Rigi Marsch 2015

As has become a tradition I signed up for this year's Rigi Marsch again. The annual hike through the night starts in the village of Bremgarten and finishes 50km and 1500m elevation gain later on Mt Rigi.

Bruno, Ramona, Christian, Birgit, Ronny, Michal

This was the most successful Rigi Marsch yet by number of sign ups - more than 2100 people participated. The queues at the start were even longer than usual so our start was delayed by an hour until half past eight. I managed to recruit a whole bunch of people to join me this time around. Ronny and Birgit from Stuttgart, Christian, Bruno, Ramona, Michal and I formed the core group. Tim, Ilya and Sergey followed my invitation but we failed to meet until the finish line. Pawel easily won the trophy for most hardcore of our group. He ran (!) the entire thing. You can picture this as running a marathon (through the night) as warm up and then climbing a mountain. He started later than the rest of us, stopped briefly along the trail for a chat with me, and then proceeded to reach the summit a full three hours before everybody else. Impressive performance!

Pawel. He was too fast for a non-blurry photo ;-)
...and Christian at the Rotkreuz supply stop early in the morning.

This had already been a very intense week for me so far, with 19 pitches of climbing on Sunday, 3 hours in the climbing gym on Monday (a 6c on sight and 7a on top rope, yeah!), 1 hour "advanced physiotherapy" in the Google gym on Tuesday, 70km of biking in between and now the Rigi Marsch on Wednesday. I mention this because I got a Fitbit tracker recently. It monitors your heart rate, number of steps in a day and number of floors climbed. It also has a social component that is meant to motivate you by comparing your steps to those of your friends. I managed to trick everyone into signing up for the "workweek hustle" where the person with the highest number of steps in a week wins a badge. When they realized this was the week of the Rigi Marsch it was already too late... muahahaha! Easy win ;-)

Lake Lucerne and Mt Pilatus.
So close! And already daylight again.

We had a severe weather warning but got extremely lucky. You could see lightning in billowing clouds all around us, but no rain or bad weather ever reached us. Instead we got an impressive natural light show and warm gusts of wind. In fact, it stayed freakishly warm enough that you were comfortable in a t-shirt all night long.

Our ride back down.

Except for endurance monster Pawel, who got there at 6, and Bruno and Ramona, who had to bail because of a bad hip, everyone reached the summit around 9 in the morning. Good times in great company! Congratulations especially to the first timers who didn't know what to expect and still put up a good fight. I hope we'll meet again next year!

Summit shot.

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