Europe 2017


Saturday July 29 - Sunday July 30, 2017
El Granada to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, France

The guys had been planning a trip to Europe for nearly a year.  In October 2016 we decided on the timeframe of July 29 - August 11, 2017 for a couple of reasons - Paul couldn't get away in early July cause his company close their fiscal year, and Ray wanted to go to Nashville on August 21 to see the eclipse.  For several months this was going to be a trip where we all met up in the Dolomites for a week.  We'd talked about the Dolomites for years and always wanted to go.  Paul wanted to go to Slovenia or Crotia for a week before the Dolomites.  I wanted to do another Tour de France climb, so I decided to fly into Geneva and out of Venice.

On October 10, 2016 I booked my flights.  For once I had great flights with only a single connection each way.  Unfortunately I was once again burning United miles instead of AA - it is nearly impossible to use AA frequent flier miles.
On November 2 Kent booked his flight to Geneva, arriving about 4 hours before I would.  He eventually booked a return flight back out of Geneva as well to maximize his time climbing Swiss 4000m peaks.
On November 3 Ray booked his flight into and out of Rome.  I was able to find him a return leg that would get him home same day instead of spending the night in DFW, and he was able to switch to that flight with no problems.
On December 2 Ray put down a deposit on a BMW motorcycle rental out of Rome.
On December 9 Paul booked his flight into Rome and out of Venice.

In early 2017 Ray messed up his elbow chopping wood with a hatchet and couldn't climb at all for a while.  He lost all interest in the Dolomites since he couldn't climb and after a long number of alternate plans settled on heading down to see Naples and the Amalfi coast.  Paul had never been south of Rome, so he decided to join Ray.

Saturday July 29 - Sunday July 30, 2017 - El Granada to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, France
Monday July 31, 2017 - Bike up Col du Télégraphe and Col du Galibier
Tuesday August 1, 2017 - Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, France to Martigny, Switzerland for Swiss National Day
Wednesday August 2, 2017 - Breithorn
Thursday August 3, 2017 - Zermatt to Saas Fee
Friday August 4, 2017 - Allalinhorn
Saturday August 5, 2017 - Saas Fee to Andermatt
Sunday August 6, 2017 - Andermatt
Monday August 7, 2017 - bike up Furkapass and Oberalppass
Tuesday August 8, 2017 - Andermatt to Florence
Wednesday August 9, 2017 - Florence to Venice
Thursday August 10, 2017 - Kayak Venice
Friday August 11, 2017 - Venice to El Granada

A little over week prior to our trip Kent realized that his kids were away, his girlfriend was away, and there was nothing going on at work since everyone was at a trade show.  He changed his outbound United frequent flier flight for a reasonable $125 and flew out 6 days early on Sunday July 23, arriving Geneva Monday July 24.

After Kent changed his flight he wouldn't be there to meet me in Geneva. 
A few says later I paid United a $125 change fee to arrive at 740am instead of 1140am to try to get another full day of vacation out of the trip.
(This also got me off an ancient 747 that had zero in-flight entertainment and onto a 777)
I was a little concerned because I couldn't get a seat assignment prior to checkin.
I was hoping for a free upgrade to Economy Plus, but when I checked in a got an aisle in the rear of the plane.

Here's Kent's 2017 trip video

Here's a quick synopsis of Kent's trip before I got to Europe...

Mon July 24 - Kent arrives Geneva, heads to Martigny, it rained off an on
Tue July 25 - Kent woke up 3am...headed to Saas Fee...
His primary goal was to climb Alphubel, then spend night in Mischabel bivouac hut (different that Mischabel hut, which sleeps 120 and serves beer)
His secondary goal was the Lunzspitze Nadelhorn traverse
The temperature was quite chilly in Saas Fee, Kent wished he brought more warm street clothes
Wed July 26 - Kent skated about 10 miles, including down the very steep road to Saas Grund, took bus back up.

Dinner Wednesday night - ate the world's most expensive wings at Chami Stuba in Saas Fee, the same place he and I ate in 2014 and 2015...

Thu July 27 - Kent packs up and starts hiking

Kent hiked up to Mischabel Hut instead of taking the lift that brings you nearly there. 
The hike included a long via ferrata on the way up, a full 4 hour stairmaster workout, way harder than any other hut hikes he'd done.
He hiked up partially cause he wanted to see marmots but kids were chasing them.

Kent wanted to save 40chf so carried food and 4 big beers up
Beers in the hut were only 6 each, he decided this was a strategic mistake..
Nodoby had summitted Nadelhorn that day due to wind.

Fri July 28 - all 10 climbers attempting Nadelhorn left at 4am and stayed relatively close together.  It was very windy, he nearly turned back a number of times.  There were 60mph gusts on the ridge, he had to turtle down to keep from being blown off the mountain!  The summit was hidden in the clouds until the last 100 meters. 

Kent's pic approaching the Nadelhorn summit cross

Kent's pic approaching the Nadelhorn summit cross

Kent was nearly last one back to hut. 
He fell alseep at 7pm back in Saas Fee.

Sat July 29 - Kent woke up at 4am. 
He took the train into Italy to explore Domodossola. 
His hotel ended up having ants in the room. 
He spent his time people watching at bar and watching the Swiss who come across the border to shop for much cheaper groceries in Italy. 
The open air market finished up at 2pm. 

Dinner was food and small beer for 6 euros, spent total of 12 on pizza beer and wine for the day
He got drenched on way back to room since it was nearly 1km from downtown, he couldn't skateboard in rain, and his umbrella got destroyed by the wind.


Saturday July 29 - Sunday July 30, 2017
El Granada to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, France