A steep road home

Posted from Holzhäusern, Canton of Zug, Switzerland.

So as I look at the cable car full of tourists coming up I start thinking maybe I should hike down.  There was a sign saying Gimmelwald 4 hours 30 minutes.  It was early, I had the time.


I start down the path (I think some Asian tourists took my picture).  Here is the first sign that I see.


Okay, they are warning about high heels, how terrible could this trail down be.  I look at my feet, not wearing high heels, I’ll be fine. Looking back up I could see the restaurant, rotating around serving a delicious breakfast, not too late to go back.


I look down I can see the trail for a ways but it seems to disappear into a bit of snow.


I look up, the restaurant seems far away.  I don’t really like walking up hill at nearly 10,000 feet (I think I see tourist taking more pictures of me).


I go a bit further.  The trail is gone, the snow is there.  I take a few steps.  Oops, this isn’t snow it’s ice.  But hey, there is a rope to hold onto. I very slowly continue.  It is most treacherous.  I pull out my gloves, not heavy duty rock climbing gloves but nice leather driving gloves.  I grab hold of the rope, I turn around backward and slowly let myself down the icy path.  I try not to think what would happen if I slipped and started to slide.  Yes best not to think about that.


After a 20 minute decent I look back up.  Maybe this wasn’t some of my best thinking.


Finally I make it to the bottom of the snow field.  I’m glad I wasn’t wearing high heels.  I think I might have a few suggestions for the sign maker at the top of the mountain.  I am much relieved.  500 feet decent so far, 4500 feet to go!!


I look up and see the cable car gliding across the sky, I think I can see tourists taking my picture.


I go a bit further and come to this monument to poor Alice Charlotte.  She didn’t make it to the bottom, she was probably wearing high heels.  Maybe they should place this monument at the top of the mountain to help people make good decisions.


But I look around and the views are spectacular.


The path is very steep and rocky.  It goes around a glacial lake with great reflections.


There is just no end to the views.


The path  continues down across the barren mountain.


Occasionally crossing a rock slide area.


Ahead I can see the path as it gets to a ridge and follows along the ridge.


Here the path is easy and not too steep.

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But alas the ridge gets skinnier and skinnier.  The drop offs on each side are quiet steep.

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Finally I get to the end of the ridge.  There is a side path climbing up to the top with an inviting bench for a rest.

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From here there is a view down to the sleepy village of Gimmelwald, my home.  This is the point that I can see from my front door.  It is high high up and I wanted very much to get to it.  Mission accomplished.

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I sit and enjoy the alps.

I continue on my way.  5.5 hours later and 5000 feet lower I reach home.  I turn around and can see the point of land with the bench (it’s called Bryndli).  An amazing, terrifying, exciting trail.  My legs will hurt for days to come from the amazingly steep decent.  But worth every bit of pain.


6 thoughts on “A steep road home

  1. At first I thought you were going to paraglide down, but this is much worse. Crossing ice fields? Yikes! Where were your crampons? You should check out the movie North Face, another tale of climbing in the Alps.

  2. Wow, nice report. Your reports have made me put this place on the top of my list of places to visit. Unreal! Also, I went for a hike with a friend today who has been there on 3 occasions. He said it is one of the most beautiful places he’s ever been. And he’s been everywhere.

  3. Steven,
    John here. Incredible. I was both stirred and shaken. As 007, you have completed the same descent as the earlier Bond, James Bond, had skied down those incredible black diamond slopes to the village below, thus evading all those pesky evil tourists. Do you get a discount for only riding the lift one way up? Of course you had elegant driving gloves, all the better to race away in your Aston Martin. Well done, sir.

    • John you are hilarious and have an excellent memory of the movie. At the top was a show about 007. It showed some of those ski scenes. It was pretty fun watching 1960’s skiing.

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