the most scary walk ever…

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i’m sitting in the saddle spot between mount zindelspitz (to the south) and mount rossalplispitz (to the north). half an hour ago, mrs d, i, and fredi, our friend and [outdoor guide from blue dimension][blued] got here after a climb up from lake wäggital, up through some frozen and snowed over patches — just my luck really: we hired fredi’s services as an outdoor guide to help me get over, past, beyond, and ultimately safely away from those exposed sections of today’s walk, and i had not really banked on having the additional challenge of _iced over_ slopes… anyhow, just getting to the saddle spot was already quite exciting for me — just a couple of meters to the east of where i’m now sitting is: _nothing!_ to be exact: about 1000m (about 3’200ft for you non-metricals) of nothingness, 1000m of straight down nothingness.

yikes.

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the path to zindelspitz is looking ghastly from the point of view of a confessed [acrophobic][] such as myself — that and the 1000m of nothingness right in front of me already had me politely but firmly excuse myself from the expedition to the peak of zindelspitz. so, mrs d and fredi have set off by themselves and i’m waiting for them to return.

having calmed down from my initial panic attack i spend the time trying out my new camera (got the body last monday from [digitec][] and the 28–300mm lense arrived on thursday from [adorama][]): i’m just blown away by the vibration compensation feature which allows me to shoot 300mm at 1/30s!

[digitec]: http://www.digitec.ch/
[adorama]: http://www.adorama.com/

after about 30min a young walker comes down from zindelspitz. watching him it seems to be so easy, so effortless, just like taking a stroll to the station in the morning. sigh. sometimes i wish i had that same non-concerned-ness about exposed places, sometimes i wish that i, too, could just ignore those gaping abysses of nothingness… eventually he passes me and continues up towards the peak of rossalplispitz — which i’m supposed to scale today as well. following his progress i begin to have second thoughts, and third thoughts, and fourth thoughts. in fact, i can’t stop thinking that i must have been bloody raving mad to have agreed to today’s experiment, ropes or no ropes. i briefly entertain the idea of returning back to the lake right away, the memory of the iced slopes and that bit of having to scramble put a stop to it, though. sigh.

after a while i can hear the voices of mrs d and fredi and then see them navigating the chain-secured part and coming back down to me. yet, before i can even voice my concerns i find myself on the ascend to rossalplispitz! gulp!

…and the first part is kind of ok, i manage to persuade myself that that tiny piece of void to my right is not really important. soon it gets steeper and steeper though and the scenery becomes breathtaking — literally so in my case. panic sets in. luckily we have fredi with us, experienced fredi and he helps me take a break, take a deep breath and calm down again, and we try the last 50m scrambling up to the peak. it would have been nice, could i report that it went all swimmingly, but it didn’t. half-way up i get another panic attack and it takes quite a bit of encouragement, patience and even the encouraging words of a young swiss-french lady overtaking me to get me going up again…

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…and i make it! i really make it up to rossalplispitz! it’s an exhilarating experience! the views are fantastic — as is lunch out of the rucksack up here at over 2100m altitude! yes, sure am i concerned about the way down, but i also enjoy being up here and am grateful for fredi’s help and patience (and the encouraging words of that swiss-french lady).

[blued]: http://www.blue-dimension.ch/out/index.shtml
[acrophobic]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrophobia

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after about half an hour we get our kit together — fredi is very kindly going to secure me on my way down and so i’m being “put on a leash” as i call it. the descent of the scramble bit is every bit as frightful as i imagined it to be, but being secured via the rope i manage to get down to where the path is — and then have to manage the final “piece de resistance”, about 50m of narrow path with the aforementioned 1000m of nothingness to my right… with fredi’s help and securing i do manage it and it becomes much easier after that. phew.

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we make our way through rocks, but nothing as scary as what i’ve just put past me. the landscape looks almost alien being slightly covered in snow dust.

at hochfläschen hut we break for a well-deserved coffee — and enjoy the view back (rather impressive 🙂 and chat with a young couple who had passed us on our way down.

a rather exciting walk. would i do it again? hmm…i guess that yes, but not alone 🙂

links:

* [pictures](http://d2h.net/blog/v/dr_who/2008/2008-10-18-rossalplispitz)
* [slideshow](http://d2h.net/blog/v/dr_who/2008/2008-10-18-rossalplispitz/slideshowapplet.html)

goodbye steve

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this morning i learnt that on monday afternoon my very good friend steve wright died after a [motorbike accident in twyford.](http://www.hampshirechronicle.co.uk/news/news/3761170.Twyford_biker_named/)

to say that i’m devastated and sad is an understatement.

all day long pictures of steve keep coming up: our first project together for a UK mobile phone operator, working frantically through the night to get the demo running next morning at 9:00 … steve picking mrs d and me up at the end of our southdowns walk last year and whisking us back out of the rain to warm and friendlz bigpath farm … steve taking care of their cat bramble … steve preparing the BBQ … us having a ridiculously expensive pint of guinness at disneyland paris … seemingly endless and escalating sametime exchanges of more and more ridiculous icons that we each had found on the internet … his two words of german “moin moin” with which he would start all his sametime sessions with me … DVDs with those missed topgear or dr who episodes arriving from the UK … steve taking us on a mini-pub crawl through pubs of hampshire … URLs with links to fantasticly looking new bikes … URLs to ridiculous stuff each of us had found on the internet … our planned trip to the bike exhibition in milano in three weeks, him as the CEO of bigpath enterprise, me as the bigpath enterprise sales director germany and switzerland … his “right!” when he’d just finished something … standing in line at the coffee bar in hursley … his shed full of bikes and bike parts … his wit… his humour … having a laugh with him…

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sigh.

we have lost a very good friend and i miss him terribly. our thoughts are with his family who must miss him even more.

here’s to you, steve! i hope we’ll see each other again some day!