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Braunwald Klettersteig

Had a rather awesome adventure in the mountains, another awesome adventure along a glacier, and was hissed at by strange old ladies

Braunwald klettersteig

Braunwald is a mountain area an hour from Zurich, where Switzerland's second-hardest via ferrata climb is located. Your reliable source (Mohamed, not the prophet) told you that it was a three tiered challenge: a hard part, a harder part, and then a really hard part. He suggested taking extra equipment for the last part in case one gets too tired to continue and needs a rest. Basically, he said you'd need to strap yourself to the wall to not fall off it. This news made you very excited! A few of you drove there and attempted the climb. The walk to the beginning of the climb was itself hard enough to tire some of them out (the soft ones). It was a perfect day and there was almost no one there to drop rocks on you from above (yes mum, we all had helmets). Without the via ferrata pegs it would have been a really hard climb; with them it was just a regularly hard climb. The first tier was scaleable without much effort and the second tier was pretty much the same. In between the second and third parts was a super-cool steel cable bridge to cross and swing on like monkeys. Every few meters up you'd stop to take a photo which you'd swear was the photo of the day, but the very next one would out-do it. This repeated for a few hours until you actually were on top of the mountain... you though. The top only looked like the top because the only way higher was up an outward-leaning smooth rock face, beginning below you and towering well above only connected to your mountain by a narrow strip of dirt that seemed to be just hanging between the two. When you stared, squinting really hard, you noticed some coloured specs on the wall which were actually climbers. Your reliable source was right about it looking scary. You all carefully walked over the bridge to the clip in point and started up this idiotic-looking section. If the cold metal pegs didn't make your hands too cold to hold on anymore there really was no problem. You could even take photos if you wrapped one leg around a corner and balanced somehow. It was a little overhung so you had to make sure you held on, but it was completely scalable no worries... Just a few worries about hanging out over big drops and falling, maybe. What a view! Steffen bizarrely brought some carrots and a vegetable peeler - right, because tough mountaineers can't eat unpeeled carrots. On the jog back down he kicked a rock loose that almost took out some angry hikers below. While waiting for the train you noticed how big a difference a good backpack makes for a big adventure.

Bad newspapres

On your way to work the week you often read the free newspapers left on the trains; they're really not that bad surprisingly, appart from Blick! which is comparable to Germany's Bild 'newspaper' with shamelessly blatant porn. In the news this particular week was an article about the upcoming Swiss Marble Championships - you approve of this. More countries should prioritise this kinda news and promote such happenings. You also approve of the thong-enabling warm weather (especially with Europeans' misinterpretation of thongs as sexy underpants) making jumping in the river possible again. It has been warm enough for many anti-Winter activities lately, such as soccer hooligan parades through the city (the crappy end) with flags, flares and all. You read that Switzerland's soccer hooligans are the worst in Europe, and it costs the city of Zurich 250 000 francs per game (police riot squad presence, clean up, etc). You see pictures every week after a game of balaclavered drop-kicks overturning cars and smashing every free object, nailed down or not. The saying goes that Switzerland has not seen a war since Nov. 1847 ...or since the last time Basel played Zurich.

Aletschgletscher hike, ice cave

Aletschgletscher is Switzerland's biggest glacier and seemed like an interesting place to go hiking. To get high enough into the Alps to find glaciers you had yourself a very early start and a three hour ride; that does not seem so bad really, considering visiting alpine areas here is just a day-trip. Snow was still hanging about on the ski slopes, which was fun to play in but made hiking up the first steep bit a tad slippery. The weather was less friendly than you'd hoped - especially considering that this particular outing had been put off due to weather several weekends in a row - with a sporadically rainy patches breaking up the otherwise burningly-bright sunshine: how rude! At the beginning of the hiking trail that circled the mountain you climbed was a sign saying something about avalanches and closed trails, but you know better of course - that's just to keep the tourists away! Your group split into the more-adventurous and less-adventurous people, and the exciting ones started along the track following alongside Aletschgletscher. The glacier didn't seem all that big until someone mentioned it was about a kilometer wide - it only looked small because we were so high above it. Off in the far distance you could just make out some moving specs: a group crossing the glacier, all tied together by rope. That also helped give you a sense of scale. The track became rougher and the rocks wobblier. At one point you heard a deep rumbling sound you decided was a minor rockslide. Sounded to have been where you'd passed twenty minutes ago, so you woke up a little after that. At the end of the wobbly rocky trail was a sharp right hand turn away from the glacier and back to the gondola station. However, after checking watches it seemed that you had just enough time to follow a small river down to the edge of the glaciers to see it up close. The closer you came to the base of the gigantic ice wall, the higher it towered above you. Standing about thirty meters away from it's edge you had to look straight up to have the rim in view; it was monstrous! The small river flowed into an ice cave under the glacier that had melted out a large enough space to erect a circus tent. The walls and ceiling inside the ice cave were crystal clear and a deep asure blue colour throughout. You could peer into the ice several meters seeing small cracks and tiny bubbles, but was otherwise a perfectly clear blue. The cave continued under the glacier dropping down in shelves deeper, until about twenty meters in where it dropped off into a misty dark abyss. You had the feeling that slipping here would mean no chance of rescue after being swept underwater under the nine hundred meter deep glacier. The cave weaved off diagonally into smaller air pockets between smooth rock surfaces and low ice roofs, just high enough to crawl into. You made you way through and out of one small tunnel back to the sunny outside just in time for the exit you emerged from to collapse behind you; no, in case you wondered: melting glaciers are not safe places to play. The last part of the hike was through Taelligrat tunnel - a shortcut back under the mountain, almost a kilometer long - very impressive.

And etc.

You got some new things lately, some good while others a bother. For your birthday present Meike got you an acoustic guitar - that's good! However, work lately had been so damn busy that you've had very little chance to play it - that's bad. There's been so many interesting things happening lately that you're not sure how to fit it all into one day - that's good! However, you decided to forego proper sleeping patterns trying not to miss out on anything, and the consequences of not sleeping was you earning yourself a twitchy eye - that's bad. You re-found your energy-legs too recently and rode Winterthur to home in 53 minutes, smashing your best time by 11 minutes - that's incredibly good! The again, being speedy does not suit everyone; scooting to work one day you were hissed at by an old lady, who jumped back in terror standing flat against the wall and hissed as if you were a feral cat - that's ... well actually, you were rather confused. Three week later it happened again, this time it annoyed you enough to wanna chase her down and eat her like a lion. Grr... Perhaps better would be to ride a pet dinosaur to work and make it eat her instead, as the SBB train advertisements had suggested possible. Damit du bist, wo dein Ausflug ist - trains sure are exciting here.