our ice pics in the snow for balance, but this soon disappeared as we were now walking on a snow ridge just 20-30cm wide, and hundreds of meters down both left & right of us.
'Hey guys stop there...' says Jean-Francois, '...a great place for a photo', I thought the guy was nuts, but the photo is great.
Step by step, looking ONLY at where I was placing my crampon boots one at a time, the ridge seemed to go on for ever. Finally the summit was there, we had made it! Congratulations where passed around, photos taken to remember this amazing trip, and a bite of an energy bar was had.
What I forgot to mention about our little group with Jean-Francois leading us up, was Karl in the middle and myself bring up the rear.... on the way up, but on the way down, I was now at the front! Meaning, I was leading the snow ridge back down, this was even scarer than on the way up!
The lack of fitness told on the steep journey down, with my quads burning for 2/3 of the way, but we were all got safely down and a well earned beer at the station before heading down.
A big Thank you to Jean-Francois and https://www.bergundtal.ch for an amazing experience.
(Zoom in on some of the photos to see how really small we humans are!)
A spontaneous decision to take Friday afternoon off, why? The skies where blue, the forecast of a clear night, and the chance to sleep out under the stars one more time before winter kicks in.
So I packed up, new Bivi to try out, and headed down to the local train station. Luckily we have a great outdoor shop next to the station so I popped in to get a packet of dinner and breakfast, Reindeer stew for dinner and Porridge with figs and blueberries for breakfast, we are set!
Being late in the day to get up high enough to where I planned to sleep the night and before the sun sets, I cheated and got the mountain train up to Pilatus. Here I would have a 30 min walk and down 200m to my planned night spot. Thinking this was to easy, I took a quick tour to the top of Tomlinshorn 2125m, so at least I got an hours walking in before getting dinner on the go.
I think the pictures below speak for themselves, a great evening, not to cold, a load of stars, a bright moon, breakfast on a peak, an adventurous 5hr hike, with plenty to see and admire along the way.
Sometimes being spontaneous pays off!
A journey has begun, 4 of the RCL Pink Panthers took part in the first ever junior rugby tournament held by RCL the other weekend with great success. Only being a few for the time being, the boys played with RC Zug and finally got a taste of a real rugby game after months of training (some of them years of training!).
No injuries, lots of smiles and to top it off Roy ran in his first ever try in a game, and to make it even more memorable someone got it on video... definitely got his fathers gene’s that showed in his hand off and a dummy to score.
Well done all of you.
A big thank you goes to the RCL PP coaches for all the time and effort put in, you must be very proud.
Chris, Sarah, Roy and Annika blogging around to keep in touch with family and friends all around.