The Alpinists

Push The Limits

The search for adventure that takes us to our limits is deeply ingrained in our passion for the mountains. It comes naturally to us and calls, tempts and wants to be put to the test. With our project “Push The Limits” we wanted to leave our comfort zone, pushing beyond our limits in the rough mountain landscapes. Discovering new territory, hiking long distances, deepening friendships and getting in tune with nature. On their trip through Valais, Fabio, Jannis, Joni and Marco wanted to find out where their limits truly lie. 

On the first day, we met our mountain guide in Verbier. He asked us if we were sure about taking so much luggage on the route. We underestimated how tough it was really going to be and said it wouldn’t be a problem. So we set off for the first hut. We actually felt that we were carrying about 20kg of luggage on our backs, but kept on going, one step after another. As we closed in on the hut, the weather turned for the worse with a thunder and hail approaching in the distance. With only a couple more kilometres to go, we got hailed on and lightening strikes seemed to barely miss us as we ran the last bit to the hut. Arriving at the Cabane de Chanrion we fall into each other’s arms, overjoyed to have weathered the storm and put our first day behind us. We enjoyed a well-deserved beer and watched as it began to snow outside.

On the second day, we had hoped to have a sunrise. Unfortunately our hike to the Otemma glacier began in the fog. Eventually the sun finally showed itself and was here to stay for the rest of the day. On the glacier, we then roped up so that we could safely navigate this huge and slow flow of ice. The higher we got, the more snow there was on our way to the Cabane des Vignettes. The midday sun felt more intense with every step and it was getting quite warm. The snow was getting very soft, so we had to tackle risky sections quite quickly. These were the moment we began reaching our limits for the first time. An empty stomach, blazing sun and all the fast running raised our pulse intensely. So we arrived at the hut exhausted and hungry, immediately ordering a Rösti, deliciously replenishing our energy levels. We enjoyed the magnificent view of mighty mountains and glaciers. For sunset, we climbed up to a rocky viewpoint behind the hut. Thick fog had spread below us and the sunset was quite surreal. The mountains were glowing surrounded by glowing red mist. The conditions were absolutely perfect. We went to bed happy, content and tired. It was a quick nap though, as the ideal conditions to photograph the Milky Way lured us out of bed again. Because of the low light pollution, it was easy to spot with the naked eye. SD cards full of astro photos we slipped back into bed with another intense day awaiting us in the morning.

The alarm clock rang very early on the third morning. We knew that this and the following day would be the hardest. We packed our backpacks and started walking with crampons. The snow on the glacier had frozen and was perfect to walk on. Our hike took us up to the Col de L’Evêque where we enjoyed a magnificent view. Then we slid down a few snowfields and hiked to Plan Bertol. After a lunch break, it was time to get serious again. 700 metres of altitude were still ahead of us. One steep snowfield and three iron ladders later, we reached the Cabane de Bertol and enjoyed the view of the Matterhorn. The weather in the evening deteriorated again. A few flashes of lightning lit up dusk covered landscape. In fact, there was a little fresh snow once again.

On the fourth day, our alarm clock rang earlier than on any other day, at 3:30 am to be specific. We were the first group to leave the hut. It snowed overnight and it was very cold. We had to climb down some the frozen ladders again to get to the glacier. Then we set off in a hurry, as we wanted to be on Tête Blanche for the beautiful morning light. Around two hours later, the sun rose and warmed the landscape as well as our hearts. Soon we were standing on the Col de la Tête Blanche, where we could marvel at the Matterhorn and many other 4000-metre peaks. We took a quick photo and set off for the last stretch. At the top, we enjoyed the fantastic view of the freshly snow-covered mountains. Gathering out strengths, we pushed on through the cold wind on the summit. We then walked down the glacier with a constant view of the Matterhorn and the Dent d’Herens. In some parts we had to complete some exciting climbing passages which were an interesting change of pace. At this stage we could feel every muscle in our body ache as we had been on our feet for so long. At the end there was one more climb left, which led us to the Schönbielhütte. There we enjoyed the sun and some much-needed rest. The hardest day was over and we were exhausted but overjoyed. We enjoyed a delicious dinner in the hut and took pictures of the sunset as always.

One last time, the ringtone of our mobile phones woke us from our sleep. Today was the last stage, “just” taking us down to Zermatt. But after so many demanding days, this was tougher than expected. However, the landscape was so beautiful that we forgot all the exertion and our aching muscles. We passed the small mountain village of Zmutt and then walked all the way down into the Mattertal. Meanwhile, we reflected together on the days we had experienced and discussed our personal highlights. Then finally, 65km and countless metres of altitude later, we had made it. We had arrived in Zermatt! We all agreed that this was a trip not to be forgotten.

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