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I Want My Hat Back

Xmas presents from Australia arrived, one of which was an amazing book about a bear who lost his hat. Snowshoe hiking and such on the weekend, and all is good.

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I Want My Hat Back

Not everyone gets your sense of humor. It swims somewhere in a grey area of satire, makes nerdy references and is often tickled by the most obtuse things. Your sister, even after living apart for man years, can still somehow pick it. Her xmas present to you was a book called I Want My hat Back: a childrens book about a bear who's lost his hat and goes looking for it. The bear is a very polite chap as he goes from animal to animal asking "Have you seen my hat? No? Ok, thank you". The bear asks a rabbit, a turtle (who accepts his kind offer of a lift onto a stone) a fox and a few others. The book is only about 12 double pages long. In the end the bear realises the rabbit stole his hat and it's implied he ate him. It's the kinda humor you don't really expect in a children's book, but it's the brilliant illustrations of the bear - stiffly courteous to the point of exaggeration, with a blank yet somewhat insinuative facial expression - which make the book a winner. It reminds you of Charlie the Unicorn for it's randomness and dark humor, yet still comes across as light-hearted. You appreciated this book on many levels.

Snowshoe hike: Wirzweli

As a warmup for Guillaume's 2-day snowshoe hike next weekend, you agreed to take an early train and make a quick round of Wirzweli. Due to the warming weather the snow was very heavy (melty, sloppy) and patchy over the skiing area. You made it to the top of the ridge and had a little break to disrobe the excessive layers you'd overestimated needing. The day was sunny but strangely there was no blue sky above you; rather the blue sky encircled you with a several kilometer radius and never broke anywhere near you - a bit of a bummer. You walked along the ridge to a restaurant and stopped for a drink. Drink, as in Kaffee Fertig and Jagertee (Amaretto schnapps coffee, Jagermeister red tea), and considering it was only 11:30am it was kinda hard stuff. Following this you were not walking especially straight. Luckily it was all downhill from there through the woods.

Even with heavy snow, hiking downhill through the forrest was really great. You took it in long strides and bounded down the hill. At one point you realised that heavy snow sticks to hiking poles really well; this discovery quickly developed a technique for scooping and trebusché'ing snowballs which begat a large-scale snow flinging fight. Some copped it in the boobs, others directly in the face. Continuing on, you took a lunch break (yummy meat balls), during which you realised the snow was hopping with tiny black creepy-crawlies. Your tea tasted different after that, having been cooled by adding snow.

Wrist injury

Your wrist post-operation is recovering steadily. You're back to bouldering - carefully anyway - and swimming without a brace. Even so, you're still limp-wristed (literally, not metaphorically) and rather limited. You're limited to +50° / -30° flexibility with the screw in there for now. Very annoyed at yourself that it happened >:(

Snowshoe Hike: Chli Bielenhorn (Furka Pass)

There's a balance between enthusiasm and tolerance that exists between going on adventures and the planned train departure time. It makes sense to go early and have the whole day for adventuring in the sunshine - also far safer if there's risk of avalanche - but there's usually a time mornings before which no one is willing to jump on a train. Guillaume arranged this particular trip's meeting time for 6:09am, which overshot several people's enthusiasm-tolerance limit. Therefore, only the die-hard adventurous mountaineers decided to come. Was it worth getting out of bed at 4:45am? In your opinion: hell yes!

9pm the night before was the point Alex realised he needed snowshoes to go snowshoe hiking; so as you could expect, his lady-friend Delphine was less then impressed that she'd be going alone. He tried to make up for it by making her lunch but packed more in Delphine's backpack than we, as a group, had all together. She wins ten points for coming, regardless of floppy/unorganised boyfriends. The hike started from Realp (1538m) directly up and over the pass road. Some sections in the beginning were blocked by minor avalanches, but the rest seemed mostly stable. The sun was shining directly against the southern-facing mountains and there were patchy areas where more significant avalanches had occurred. You hiked up the slopes with a safe distance from any possible dangerous areas, having a few breaks for suncream and snacks along the way. After a few hundred vertical meters you had to traverse a rather dodgy-looking steep edge; it took a little while but you made it past and had lunch just over the rim with the hut in view in the distance.

At the hut (Albert Heim Hütte, 2543m) you left one tired adventurer to read her book and nap - you considered doing the same actually - and left again for the last little push up to Obere Bielenlücke (a.ka. Kamel peak, 3248m). The last 700 vertical meters were the worst, and with each increasing meter it only got harder. While some charged ahead, your pace slowed to a few steps followed by a few breaths. Just to twist the knife the mountain had stuck insultingly into you showing how fit you wished you were, there was a nasty lip to clamber over before reaching the top. Complaining aside, the top had a nice view in both directions over the Furka Pass and back to the hut in the opposite direction. It was an exhausting 1710 vertical meter win. Going back down Josh tried just sitting and sliding, which worked surprisingly well, while the rest of you plodded along back to the hut. You lovely lady was over carrying her heavy backpack so she made a break for the hut with full determination to drop the damn thing.

The Hüttenwarter weren't especially friendly in their asking for money upfront. In general, they didn't give you an especially welcoming feeling being there. The hut was perched precariously atop a rock had no running water whatsoever, only a confusing sign outside to say don't pee on the snow here, it's used for cooking. The outside toilet was literally a seat over a hole, which let all things poo fall to the valley behind the hut. You suddenly didn't need to go anymore the moment you sat and the valley's windy chill blasted up your backside. The snow path down there was a serious danger in itself, having one slippery section that funneled you off a large cliff. You all had a hot meal, a beer and a game of Ligretto, then went to bed. Up in the barracks someone was snoring as if he were inflating a balloon; your infectious giggle-fit took quite a while to subdue.

The next morning you headed along the ridge back down to Realp with some nasty feeling blisters. The snow was being mean with intermittent hard and soft area and no warning, and gave way a few times to drop you into holes. Josh was there with his shovel to dig you out; he was happy to put his new purchase to use for an actual rescue and not just use it as a tobogganing device.