Jerome in Switzerland 2008

Jerome is on his bi-annual trip to Switzerland for the next 2 weeks. As he sends pics and stories, we post 'em here:

Friday, August 15

Recap (thanks to John's photos)

Our Gang

On the way to Adelboden

On the way to Adelboden

Aletsch Glacier

Balmhorn Hut

Balmhorn Hut

Frudenhorn Hut

Frudenhorn Hut



Kanderfirn Glacier

Kanderfirn Glacier

Hiking up to The Old Man's Nose

Hiking up to The Old Man's Nose

Wildlife - we didn't actually see him, But we know he was there.

Thursday, August 14

Just got back from another great hike to the Kanderfirn Glacier (up at the end of the Gasterntal, elevation 2,400-metres). Great views of the glacier and of the Gasterntal (hidden valley).

John and I hiked up to the Frundenhorn Hut yesterday (elevation 2,562-metres). Great views of the Oescheninesee and the Doldenhorn Glacier. Great Rosti at the hut.

Still can't download my photos, so you'll have to take my word for it that everything is spectacular over here. As a back-up, John will be giving me a CD of all of his photos, just in case mine totally screw up.

The weather has been fantastic - only one rainy day (Tuesday). I went to Frutigen, Reichenbach and Thun that day, via train, to do some shopping and gawking. However, the forecast is for snow tomorrow.

Roger arrives back from Basel tomorrow (with Jan). Big farewell party planned for tomorrow night.

I head back to Zurich on Saturday, arriving home on Sunday. This may be my third time here but it has been every bit as special as the previous 2 trips. Most of my hikes have been over new territory and perhaps just a bit more dangerous than before.


Monday, August 11

Great day yesterday. Headed up the Euchenintal, then up to the Tallisee (2,415-metres). On the way up we stopped at a cheese hut to buy some (you guessed it) cheese for our daily lunch. The lady who was making the cheese invited us in to watch her at work, and gave us a sample of the raw goat cheese she was making. Interesting texture - it squeaked as we ate it - something like curd, but quite different.

Anyway, you'll have to take my word for all of this since I can't download the photos from that damn camera. You may possibly find the camera smacked up against an Alp sometime later this week.

After the Tallisee John and I headed off on our own to climb up "The Old Man's Nose". This is The Old Man, as seen from Chalet Onyx (can you see him - use your imagination. Hint - he's laying down).

We reached the tip of his nose at 6:00 pm (around 1,950-metres). It was a bit of a steep climb. Spectacular views.

We got back down to the Euchenintal at 7:45 and started for Chalet Onyx - the sign read "1 hour, 40 minutes". All that after a 8 ˝ hour tough hike.

Along the way a farmer and two daughters, heading back into Kandersteg, picked us up (get your mind out of the gutter - it's not at all like what you are thinking). We arrived back at Chalet Onyx to a cheery celebration of our safe return and a Raclette supper. How nice.

Today, we headed out for the Aletsch Glacier in the Valais. After an extended train ride through Goppenstein, Brig and the place mentioned in the rail station sigh below, we arrived at the glacier.

The Aletsch Glacier is the longest Glacier in the Alps. It's a half-mile deep, at it's deepest, and flows approximately 200-metres each year (Google it if you need to know more).

Note: Camera is working today

Me, almost smiling.

The Aletsch Glacier

Note people walking across the glacier (circled in red). It gives a bit of perspective on how huge this thing is.

We arrived back home to a lovely meal of Raclette, prepared by Liesel.

We were joined by the folks staying on the ground floor (with the goats), Franz and Connie from Holland.

Sunday, August 10

Other than Duffy, we generally don’t appear in our own photos. Here’s 3 photos forwarded to me from Roger.

This is on the way over to Adelboden.

And me up at Willie’s on the Truttonalp

And this is me……..well, taking a picture of my food in a cheese hut up in the Uschinen.

Saturday, August 09

Stumble once and…………..kerplunk!

John and I headed out on an amazing hike today – the Balmhorn Hut, up in the Gasterntal. Here’s a general idea of our trail. We started at 1,400-metres and the hut is at 1,965- metres. Not a great elevation gain but a real nail biter on the horizontals, walking along a narrow ledge with almost a vertical drop on the outside of the trail. Pleased to report I had no bladder or bowel malfunctions along the way.

Another shot while in progress.

Looking back.

From the hut.

At the hut.

Looking down from the hut.

The obligatory picture of my lunch at the hut.

Honorable mention shot of my beer. Actually, it was apple cider (tasted somewhat like weak vinegar).

Friday, August 08

Went across the Gemmi Pass today – a pass dating back to, at least, 1252 between Kandersteg and Leukerbad. The altitude goes from 1,200-metres (Kandersteg) and tops out at around 2,300-metres, then 1,400-metres after going down into Leukerbad.

