Saturday, 26 June 2010

Helvetia part III: Lötschenpass hike, department selections and the first whole day off

Lötschenpasshütte 2690m

On Wednesday, we had our last hike of the basic training season. The one day Lötschenpass hike started in the morning by taking a bus to Gasterntal valley, the village of Selden. From Selden, we started to hike up towards Lötschenglacier. At first, the path was mostly quite easy, but after a while it started getting steeper and doing more 'zic-zac'. Finally, we reached the beginning of the glacier, which is by the way called 'the world's safest glacier'. Mainly, because it doesn't move so much, so there are no unexpected crags under the surface snow. Then we hiked up the glacier to the Lötschenpass hut, 2690m. From the hut, we hiked down to Lötschental valley and to the village of Ferden. We took a bus from Ferden to Goppenstein, where we jumped off and took a train to Kandersteg, through the Lötschbergtunnel.

On Friday morning, we got to know in which department we are mainly going to work. Luckily, I got my first choice, which was programme. On our first day, we had the Gasterntal hike. It's one of the easiest hikes of KISC. We took a bus to the village of Selden and we hiked up further to Gasterntal valley to the Heimritx's viewpoint. At the viewpoint, we had a really long lunch break, when we also got to know each other a bit better. The programme department is devided into smaller sections and I got chosen to the climbing section, which is pretty much more than okay. Then, we hiked down the Gasterntal valley back to Kandersteg.

On Saturday, we had the first day off of our department. We checked out the local Allmenalp via ferrata route with a few other programme shorties. I can just only say that it was really amazing with all the rock faces and two cable bridges crossing a waterfall. Maybe you can find more about the 'awesomeness' from the photos...

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Helvetia part II: Cheesery hike, aborted Three valley's hike and rafting

For now, the famous cheesery hike is done. A few days ago we hiked up to this alpine cheesery, which is located quite nearby the centre. It was just a nice steep uphill to the cheesery, at least most of the route. Although, the weather was really foggy, so we couldn't really see that much. The cheesery is located around 1800m altitude and it's quite traditional alpine cheesery with some really good home-made cheese to offer.

2500m before the ridge

On Friday 18th June, we had another training hike to the centre's Upperhut, Ueschinenhütte, which is located in the famous Ueschinen valley. The altitude is 1890m. We spent a night there and headed for the Three valley's hike next morning. The weather wasn't that good (raining all the time). When we got up to the ridge of this route around 2500m, the snow fall started to get heavier and wind was blowing harder than we expected. So we had to turn back at the beginning of the ridge and head back to the centre.

Although the visibility was actually quite bad, the ridge of the route is quite awesome. The ridge is a couple meters wide and there's a few hundred meter drop on both sides, nice...

On 20th Sunday, we had just this amazing rafting experience from KISC's external activity supplier. We took train to Boltigen, where the rafting down the river started from. We went down the river about 15kms. It was just so awesome to raft in white water...

Monday, 14 June 2010

Helvetia part I: Thun, Spiez and some Oeschinensee gondoling

On air again from Switzerland...

Arrived here on Friday 11th June and it's totally amazing country. Before our training season started on Saturday 12th at 5pm, we went to check out few nearby towns by train. At first, we checked out the town of Thun, which is quite famous Swiss town due to it's fabulous old town region. There were some really nice narrow streets and a river streaming through the town. The town of Spiez was also amazing and it was just on our way back to Kandersteg from Thun. It was just a really beautiful lakeside town with the most fabulous alpine scenery.

On Monday 14th, we had the famous D-Day of our training season with those funny looking theme clothes. After spending our morning in the village, at afternoon we went up a mountain hill with the Oeschinensee gondola. Some pretty nice views... After the gondola ride, we had lunch and then we hiked to Oeschinensee to check out the lake and mountains surrounding it. Finally, we hiked down the hill back to the village.

Couldn't be more excited about these mountains...

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Paddling 95 km's last weekend

Well for now a bit different kind of sport, paddling. Last weekend, we paddled from Vihti to Tammisaari, which is just on the coastal line. The starting place was actually quite nearby our scout hut about few kilometers away. This trip has been under planning since last autumn and finally we got a chance to do it. What comes to the equipment, we had the old and dirty fiberglass canoes of our local group, not kayaks.

We started on Friday around 1pm from an old riverside mill, which was quite fabulous. Our day's goal was to paddle to Lohja, about 35 kilometers. We managed to do it and arrived around 9.30pm after some annoying headwind, but also experienced the excitement of waterway lock, which could be operated manually. The lock located at the end of Hiidenvesi just before arriving to Lohjajärvi.

On Saturday, we started our journey around 9.30am. The weather forecast said there would be some heavy raining on Saturday, but hopefully it wasn't. Although, it rained few times for some time. The most annoying thing was probably again that stupid headwind, especially when the first 20 kilometers were mostly lakes. When it started to be more river like, also the carrying started cause there was two old ironworks with barrages just in the beginning of the day's first river. Hopefully, those barrages gave bit more stream to the river, which gave us more speed after those slow carrying operations. Around 9pm, we crossed another ironworks and just after it we found a nice place to spend our night (almost someone's backyard :D).

On Sunday, we started to paddle around 9am. After few kilometers, we had again an ironworks to cross by carrying. After this the river was about to end and the final > 10 kilometers of sea bay started. The headwind started to be quite strong and the waves came almost into the canoes, but still we made it to the final and 95 kilometers were paddled around 3pm...