2013-03-10

Vanatsch (2478m) Snowshoe Hike

The third and final day of my SAC snowshoe outing. Again getting up at 5 in the morning to outrun the sun and profit from a frozen crust of snow. We had a clear night and the morning is correspondingly cold and beautiful. Beate is fit again and leading the way.

The path is quite boring initially, following a snow covered backroad along the valley to the Lai da Nalps water reservoir. It does feature one highlight though: a tunnel with stalagmites of ice standing taller than a man in the middle of the road.

Passing the lake, we are on the mountain proper. It is still about 3°C below freezing, but the sun is coming up. The snow has a nicely frozen crust on top and allows for easy walking. The day gets more beautiful by the minute. And by the time we traverse the summit ridge on huge snow cornices we get breathtaking views.

We enjoy a nice long rest and a leisurely summit conversation in the sun. I'm impressed by the breath and depth of the collective mountaineering knowledge and experience shared between the group. They seem to possess encyclopedic knowledge of the alps and their huts. Also been around the world, climbing mountains everywhere.

Vreni, who is in her seventies, cheerily recommends retirement, because it allows spending more time in the mountains. She occasionally does tours with the SAC seniors who threatened to not take her along anymore unless she loads her backpack with rocks. Seriously, this is an impressively fit bunch. It takes me quite a bit of effort to keep up and I think I would have walked way slower on my own.

Crowning finale of a nice tour! Thanks to the gang for having me along!

~20km, ~1400m