Saturday August 18, 2012
The Fixed Lines
You can see the Schwarzsee Lift at the very top of the picture.
Snowfield nearing the peak of the Matterhorn
Summit of the Matterhorn
Summit of the Matterhorn, facing east
Gornergrat is in
the middle left side of the picture, and is the only thing not covered
in snow in the picture.
Monte Rosa, the
second highest peak in the Alps after Mt Blanc, is on the right
the second biggest glacier in the Alps after the Aletsch Glacier near
Jungfrau, comes off Monte Rosa into the valley in the center of the
Kent summited the Matterhorn and made it back down to the Schwarzsee lift just before it shut down for the day.
Meanwhile, I arrived in Paris at 9am on the Bora
Bora – Air
Tahiti has so few planes that they name them all.
I flew Air Tahiti from LAX to Paris because I was using American
Airline frequent flier miles, and this was as close as I could get to
Geneva for 'free'.
The Bora Bora
Service on Air Tahiti
was nothing special. After you've finished boarding, they turn
off the luau music and you're on just another mediocre airline.
I smiled ear to ear when I saw my backpack come down the ramp at baggage claim, then got to hike halfway across Paris to the other end of Charles de Gaulle airport for my Air France flight to Geneva. As my plane arrived in Geneva could see Mt Blanc, a large field of white in the distance. It was hard to believe that it takes 4 hours by train to get from Geneva to Chamonix/Mt Blanc. I again smiled ear to ear when I saw my backpack come down the ramp at baggage claim in Geneva. I missed the next train to Zermatt by about 3 minutes, so I rearranged my pack while I waited. It was slightly hazy, but it was a gorgeous sunny Saturday, and it seemed all of Switzerland was sunning themselves along Lake Geneva. I watched the entire lake roll by from the train windows. Eventually the train turned up the Rhone Valley, where you can see the Alps towering overhead on each side of the valley. In Visp the train to Zermatt was a little late and an little crowded. The slow, hour long ride up the valley to Zermatt took forever, as the train waited several times for another train headed downhill. Finally I arrived in Zermatt, found the Hotel Alpenrose, and walked in on Kent just as he was getting in the shower. Kent had missed me at the train station cause my train was about 15 minutes late.
Kent and I had a fine dinner at McDonalds, had a few beers, and eventually I went to find Mike at the train station at 11:30pm. The front desk of the Hotel Alpenrose is not staffed 24x7 (all of Zermatt, including the hotels but excluding the bars, shuts down at about 10pm), and I felt bad about not making arrangements for Mike to get into the building late at night. Somehow I missed Mike (the train was a few minutes early this time), which is really hard to do when the town is nearly empty. I got back to the room at 12:10am, and Mike arrived literally minutes later. Mike had missed getting off his train in Visp, but caught his train at its origin in Brig, so the net effect was he spent his 30 minutes on trains instead of waiting at the station in Visp.
I found the Hotel Alpenrose on Denver Davis hike –
mentioned that it had view of the Matterhorn, so I booked rooms there
well. You can’t see the Matterhorn from
most locations in Zermatt. Our room for
Saturday night faced the river and had a balcony. From
the balcony we could see the Matterhorn,
and the rushing river made sleeping restful.
While it is a 7-10 minute hike from the train station to the
Alpenrose, it is certainly worth it for the views.
I probably wouldn’t feel the same way if the
mountains were shrouded in clouds.
Saturday August 18, 2012