Saturday, 1 May 2010

The B-O tour

That's B as in Bernese and O as in Oberland, obviously, though after 6 days sweating up huge peaks and skiing back down to the cosy comforts of a bunk in a hut with no running water, it's also B and O in the olfactory sense. Just to rub it in, the view from your window is of Europe's biggest glacier, the 23km long Aletsch, which is reckoned to contain 27 billion tonnes of ice and is at one point about 900 metres deep, so it's not strictly a lack of H2O you're faced with, just that it's much too cold and hard to wash in. As explains, "It is not only the length but its thickness which is impressive". Quite.
It makes for some great skiing-between-crevasse shots too.

From the highest train station on the continent, at 3454m on the Jungfraujoch, via a tunnel through the Eiger, we headed up the Louwihorn, followed by the Gross Wannenhorn, Gruenegghorn and Aebeni Flue, before leaving the ice-cap at the end of the week through the Loetschenluecke for a long ski out back into spring-time.

Literal high-point, 3962m on Aebeni Flue; metaphorical high points, too many to mention. It's another world up there, accessible only with a bit of effort and all the better for it, though we could have done without the Konkordia hut's soul-sapping access ladders which take you 100 vertical metres up a cliff. Definitely not what you want after a long day and double-definitely not what you want if heights are not your thing.

Thankyou Klemen, our giant guide from Mountain Tracks, who led us safely through the week and found us some great skiing, and thanks also to fellow mountaineers Bonnie, Nora, Simon and Steve, in particular, for Jelly Babies at unexpected moments.