Friday, August 20, 2010

Crossing the glacier without equipment

We went to the Alps to see the New Monte Rosa hut, which is almost completely self-efficient in energy and water supply (they say..). Well, when we entered Zermatt, the small car free city for tourism, the office told us it was too dangerous to go there and even stupid to go without crampons. If we had no glacier experiences, we should not do it. We could of course hire a guide and some equipments. Just to be sure, we went to a alpine shop to see if they would say the same, and she told us that it was huge cracks to jump over and "no, no, don't do it". A little bit sad and with a feeling of disappointment, we walked through the small city, saw the very nice Gornergorge canyon with wooden path over the river and just enjoyed to be there in the middle of a mountain area with the old pasture houses combine with new hotels. We found a place to sleep next to a restaurant, and there, over the dinner the owner told us that we could go to Monte Rosa hutte without any equipment at all. "Go with your running shoes, it's al marked out! With three answers, one for and two against, we decided to go there and see it with our own eyes. So next day in the morning, we took the mountain train, from 1600 meter above the sea level to 2900 meter, a difference of 1300 meters in altitude, up to Rotenboden station.

We were very lucky, the weather was perfect for walking. One hour walk at the slopes before we reached the glacier. Matterhorn in one side, glaciers in between all the mountains and the view of Monte Rosa hutte far far away. Alpine birds, an ibex male, two marmots and a lot of hikers.

Picture taken at the cliff of Monte Rosa hut, after the glacier part to show the equipment of others. Lump shoes, crampons, ice hacks, walking poles was the package and mountain trousers and a backpack was obligatory. It might helped some of them at the glacier, but why lump shoes? Although we were light with our "normal shoes" which had a good grip on the ground, and with no walking poles (increases combustion with 40%) and no heavy backpack, we easy overtook some of the older hikers.

Small people and a big glacier. A picture says more than thousand words.. Cracks, yes. Hols, yes. And some creeks to jump over. The way was marked and we could walk at the snowy ground just perfect with running/soft hiking shoes. We were obviously outsiders at the glacier without the "right clothes for hiking". One girl took a lot of pictures of us!, and we got a whole audience when we passed through a group of "glacier people with ice hacks". Strange that this human behavior with status and right reference groups follow us into the middle of the Alps.. Why not talk to us? No, no.. stare, take pictures.. go ahead.

We reached our destination; we saw Monte Rosa hutte close! I was tired and dizzy from the climbing on the cliff (we missed the easy walk), but I have to say that Monte Rosa hut felt like a working place with workers installing new solar panels loudly. We took a look inside and I couldn't see any menu for food, except coca-cola, wine and a liquor list, even if this was marked as a restaurant in the map. They didn't had any drinkable water they told us, so we had to buy 3 liter of bottled water for 20 CHF (~14 €). And I couldn't see where the hostel entree was. Three (!) helicopters came when we were at the mountain. To drive the workers back to town? To give food? bottled water? Ecological building. Sure.. After spending some time with the view, we went back down again. This time, the journey was definitely more important than the goal, even if we didn't know that from the beginning. But to feel the strength of a glacier (even a so-called easy walked one) and to see a so called ecological building should be obligatory for environmentalists, and can now be checked at my list. In my opinion, Monte Rosa-hutte would be more ecological if it wasn't there. Discussion follows..

The feeling of the place goes though bare feet.

Maybe it was stupid to cross a glacier without any equipment, but more stupid to follow dress codes in the middle of nature. We had what we needed really; water, light shoes, clothes for rain and sun, bread and nuts. Only drawback was that we didn't have any sunscreen. The only consequence of a 9 hour day trip over the glacier was very red legs.

Note; this walk is a so-called easy one, and equipment is needed on others or should if this hut is just a fist stop to climb up to the mountains. What I wanted to write about was just the feeling of other people in this amazing landscape. And if I ever do something like this again, it would for sure be dressed in a suit.

1 comment:

  1. awesome photos im jealous looks like a great exsperience adventure


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