As the world trembles

I haven’t written for a while. And even though I am really longing for it, the moment I sit myself down in front of a blank page, a feeling of immense tiredness overcomes me. I wanna play with words, but I am to tired to play. I wanna create beauty, but the grief is much more present (which can be beauty too, I am aware of that). So many things going on, so many roads to travel, so many books to read and write and yet it seems like I can’t find the starting line.

I want to plan hikes and I want to hike in the Sierra and in the desert and I want it to be summer already but there is no way to around winter, no way around surgery, the big dark monster slowly creeping up on me.

There are so many things I wanna do and start, yet this monster forces me to stop, to take a break in a phase of my life where I don’t really want to stand still, where I wanna create, bring my gift to the world and be of service. Of course I know this darkness is gonna inform me, is gonna be woven into my story, will become a part of my service. The beast will dance with the beauty and when I come out on the other side of the mountain I will carry a bit of gold in my small hands. But for now, to be honest, I am fucking scared. That’s how it is. Continue reading

Unesco Höhenweg Bettmerhorn – Eggishorn / Eggishorn Via Ferrata

aletsch01As I had never seen the Aletsch Glacier (the longest glacier in the Alps) before (unlike Roots, who has climbed almost all of the 4000ers around and has spend a few nights on the Glacier), we decided the glacier should be next on our “to visit” list.

We only had one day left in Switzerland so we took the cable cars up to Riederalp (We got a day pass for 45€ each…damn). If you only wanna hike the Unesco Höhenweg /Unesco High Route you can take the cable cars up to Bettmeralp, but we thought that’d be too short of a hike and we wanted to stay up on the rim as long as possible. So we started our hike at Riederalp, hiked till Bettmeralp and then got on the Unesco Höhenweg.

The Unesco Höhenweg between Bettmerhorn and Eggishorn is considered an Alpine Route. It do is quite exposed and it involves some scrambling and climbing, yet for us it wasn’t really “alpine” (as in “alpine glacier crossing crampons and ropes and stuff”). It’s a fun hike with incredible beautiful views on the Aletsch Glacier, the Jungfrau Massiv, the Rhone Valley and the Wallis Alps. Definitely worth it, even if I’d rather have stayed a few more days and climbed some of the mountains around.

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Dayhiking around Zermatt: Täschalp – Leisee – Täschalp

taschalp19Hiking close to Zermatt normally is expensive. I don’t like expensive. Zermatt is car-free, which I do think is not the baddest thing, however… It’s a moneymaking machine… It doesn’t feel like all the efforts made are about the environment but much more about making as much money as possible. They even call it “Matterhorn paradise” for the tons of tourists that take the cable cars up to Sunnega and the Görnergrat. Feels a bit like Disneyland. I don’t like Disneyland either.

Anyway, we found a way around the moneymaking machine and had a wonderful dayhike with great views on the Matterhorn, away from all the so called paradises and crowds in never worn urban outdoor clothes.

In Täsch you normally have to park your car in one of the big parking buildings and then take the shuttle to Zermatt. We decided not to do that, instead drive up to Täschalp and start hiking from there. Täschalp is a small “village” where the cows roam freely. Continue reading

Sardinia: Raw and wild and beautiful!

sardinia28My little brother Ruben who used to say “I’ll never get married” got married. He happens to live in Sardinia, in a beautiful traditional village called “Ulassai”. He and his wife, together with 4 friends, have turned their dream into reality. They bought a big old house in the centre of Ulassai, worked their asses off and opened a climbers hostel called “Nannai climbing home“, additional to bolting tons of new routes in the rocks around Ulassai. Man I tell you it’s paradise! Sun, climbing, beautiful but affordable rooms, good company and only half an hour drive to the turquoise colored mediterranean sea, where you can hang your hammock between some pine trees and let your soul float.  Continue reading

5 symbolic miles along the Pacific Crest Trail

June 9th-10th 2016: Tuolumne Meadows – Glen Aulin – Tuolumne Meadows

grandcanyontozion525Tuolumne o Tuolumne. All the memories. So much won. So much lost. I push away the nostalgia and try to see the place as just a place with trees and rocks. Still it are the same trees and rocks who have been silent witnesses of the woman I was 3 years ago, of the night in August 2013 around the fire and the friendships that were born. Tuolumne o Tuolumne. This time the river is high and roars like a wild creature, and once again the place is a witness of who I am.

We leave camp at 8:30 am. Sleeping in feels like heaven. Time to hike 5 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. 5 symbolic miles. The journey will never be over. I’m not sad. No. Rather I just enjoy the beauty and power of the roaring Tuolumne River, the Sierra scenery, the rocks and mountains and pines. The crazy waterfalls. They will all be here when I am ready to return. Continue reading

North Dome and Yosemite Falls

June 6th 2016: North Dome – Upper Yosemite Falls – Lower Yosemite Falls – Yosemite Valley

grandcanyontozion513We only leave at 7am. I need time. But then a hummingbird flies by and tells me everything is ok. Hummingbirds always are a good sign.

