Vrenelisgärtli, or Verena’s little garden, Glarus Alps. Hochtouring round two

(snagged from http://bergliteratur.ch/vrenelisgartli/)

This was the last destination, almost two weeks ago now. This is the view from Uetliburg (not mine), and it’s really cool because this is the most prominent mountain from Zurich. It’s part of a huge massive that wraps around the Glarnisch glacier, and has sheer drops on the outer edges of over 2,000m. It was really amazing to be able to see the destination from home, and to be able to see it from work, and point it out and say, that’s the one this weekend. It was also only 1.5 hours by train/bus and 16 francs to get there, compared with 4 hours and 100 francs for the last “hochtour”.

This was my proving trip. Sometimes you do something crazy, something intense, something so hard and cool and challenging and extreme and then…. you can never do it again. Maybe you try, maybe you don’t, who knows, but a lot of times, I feel like I can’t really say “I do this” until I have done it more than once. So, this was my more than once. It was just German boy and I, and we went up on Saturday, came back Sunday, a nice weekend tour. It was a lot more mentally challenging than I expected, and that is saying something. There was all of this personal pressure to do it again and not break down under the physical or mental strain. There was climbing, a lot of climbing, and there were a LOT of height meters to be gained while CARRYING all the high alpine gear ,a first. The path was super beautiful, but really rough to get to hut, 1250 m ( 4,000 feet ), over rough loose rock, narrow trails, sharp cliff faces, and two climbing instances, all with a 11 kg ( 25 pounds ) backpack. I don’t know how hard that sounds to you, but it sounded hard to me, and it was even harder than it sounds. The last trip we just carried the gear one hour, and there were hardly any height meters gained, though true the altitude was higher. We did end up getting to the hut, and even on time though it certainly seemed to take longer.

The place was packed. I mean, an hour and a half from Zurich, anything is guaranteed to be packed, and this definitely was. I haven’t really gotten used to the “communal living but ignore your neighbors” thing. Eating at a big table with 14 people, all of whom you are not supposed to acknowledge or speak to is a challenge for a Canadian. It was elbowy and bumpy and bags were everywhere, and lots of women decided to take sponge baths, naked, in the bathroom sink, but it was warm and kept the bugs out, and I slept better than the first time.

Sunday was tough. It was a tough hike/climb to the hut, and German Boy had implanted some doubts with some stories about people who had died there that past week. I was already worried about how I would do on the climbing sections, the giant climbing part, the whole thing really. It’s surprising how much self doubt can weight your feet, drag your legs, pull at your arms, hold you back in every way. I had so much self doubt, and it mostly centered around the climbing section at the end. I got there, took one look, and said nope, and immediately felt better!

I made some changes to hydration, trying out a camelback thing, seeing if I can forestall the subtle dehydration symptoms: irritability, tiredness, frustration, self doubt. I also have power bars to eat en route. I don’t eat enough, and suffer for it, and hopefully this time will do better with.


About adventuresunplugged

The world is a really cool place. I moved to Zurich almost three years ago to start my PhD, and have really enjoyed the different opportunites living close to the Swiss alps offered. This blog is about some of my adventures, climbing, mountaineering, rock climbing, traveling... life in general! Wow, haven't updated this bad boy in some time! While the above is still true I have gone on to finish the PhD, so that is Dr Unplugged to you. I also have landed a job in Switzerland and will be shortly moving to Geneva. Clearly I have some adventures ahead left to explore with you guys along for company!
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