MOUNTAINEERING TRAINING IN SAAS-FEE AND WEISSMIES
This summer has been all about following a plan where I first where suppose to start train climbing again several times a week, training with rope tecniques, mountain safety and rescue on glaciers, and finally go out climbing and mountaineering with a guide to learn more about how to move in exposed mountain terrain. So, I did all of this with a strong focus straight after winter season that ended in May.
Two days ago I went out in the mountains and this time I was the one leading all the way.
It´s such a cool feeling when you realize that you overcome so many fears. You turned the fears into fascination and let your passion and joy take over. I guess I had that feeling because I felt safe in what I do. I always have margins on my side. Not to mention all training and coursese I done to finally be ready to go out and ”learning by doing”. So, this is a short summary of our mountaineering-adventure from the Almagellerhütte up to beautiful Weissmies – which is now the first mountain I did lead.
ALPINE START – LIGHTET BY THE STARS AND MOON IN THE DARK
As you start early in the morning (or night?) there was complete dark when we woke up. Clear sky and light stars lightened up the sky. Actually I don´t know if anyone reflected about that, except of me and Natta. Everyone was in a hurry to get started, early as possible. Meanwhile we soaked in the atmosphere and tried to stay calm under the sky and stars. You can be fast – and still not rush. 😉
04.00 The alarm was set and it´s time for breakfast.
05.10 We started our hike from Almagellerhütte 2894 m.
06.05 The sunrise was almost there when reaching the Zurchenbergenspass. If it was´t for the 3 more hours to climb that awaited I think I would just sit down and breath. Meditate til the most beautiful sunrise. I mean, it´s about 15-20 minutes when it really burns before you see the whole sun rise over the mountain ridges.
06.40 Crampons on. Time to walk in snow and as we already carried the crampons with us we thought it was better to walk with them on, than carry them in our backpacks.
08.00 Climbing up on the south ridge to Weissmies. Alpine grade of climbing is PD and UIIA 2. I think Natta did a really great job her first time out climbing a ridge. Me myself had a good moment of practicing with short rope.
I know that I sometimes doubt in my balance when I climb steep and exposed terrain in the mountains. But with rope in my hand everything suddenly changed. I was leading, walking with rope in my hands and no chance to use them as I usually do when following a guide. The experience of holding the rope made me feel like coming home. I started to trust myself in a way I never done before when mountaineering. I knew that I know this. I CAN.
The feeling of ”coming home”, sort of ”belonging” or this is ”who I am”. That´s a strong and convinced happening when you get there. In that moment I did´t doubt anymore, and I still don´t. This is what I will keep do. This is where I belong. I was coming home.
11.00 Decision time. When I go out in the mountains or do guiding I always put up a plan with time slots where you have to make a decision – depending on if you´re following your plan in time and distance/altitude (that you of course already made before the start).
So we followed the plan, and started to climb down. With only 100 metres of altitude left to the peak. In my head I could already list 4 ”why” we should turn and that was enough for me to make the decision.
11.15 Reaching the peak is NOT the goal. It´s part of the journey. So I think I never feel disappointed about not reaching a peak. The summit is not always about the summit, today the summit was about feeling confident working with short rope and bringing a friend out in the mountains. And so I did.
Also we had the longest hike awaiting as we where going all the way back to Saas Almagell. Over and all it´s more than 2000 metres of altitude, down. And we already climbed over 1000 metres up, almost reaching a 4000 m-peak.
Back in Saas-Almagell I promise you that both of us felt tired – but oh, so damn happy!
BACK IN HOME IN ENGELBERG
Yesterday I was making notes and reflection about the alpine tour we did. There´s so much to learn about takes from 1-2 days reflection. And soon enough I was starting to type new peaks, mountain routes, dates… Motivaion and energy slowly getting back. Motivation and convinced that I soon will go in out the mountains again!