We cruise all the way to Upper Yosemite Falls. It’s such an easy trail. But then I crash. I am so tired, so spent. Not just my body, mostly my mind. The night has taken it’s toll. My motivation is zero. I don’t wanna continue to the top of El Cap. I wanna go down and sleep. I just wanna sleep. So we head down 3000 feet / 1000 meter and it takes all of my concentration to not slip on the steep trail down along Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls. By 1 pm we’re down and we can only shake our heads over the people who wanna start hiking up this late, in this heat. They’re not even .5 miles in and they are already breathing heavily and their heads have to color of overripe tomatoes. “We should come sit here in the afternoon, ” I say to HQ “at the side of the trail, drinking coffee and eating ice cream and laughing about the stupidity of the human race.” It’s ridiculous really. (Ya I know I’m a bitch, I know they are at least spending time outside, and at least they are hiking, so I do not entirely mean what I say, but still… maybe a little.) Continue reading

Hiking up North Dome

June 5th 2016: Backpackers Camp Yosemite Valley – North Dome

IMG_4404I wake up in the middle of the night. HQ is sitting upright with his headlamp on. “What’s going on?” I ask. “I heard something! I think there’s a mouse in our pack!” He looks but he can’t find any mice. So he pops his head out of the tent and he sees a raccoon pulling out a bag out of someones backpack. He tries to scare Raccoon away by yelling at him but Raccoon is not impressed. It’s only when HQ gets out of the tent and claps in his hands that Raccoon takes off. HQ puts the backpack some fucker left outside in the bear lockers. 3 Young guys came to camp late yesterday (I was half asleep already) and didn’t even bother to put away their packs and food. Assholes. Here’s to keeping the bears and other wildlife safe. These morons don’t get that it’s not about us humans, nor about the holes in our packs or the lost food. It’s about animals becoming “unwild” and getting dangerous because they want human food, and then they need to be relocated or even killed. Some people just don’t to give a fuck. Continue reading

Time to return to Yosemite Valley

June 4th 2016: Mammoth Lakes – Drive to Yosemite Valley

grandcanyontozion504After finishing our hike in Zion we hitch to Las Vegas (2 awesome ladies take us all the way, straight to the rental car center at the airport), pick up a tiny rental car and drive towards the Sierra.

We organize our food before we head over to the forest service visitor center in Mammoth, where we meet Jaxx who has bearcans for us. Awesome! Thanks so much Jaxx, you frikkin rock!!!

It’s a long but beautiful drive down into the Valley. So much more snow than last year. On the way we see a bear mom with her cub. Sweeet! When we are in the valley things get crazy cause it’s saturday and its FULL of tourists. Thank god we get a backcountry permit from a tired but friendly ranger (The ranger next to him is testing two JMTers to the bone). Seems like he knows that we practice LNT and have spend many many nights in the backcountry. Anyway, we park our car and take the shuttle to the backpackers camp. Definitely a wrong decision on a saturday, the shuttle is over over full, we’re like sardines squeezed in and it takes the bus ages to get to the stables.  Continue reading

Grand Canyon to Zion – Day 14: Zion!!!

May 31st 2016: Checkerboard Mesa – Zion Watchman Campground, 13,5 miles 

IMG_4268It’s a good thing we didn’t continue hiking yesterday evening. We wouldn’t have seen the beauty out of exhaustion. And boy it’s so beautiful here. We make our way (slowly cause there still ain’t no decent trail) around Checkerboard mesa and meet family Bighorn again. Ha! Abbey is right. You can’t see a thing from a car. People passing by, getting out of their car, taking pics at view points have no idea what the back of Checkerboard looks like, have no idea there’s a Bighorn family living there, that the East Virgin River is flowing way back there… Not a clue (but hey what do I know?)! We reach the street and walk to the East Rim Trailhead where we have burried a cache with water and coke and shower tokens. It feels like treasure hunting.

We cruise on the East rim and the miles fly by. It’s only at the end that the people, ya you might call it “masses”, start coming, puffing their way up, red headed like tomatoes. The scenery is beautiful (so ya I get it why people drag their asses up here)! O those red walls towering high over our heads.   Continue reading

Grand Canyon to Zion – Day 13: A slot canyon with thunderstorms above

May 30th 2016: Broad Hollow – Checkerboard Mesa / Zion National Park, no idea about the miles

grandcanyontozion494I sleep well and we get going at 5:30, hoping to make the most of the day before the heat comes. We always make the best miles in the morning. We continue to walk on sand for a mile or two till we have to leave broad hollow and go cross country to rejoin with the original Hayduke route. It takes us a while till we find the right route (there are so many sand tracks here that are on no fuckin map). But we find it and walk too far on it and eventually just go cross country to get down rock canyon. It’s a bit of a search to find a good way down to the East Virgin river  and holy moly I didn’t expect this beauty! We are gonna be wading through the river for the next 4 to 5 miles. Our own personal Narrows. Not meeting a single person the whole day (ya that’s heaven to me!)!

But then dark clouds come over and we hear the thunder rolling in the sky. We hope it will just pass by but o no the thunderclouds decide to just stay there. Both HQ and I think “damn”! A thunderstorm sure isn’t the safest weather condition to be hiking through a river in a canyon for miles. Flashfloods are nothing to fool around with. So we only eat a quick snack and pull through the river section without a break. Raw beauty with thunder above. It’s thrilling and scary and beautiful at the same time. Continue reading