Well December isn't over and I've got a couple snow tours under my belt. We've had lots of snow already this year and the conditions in the mountains are good. The first tour I did was to the Rauflihorn and this weekend Chris, Connie and I made another trip to the Diemtigtal and did the Mariannehubel route. It's a great route and highly recommended. Photos from the tour can be found on my smugmug page.
Isabel and I just returned from a 2 1/2 week vacation in Cambodia and Thailand. We spent 4 nights in Siem Reap which is a touristy town near the Angkor temple complex. The Angkor temples are a must see for any world traveler! From there we flew to Chiang mai to visit Isabel's brother and do some site seeing in the North of Thailand. We also were able to meet up with some old friends who were in Chiang Mai for the Loi Krathong festival, which in Chiang Mai is a huge event that makes the US 4th of July seem pretty tame! Photos from the trip can be found on my smugmug page.
Isabel and I made a small "Tour of Switzerland" over the weekend. We decided to head up to North East Switzerland and check out the Rhein Falls, which are the largest falls in Europe. I was a bit skeptical, but they turned out to be pretty impressive. We spent the night in Schaffhausen and on the way there and back we visited Eglisau, Rheinau and Stein am Rhein, all very nice old villages with interesting architecture. Photos from the trip can be found on my smugmug page.
A friend of mine from work talked me into making a 2 day mountain bike ride with him and a couple of his buddies. The idea was to ride the route of the GRC which is one of the most famous and grueling MTB races in Europe. The official route is 121km (75 miles) long and includes 5400m (17700 ft) of climbing. It was a good thing that I spent some time training for the ride since we took two wrong turns on day 1 and ended up adding 17 Km and at least a few hundred meters extra hill climbing... In the end it was a great ride and highly recommended for fit riders. I have total respect for the crazy guys that race the whole route in one day. As usual I've uploaded photos on my smugmug page
The Daubenhorn klettersteig is supposed to be the biggest and best klettersteig in Switzerland. I've wanted to climb it for a while and on the 22nd I finally got a chance to do it with Bob, Chris and Conny. It's took about 8 hours round trip (5 hours on the klettersteig) and climbs1000m straight up the Daubenhorn. It's a fantastic route and I highly recommend it. Check the photos out here: smugmug page
Isabel and I took a long weekend and camped in the Engelberg region for 4 days. We stayed in Buochs and from there made several biking and hiking trips. Check the photos out here: smugmug page
Isabel and I hiked from below the Iffigen falls to Iffigenhorn and then finished at Iffigenalp. It took us about 5 hours and turned out to be a really nice hike. The Iffigen region is just south of Lenk. Check the photos out here: smugmug page
Four friends of mine from Thun and I headed down to Ticino (southern Switzerland) for a 4 day "guys only" mountain biking/camping weekend. We combined the trip with a night in Locarno watching R.E.M. play an outdoor show. We had a great time and even though some heavy drinking did take place, we did get three good rides in. Here is a link to the photo gallery Boris prepared.
A couple of friends of mine from Interlaken wanted to try a klettersteig, so I lead them up the Gantrisch klettersteig. This klettersteig is a little difficult for beginners, but both Stefan and Diana did great. It's a grade KS-4 (difficult) but it's pretty short and when moving at a good pace takes about an hour to climb (total time from car and back is about 3 to 4 hours). The summit is a nice place to have lunch with great views of the Bernese Oberland. Check the photos out here: smugmug page
Isabel and I spent 3 fantastic weeks vacationing on Hawaii. One week on Oahu, one week on Maui and one week on the Big Island. Check the photos out here: smugmug page
Isabel and I spent our last ski weekend at Engstligenalp. Since I still had the cast on my wrist, I couldn't go snowboarding. Instead I went snowshoeing up to the Tschingellochtighorn. Check the photos out here: smugmug page
Isabel and my next stop is Hawaii! We fly out April 26th and retun May 23rd. Luckily my cast is off since the 23rd!!! By the way, everything went well and my wrist should be good as new in no time.
Bad news... on Saturday (15.03) I broke my wrist snowboarding at the Engstligenalp ski area. No impressive story to tell, just lost an edge and put my hand down in a bad spot. I have a simple fracture of the Radius, which means I only need a cast up to my elbow and I can use my thumb and fingers, but I will have to wear it for 6 weeks. So the snowboard season is officially over for me :-(
Chris and I made a great tour up the well known Hohniesen-2454m in the Diemtigtal region. Visibility was not great, but the snow was so we ready enjoyed the nice long downhill run. Check the photos out here: smugmug page
Chris and I did a tour up the Gummgrat as a backup option. We had planned to do another more difficult peak near Gstaad, but the conditions were too poor. On the Gummgrat is was very warm so snow conditions were not great and the long flat walk in isn't idea for a snowboarder! Check the photos out here: smugmug page
This tour was a short one (about 700m) as my primary intention was to test my new splitboard. A split board is a snowboard that separates into two skis for uphill travel. The trip went pretty well, though I wasn’t able to reach the summit with Chris. I got within 100m of the summit, but couldn’t go father due to the fact that it was very icy and I had neglected to bring crampons. Lesson learned… don’t forget crampons when splitboarding! Splitboards have a couple of advantage’s over snowshoes: 1) in high winds you don’t have a sail strapped to your back, 2) you can carry more equipment since the board is not on your back, 3) in fresh power you’ll make progress much faster than with snowshoes. Snowshoes however are simple and are very efficient in hard, icy conditions. Check the photos out on my smugmug page
I did my 4th snowboard tour of the season with Chris. We climbed the Bunderspitz-2546m (1200m of elevation gain) In good snow conditions, some excellent downhill runs can be made on this hill. Check the photos out on my smugmug page .
Isabel and I, with a group of friends, did a nice snowboard/ski tour to the Elwertaetsch-3200m. Isabel and some of the others are new to ski touring so we chose this route because it's quite short (only 500m climb due to help from nearby ski lifts) and has a nice 1700m run to the bottom. Just outside of the Lauchernalp ski area, this is a great route for beginners or experienced riders. Check the photos out on my smugmug page .
My first entry for 2008 is a snowboard tour up the Schibe. Chris and I made this tour knowing that a storm was on its way. Luckily we made it to the top before the storm arrived. The route requires 1100 meters of climbing and crosses various avalanche risk areas and therefore should be avoided if there is a high avalanche risk in the Berner pre-Alps. Photos of this tour can be viewed on my smugmug page .