I didn’t take many photos since:

a) I already have a ton of photos of the Gemmi Pass
b) My camera is acting up
c) John is taking lots of photos and will give me copies

Here’s a brief look at the roadway leading up to the pass.

And here’s a look at our crew (Roger went back to Basel this morning). (L to R) Mary from Florida, Mary Jane from Saint John, Kathy and John from Kennetcook and Sue from Kennetcook. That’s me behind the camera.

And this is what we we;re eating at the Schwarenbach Inn (hot chocolate & Apricot thing-a-ma-jiggie. ($10.00 per in case Norm asks.)

This is Leukerbad, looking down from the pass. It’s a hot bed of thermal springs (pardon the pun) where people have been flocking for hundreds of years for that magical cure. Note of interest – the thermal springs run under the roadways causing no need for snow plowing in the winter.

A closer look at the mountains in the background. The Matterhorn is in there………………………….somewhere.

Note the clouds in the above photo. I had planned on hiking down the Gemmiweg into Leukerbad (a trail carved into the rock cliff that drops into Leukerbad). I chose not to do it today as the clouds were too thick – too dangerous. The clouds opened up for the above photos but I figured they’d come back in as I was descending………..wrong!!!! The sky cleared up wonderfully after we took the cable car down.

Oh well, I did the trail back in 2006 so I wasn’t totally skunked.

Thursday, August 07

Another amazing day today. No hiking involved. Instead, Roger, Peter & I drove up to visit Willie (Liesel's cousin - Liesel is our hostess here at Chalet Onyx. Willie is a mountain farmer. He lives in the Alps up over Frutigen. His main source of income is from cutting wood. What a memorable visit. This is a part of Switzerland that tourists don't get to see. This is Willie and Peter.

This is the view from Willie's house. The Swiss are well known for their orderliness - note how neat Willie's cow dung heap is.

Roger tells me there's nothing more Swiss than two men, with a map, arguing over which peak is where and which one is higher than the other.

Lunch on Willie's porch - Roger & Peter.

This is Liesel coaxing the goats in for the night - they Sleep on the first floor here at Chalet Onyx.

We went to the Baurenbuffet tonight (Farmer's Buffet). All food was home grown, and prepared, by one of the owners of Hotel Alpina.

Roger at the Baurenbuffet (no comment).

Kathey at the Baurenbuffet (again, no comment).

Wednesday, August 06

This was Wednesday, August 6th. We hiked up to the Doldenhorn Hut (overlooking Kandersteg). Here’s a view of Kandersteg from the hut.

And here’s a view of the Oeschinensee from the hut.

Here’s a photo of a bowl of delicious stew I had for lunch at the hut.

Here’s a photo of the daily special at the hut. I passed (any suggestions of what YOU think it looks like?

We made Rosti for supper back at Chalet Onyx (Roger, assisted by Peter, Mary Jane and me).

The master at work.

The finished product.

The happy diners (L to R) Heinz, John, Sue, Roger, Mary Jane, Peter, Mary, Kathy and Liesel.

Monday, August 04

When we arrived at the Kandersteg train station on Saturday night we discovered a poster on the train station wall announcing the "Swiss Challenge - Bruhm vs Boner". Apparently we're expected to go head to head in a series of Swiss feats of strength. (Roger Boner is my Swiss buddy from Basel - he owns a summer cottage next door). See photo attached.

Great day on Sunday (our first day). Hiked up to the Oescheninsee where Roger bought me my first Swiss 2008 beer. Then we hiked back down into Kandersteg where I bought Roger a beer at the Postli (NOT, at all, his first beer in 2008). There's 8 of us but Roger kinda' hang together.

Today we hiked up the Gasterntal and had lunch in a meadow full of Alpine flowers at the base of the Kanderfirn Glacier. Note to Don - It was, indeed, spectacular but not quite up to our hike up there in 2006 - overcast skies not as good as the blue sky and white clouds we had in 2006.

Tomorrow Jon, Roger and I plan on hiking over to Adelboden, the next valley over. My choice - I had decided I wanted to hike to Adelboden three months ago based solely on the interesting name of the place.


Sunday, August 03

Great sunny day! Went to the Oescheninsee and Roger treated me to my first 2008 Swiss beer. Great hike up and down (1600 metre level - working up slowly). We came down into the village and I treated Roger to a beer.

When we arrived last night we were welcomed by a poster on the train station wall announcing "Swiss Challenge 2008 - Bruhm vs Boner" (for all to see). Apparently we are to have a head to head competition; Roger representing the Swiss flag and me representing the Canadian flag. That's all know.