Thursday, July 31, 2014

Col des Verts (2500 m)

I am very disappointed by the weather this year (almost to the point of frustration) but I try not to be held back because of it. And sometimes it is good to go hiking in unobvious conditions because you get to see marvels like the one above.
Our today's destination was proposed by our friend Agnieszka and it's a pass just right by Pointe Percée - a holy graal of hikers around since it's one of the most difficult summits you can claim without specific gear. Well, you will read about Pointe Percée in my posts to come but this time it's about Col des Verts which was actually easy and agreeable.

We started in the clouds, first on soft paths in a valley but then soon through hard rocks and stones. We didn't have much of a view but that would change a bit on our way back.

We quickly reached the refuge and and continued to the right. At some point hope had lightened our hearts as we began to see sunny spells and blue skies patches. Soon the mist cleared completely revealing Pointe Percée and Col des Verts in its full bloom.

As we continued to the top the views became more and more stunning. We left the clouds behind our back and enjoyed the first real sun in some days.

The final part of ascent was pretty technical but short. Radek went first and as he reached the pass before me he shouted with delight. That kept me reassured! And indeed, I also couldn't help but just whisper "wow" when I saw the other side.

We stayed on top a longer while, Radek even went to check out the path to the neighbouring Pointe Percée but capitulated shortly when it turned out it was basically a climbing route. When we started descending the clouds raised a bit and the valley below became a bit blurry but still breath taking.

Since the clouds moved a bit higher we had a chance to see some of the views we missed going up. Lovely...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

007 jump

To do list: 007 bungee jump - check :)
The story dates back to 2010 when I was in Switzerland and heard about the famous James Bond jump for the first time. Do you know GoldenEye movie? In its opening scene 007 agent runs away from villains by making a jump of a dam. That dam is located in Switzerland, close to Locarno and is open for public stunts. I didn't go to jump in 2010 because Radek couldn't join me and we decided this was a moment we wanted to share. So the dream stayed in my head and heart until this day!
Before I continue the story have a look at our jumps:

We decided to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary by making one of our dreams come true... and doing something utterly awesome and crazy. We organised a trip with a couple of other CERN colleagues and set off for adventure!

The jump was crazy, it really was! But we were really happy to do it. It will be one of those experiences that you will never forget and be proud of 'till the rest of your life.
So, 1,2,3, JUMP!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

La Roche Parnal (1986 m)

Is there a better way to celebrate your 6th wedding anniversary than a life threatening experience in mountains? Well, I don't know because I chose the risky way of commemoration... But from the start... I chose la Roche Parnal for our today hike because it was close and not too long and we didn't want to spend the whole day in mountains. As usual, when I saw some nice technical parts of the route I got excited and decided to go for it... Well, that was the first time I have underestimated a mountain. Hopefully my last one!

That's la Roche Parnal as seen from distance. Looks innocent!

The supposedly fun part was Col du Cable - an exposed place equipped with chains and spikes. The spikes were there to put your feet on while crossing the passage. There were a couple of problems though... Firstly, the weather was nasty. It had been raining a lot earlier and everything was wet and muddy making us slide on almost every surface. Secondly, the spikes were not evenly hammered, the distance between them was big and sometimes there were none whatsoever.

It was a rather dramatic venture to cross this passage. One false move and we would find ourselves dangling at the cable with feet down over a 10 m almost vertical slope. Our shoes kept sliding from rocks and spikes because everything was wet so we needed to watch our every step. Fortunately, noone died and it is one of those experience that once you are passed it you are able to laugh at it. Once past Col du Cable we soon reached the summit. A bit of bad luck though, because 5 minutes before reaching the top clouds came in and covered the view entirely for around half an hour.

We didn't wait till the clouds disperse and started walking down. Of course, the clouds dispersed shortly after :) On our way down we encountered lots of wild goats and a groundhog.

We kept moving on a muddy path, trying our best not to fall down. That's Radek balancing on the route.

We soon left the rocky parts behind us and continued on through fields and grazing cows back to the car. Indeed, a very good way to celebrate our anniversary!