October is the month of wine so it is only fitting that we made a trip to one of France’s best wine region Alsace and more specifically Kaysersberg, the home of Pinot-gris d’Alsace.
We started pedaling from Basel along the Rhine and it’s canals following the EuroVelo 15 toward Colmar. In true French fashion we got lost a couple of times but didn’t care much since the sun was shining, we had enough wine and good company. Eventually we passed the Alsacian plains or the Grand Ried and started climbing towards our goal Lapoutroie in the Vosges (Vogesen). Traditional dinner and wine tasting.
Next morning it was time to go back but we chose a different route. First we descended down to Kaysersberg, which is apparently one of the nicest villages in the whole of Alsace according to our French colleagues. From there we followed the wine route (Route des Vins d’Alsace) that takes you through all the vineyards and little villages all the way back to Mullhouse and from there along the canal back to Basel.
We did about 230 km in 2 days but with all the sun, laughs and good wine we hardly noticed the effort :P
Some say Hardergrat (also called Brienzergrat) is the most beautiful ridge trek in Europe. The path starts above Interlaken at Harderkulm (1321 m) and then goes on for 27 kilometres all the way to Brienzer Rothorn (2349 m). At first the path follows through the forest but soon steeply rises and ultimately you are walking on a tiny ridge that falls down steeply on both sides. Sure footing required which is easier said than done with that view…
Our colleague invited us all to his place in Davos to enjoy the local trails and we were happy to accept the invite. Saturday was beautiful, 6C down in the city (1560m) in the morning, clear skies and freshly snow coated mountains all around. There are almost a 1000 kilometers of superbly maintained trails on the surrounding mountains so the possibilities are truly endless. Thankfully we had a local with us and were able to just start and ride. We made a complete loop around Davos the first day, with the tram up to Weissfluhjoch (2693m) and then across to Strelapass (2346m) and up to Chörbschhornhütte (2575m). A long descend down to Frauenkirch (1512m) and then up with the gondola on the other side to Jatzmender-Rinerhorn (2053m) where we had the only break of the day for some coffee. Another long descend all the way back to Davos and another gondola up to Jakobshorn (2590m). We first rode down to Sertig (1861m) and then back to Davos to take the same gondola up again and drop on the other side to the valley of Dischma and finish the day in the park with some beer and snacks. In the evening we went to dinner and some beers with our CEO but soon went to sleep.
Next day the sun was gone and rain was looming. We still managed to ride until around 14 on the Klosters side where there is also an epic bike park with great North Shore setup and fun jumps. Davos is renowned for great trails for a reason, highly recommended.
After many organizational and logistic difficulties we finally found ourselves in Ausserberg and started our hike up to Wiwannihütte (2471 m). We wanted to climb the East ridge of Wiwannihorn (3001 m) but unfortunately it was completely enveloped in clouds. Since we preferred to stay in the sun we chose a warm up route on Chlys Ougstchummuhorn (2881 m). Eight pitches of slab climbing up to 5b on great granite and with great views. To save the knees we just abseiled down and went back to the hut for some chilling and dinner.
Next morning clouds filled the sky and Wiwannihorn again looked questionable. Since the climb is 17 pitches and the weather forecast was not great either we decided to return to Ougstchummuhorn and climb the bigger tower surprisingly called Gross Ougstchummuhorn (2924 m). Since we were warmed up we upped it up a notch and did the longer nine pitch route that goes up to 6a. This one was much more interesting, mixing slab, ridge, a little overhang and some cracks as well. On the last pitch we got a short shower but just as we reached the top and were ready to run down the skies cleared again and the abseil was quite comfy. Rain returned as scheduled just as we reached the hut however and so we had some fresh pie and a coffee before we started the long and steep walk back down to the valley.
A workmate had to visit one of our partners in Livigno and so i tagged along. We loaded our bikes in the van and set off after work. Was pouring rain across Switzerland but then actually cleared up when we reached Livigno. We met the others for dinner and some drinks and then crashed at some basement. There are many options for biking and the first day we hit the park. Not my favorite thing in the world but fun to watch the guys killing it. In the afternoon it started raining so we took advantage of an offer to go celebrate the Ferragosto in a hut from one of the mountain guides. So it was down to Bormio and from there up the valley of Zebru to the little hut in the shadow of Il Gran Zebrù or Königspitze (3851 m) as the Germans call it. After a relaxed night we returned to Livigno in the morning and hit the other side of the mountain where all the flow trails are. Much more fun! We rode until the rain returned, had another dinner and then drove back home.
A belated post about a tour that junior already covered here. Still, my pictures are nicer :P
Junior came for a visit so naturally we had to go walking. We met at Visp on Saturday morning and then drove to Zinal (1675m) at the end of Val d’Anniviers where we left the car. As is typical for Valais the approach is steep. About half way we reached the little alp hut of Combautanna (2578m) above the waterfall and had our lunch break with cows. This is also where we could first spot our goal for the day, peaking out from behind the clouds. The hut looks relatively close but it is still quite a way out and the path soon leaves the pastures and gets steep again. Eventually though, 4 hours and 1600 vertical meters later, we were enjoying our beer at Cabane de Tracuit (3256m). The hut is practically new as it was completely rebuilt in 2013 and as such is very fancy. And expensive. 10CHF for a bottle of water… Which is why you should drink beer, it’s cheaper :)
Anyway the clouds were soon blown in and it got really cold fast so there was no stargazing and after dinner we just hit the bunks. Breakfast at 5, then a short hike with the rest of the hut to the edge of the massive Turtmann glacier where we quickly roped up and hit the ice. The night was cold so everything was nicely frozen and they said there was fresh snow above 3300m. Luckily all the big crevasses are at the start so they were clearly visible but it was still adventurous moving around, overtaking the rest of the big groups and trying not to get tangled in. We were soon clear of the main crowd and started the steep ascent up to the summit. The sun caught up when we reached the ridge but it was still cold and there was probably around 15cm of fresh snow up there. 3 hours later we were standing on top of Bishorn (4153m) getting those pictures. Not for long as the wind was just too cold and we quickly started the long descend back down to the hut where we had some coffee, sorted the gear and then reluctantly started the steep walk down.