Thursday, 26 August 2010

Helvetia part IX: Staff snow'n ice

Again, one of my most awesome days off. I had last two days off in row to participate in the staff snow'n ice, more precisely it was snow'n ice combo.

On Wednesday, we left the centre bit before 8am and started to head towards Oeschinensee cable car station. From Oeschinensee, we hiked up the path towards Fründenhütte. The path was pretty cool, especially when it started to get bit steeper and more zic-zaccy after a while of hiking. We finally reached Fründenhütte around 11.30am. The view from the hut is just so amazing...

Sunset view from Fründenhütte

On Wednesday afternoon, we had the first part of snow'n ice combo, which is basicly the glacier workshop. A bit of walking around the glacier roped up to each other and jumping over small crevasses. After a while, we got a chance to practise the crevasse rescue and the set-up itself. Some of us also got lowered into a crevasse to be rescued after a while. When we were walking back towards the hut, we actually got into a real situation, when one of us jumped over a crevasse bit too far and pulled the next guy into it. Luckily, we didn't need to build a pulley system, cause it was quite easy to just pull the guy up with the rest of the group.

Roped up on the glacier

Crevasse rescue practising

Back at the hut, the dinner was amazing as it usually is at SAC's (Swiss Alpine Club) huts. We had soup, rice and some brown meat sauce, and chocolate pudding for dessert.

Next morning was quite cool, when the supply helicopter provided some stuff for the hut just after breakfast. After the 'sandstorm', we started heading towards the glacier again for the second day, which includes ice climbing. We roped up the glacier for a while and finally arrived to the ice climbing spot. We ice climbed for a while and then started to head back towards the hut, where we had our packed lunches around noon. After lunch, we just packed everything up and started heading back down towards Oeschinensee and Kandersteg.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Helvetia part VIII: My first relaxing day off

Oh, finally I've got a day off just for relaxing. All my previous days off have been more or less busy or extreme. Today, I've just been spending my time not to do that much. In the morning, I walked to the village and was looking for a D-shape carabiner, which I finally found. I bought it, cause in safety sling use it's much more relevant than HMS's, which are usually a bit too thick to have the carabiner and the climbing rope through the same metal ring.

After my shopping trip, I've just been watching random outdoor films in our staff room about e.g. mountaineering, deep water soloing etc.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Helvetia part VII: Multipitching Bire

On Tuesday 10th August, I had maybe the most awesome and a quite long day off, when we went to climb Bire, one of the closest mountain peaks.

We took the Oeschinensee cable car up and started hiking the path up towards Bire. It took around 40mins to walk the path to the beginning of the climb. We started climbing around 11.30am. The pitches were pretty short, straight forward and quite easy, cause the whole Bire route is graded as 5a, which is the hardest grade of the pitches and some of them are even easier.

After some hours of climbing, we reached the grassy part before the peak. We had to walk on a path towards the peak and those last pitches. The last pitches were also quite straight forward, but towards the peak we found out the lack of bolts, so e.g. we had to make a 'slings around few rocks' anchor once. Finally, we reached the top of Bire around 18.30pm. At the altitude of 2500m, the views were quite poor at first, cause of clouds, but we were actually above them. The whole climb was pretty much around 450 to 500 meters, so it's obviously going to take for a while.

After the climb, we started to head down on a miserable path towards Oeschinensee. Actually, we had to call to the centre to delay our route card. Finally, we reached the village and we called to the centre again to sign in our route card, cause we wanted to catch the last pizzas at Dessis (Hotel Des Alpes) and so we did. Totally an awesome ending for an awesome day, when we had pizza and beer at Dessis around 22.30pm.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Helvetia part VI: Blüemlisalphütte hiking

Awesome. On air again for a while...

When my relatives came here for a visit from 29th July to 3rd August, I got nice chance to have two days off in row. As the plan was to hike up to Blüemlisalphütte with my cousin, and so we did it. Although, the weather forecast was quite crappy for those two days, we still headed towards Blüemlisalphütte after a delicious moment at Marmotte, the local tea room. The weather was really a bit crappy, but luckily it didn't rain that much. Only some drizzle just above Oeschinensee and just before the hut. Otherwise, it was just really cloudy and foggy all the way up there.

We finally reached Blüemlisalphütte few hours before the dinner. Blüemlisalphütte locates at the altitude of 2840m above the sea level, so the views should be really awesome. Unluckily, the hut was basicly inside of the clouds all the time, so no nice pictures from alpine views. The dinner was pretty nice, cause we were basicly allowed to eat as much as we could.

When we woke up next morning, there was some snow around the hut and the famous visibility was still pretty crap. Although, we were able to take some nice snowy pictures of the hut. Just after having some breakfast, we started heading down and as we reached lower altitudes the weather started to clear up a bit, but the hut seemed to be still inside of clouds.

All in all, it was very cool hike and nice few days off, although the weather was what it was...