Kent’s lifelong dream has been to climb the Matterhorn. I've been trying to organize a guy’s trip to Europe for longer than I can remember. So when Kent decided he was ready to buy tickets to Switzerland to do his climb, I was ready as well – by Tuesday, December 13, 2011 both Kent and I had confirmed our tickets using frequent flier miles. The tentative trip plan was for Kent to arrive a few days earlier than me, climb the Matterhorn, then Kent and I would bum around Switzerland for several days, maybe head over to Chamonix, and then end up in Munich to drink some German beer, then head home.
Over Christmas break in 2011, I realized that Chamonix and Zermatt were not that far apart, and started looking into whether there was a way to hike from Zermatt to Chamonix. Turns out there is a famous hike called the Haute Route between these two mountain towns. I half jokingly emailed my friends on New Years Eve, telling them that we should hike it. Kent and Paul had heard of it and wanted to hike it, but both insisted we didn’t have enough time – the Haute Route takes 12-14 days to hike every step of the way. Within 24 hours I was hooked, having read several trip reports online. Turns out most people 'cheat' to save time and make the trip much easier - they hike all the passes, but use buses and trains in the valleys, and take gondolas and funiculars when available. Within a week or so I had bought Kev Reynold’s book to see about the hike. Paul was quickly hooked too, and later in January Paul booked his frequent flier tickets. Now there were three of us.
After spending insane amounts of time reading Kev
book, as well as Rick
Charles and Brian
Davis’ excellent trip reports online,
on Sunday February 12 I eamiled the guys a 6 day hiking route from St Niklaus
ended up using this trip
plan nearly unaltered. Unfortunately the shortened trip meant we
would miss the Europaweg, a scenic two day section that follows the
mountains into Zermatt.
Around February 22, Paul contacted his friend
this hike since she had done it before.
She warned that if we did the hike ‘backward’ from Zermatt to
everyone would give us dirty looks for hiking in the wrong direction. I found this hilarious. (spoiler alert - this never happened to us)
Toward the end of February, Ray finally gave up telling us that he could never go on a vacation for that long, and I found him a frequent flier flight. Now there were four of us.
By the end of March, Janice booked a frequent flier flight for Mike. Now there are five of us.
Kent left the US on Tuesday August 14, arriving in
Wednesday morning August 15. He spent a
few hours in Geneva before moving on to Sion, where he visited the
spent the night. Thursday he moved on
to Zermatt. Friday he took the Schwarzsee
the Matterhorn, hiked to the Hörnli Hut, and then climbed on much
higher to check
out the route before spending the night in the Hörnli Hut.
Friday, August 17, both Dusty and Mike boarded planes for Europe.Saturday August 18, 2012 - Kent Climbs the Matterhorn!