Switzerland 2012


Saturday August 18, 2012
Kent Climbs the Matterhorn!

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 Reynold’s 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 to Chamonix.  We 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 Alissa about this hike since she had done it before.  She warned that if we did the hike ‘backward’ from Zermatt to Chamonix, 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 Geneva Wednesday morning August 15.  He spent a few hours in Geneva before moving on to Sion, where he visited the castles and spent the night.  Thursday he moved on to Zermatt.  Friday he took the Schwarzsee lift up 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!
Sunday August 19, 2012 - Zermatt
Monday August 20, 2012 - St Niklaus to Gruben
Tuesday August 21, 2012 - Gruben to Grimentz via Tignousa and St Luc
Wednesday August 22, 2012 - Grimentz to Les Haudères via La Sage
Thursday August 23, 2012 - Les Haudères to Cabane de Prafleuri
Friday August 24, 2012 - Cabane de Prafleuri to Bern
Saturday August 25, 2012 - Bern to Colmar
Sunday August 26, 2012 - Colmar, Eguisheim, and Munich
Monday August 27, 2012 - Munich
Tuesday August 28, 2012 - Munich
Wednesday August 29, 2012 - Munich to home


Saturday August 18, 2012
Kent Climbs the Matterhorn!