A colleague of mine, Felix, suggested we should participate in this year's Rigi Marsch. A hike through the night (start is around 1930) over 50km and 1600m up to Rigi Kulm. It is organized by the Rigi91 club which provides a nicely marked trail (candles!), provisioning stations and first aid and safety services for around a thousand participants. The weather forecast predicted rain and snow down to 900m, despite this being May. Fortunately, it turned out to be wrong. We did have some short rain showers and the coldest 16th of May in 30 years, but the weather was generally beautiful and perfect for a hike like this.
Five of us, Felix, Dominik, Jonas, Konstantin and me set out for the hike directly after work. Spirits were high and we were merrily marching along in a huge queue of people following dirt tracks along the Reuss river. Over time the queue would thin and stretch out over a longer and longer distance. While Dominik and Jonas were charging ahead as a close team from previous desert hiking and joint holiday adventures, Felix, Konstantin and me were strolling at a more leisurely pace. We'd meet up at the checkpoints later.
It's funny how psychology works. The first time I could get a glimpse of our destination, a flashing antenna tower on the top of Mount Rigi, it was so far away, the concept of walking all the way there seemed abstract and non-threatening. When I could see it the next time, 20km later, and it still didn't seem any closer it was a bit discouraging.
At the fourth checkpoint, sometime around 5 in the morning, after walking a Marathon distance of 42km with only 3 short breaks of 10 minutes each and just before starting the ascent proper, Felix and Konstantin gave up and went home. They had self sabotaged in a way and were now experiencing the consequences. Konstantin showed up in a leather jacket and regular leather office slippers. He had not only ruined his shoes by now but also discovered that they are quite unsuitable for a trip like this. Felix on the other hand had bought Diablo3 on launch day a couple of days earlier and hadn't slept properly in a while because of that.
While I had been relatively slow on flat terrain, finally reaching the mountain activated me. I had been seeing Felix and Konstantin off at the checkpoint while Dominik and Jonas went ahead in order to stay warm. I set out to catch up with them and charged past dozens of other tired hikers. I had recovered a bit from the sleepless night, the sun was dawning, providing beautiful vistas and I had found my rhythm on the ascent. Caught up with Dominik and Jonas but kept going and went right past them, waiting for them to arrive at the final checkpoint before the summit. It was here that Jonas had to give up due to another case of self sabotage. His cardiovascular system (Kreislauf?) was giving him trouble because he donated blood a mere two days ago. Not a good idea before an endurance sports event!
So Dominik and me climbed the last couple of kilometers (and height meters!) together. Enjoying fantastic vistas and scenery and trying not to slip and slide too much on the frozen snow trail. We reach the summit around 0715 in morning. A little bit of waiting and the 8 o'clock special cog train gets us back down. Arriving back home I have only very few hours of rest before Anita and Volker come for a visit and a weekend of adventure, but that's for another post...