I love hiking through the Alps, but about one year ago I decided that I would also once in my life see the mountain range with the highest mountains on Earth. So I decided to go to Nepal! This time my sister was coming with me.

Nepal is very famous for trekking as it offers the best views of the mountains. We decided to walk the trek to the Annapurna Base Camp which takes about 8-10 days and goes up to 4100m. Hiking in the Himalaya is a great experience! People are very friendly and helpful and the landscape changes almost every day. During our trek we walked through forests with monkeys, crop fields, small villages, bamboo forests.. until we finally reached the glaciers!

But besides the always nice looking photos of the mountains, Nepal also has some sides that you mostly do not see before you have been there. As I have never been to a country outside Europe, I was a bit shocked by the pollution. The country has so much nature to offer but people do not always respect it. Rubbish is thrown out of bus windows and into rivers. Many rivers are full of plastic bottles. Many people burn their rubbish over night which leads to bad smell while you are sleeping. Cars and buses are very old and produce a lot of emissions..

I hope that people will continue visiting Nepal and enjoy the beautiful nature and hopefully the money the tourists spent will be used to improve the situation of the country.

But instead of writing too much, I will show some photos to give an impression of our trip.

Kathmandu

Pokhara

Trekking to Annapurna Base Camp

Chitwan National Park

Today we got up at 4am… It was still dark when we started to Gran Paradiso. There were quite a lot of people which had the same destination today… At the beginning we were quite fast. At about 3700m my feet became quite cold – even if we were moving all the time… Lisa had the same problem. Exactly the same we experienced last year when we climbed the Finsteraarhorn. There we thought it was just because it was terribly cold that morning. This morning was different and still we had cold feet. Probably our shoes have a bad temperature isolation…anyway :) Up to the last 100m going upwards was like taking a walk in the snow :) The glacier was completely covered with snow and everything was frozen. So we had no troubles with crevasses. Also the height we almost didn’t feel. The last 100m were very steep and the panorama to the other side opened. We were able to see the Monte Rosa Massife and the Matterhorn. Unfortunately the summit was quite crowded. At the very top is a Madonna statue located. A quite narrow ridge leads to this statue and all the time people want to go to and away from the Madonna. From the ridge it goes downwards almost vertically…hard to say how far but if one falls down he won’t survive for sure. This was the worst part but we finally made it to the Madonna statue and back :) The descent was very quick and much easier. Meanwhile the sun came out and made the snow  getting soft so that we could partly slide down the way. At 12 o’clock we were back at the hut and enjoyed some pasta. After another hour in the sun we climbed down to a small Rifugio on 2000m. From here we will continue tomorrow :)

We are having breakfast at 5 o'clock in the morning. For me, the night was not that good but Lisa slept well... as always 😉 5 o'clock is not my time... so I am not very hungry. In fact it is hard to eat something... looking back I think the cup of coffee rescued me 😉 Thirty minutes later we are sitting in the shoe room putting on our equipment. In here it is already cold - it gives us a first impression of the temperature outside.

Outside it is still dark. The only light comes from our headlights. Directly behind the Finsteraarhorn Hut the way to the summit begins quite steep. It is a small path leading upwards through boulder and rock. After maybe an hour we arrive at a glacier. There we take a short break. The daylight is already sufficient so that we do not need our headlights any more. From that point we go on the rope, again. We cross the glacier all time upwards until we arrive at the "Frühstücksplatz" (place for breakfast). The Frühstücksplatz is located a couple of meters above the glacier we are comming from.

The path turned back to boulder and rock. We take a break here. The look back opens a beautiful panorama. A strong and cold wind is blowing - but we find a quite nice place. This is the first time I am getting hungry. We take some photos and enjoy the great landscape. Below we can see the Fieschergletscher and the Grünhornlücke where we came from yesterday. The break didn't last long. Due to the cold wind we continue going upwards. Lisa and I we have cold feet what is quite uncomfortable. In turn Martin didn't have any problems... Again, the path leads us to another quite steep glacier. This is the longest of all the ascents. Still on the rope it is going upwards... and upwards and the air is getting thinner and thinner. Finally - I can hardly say how long it has taken - we arrive at the Hugi Sattel (hugi saddle) 4088m above ground. Up here the cold wind is still blowing - even more than before. The water in our camel bag tube is frozen.

From up here we can look down to the other side - and we see the beginning of the ridge which leads all way up to the summit of Finsteraarhorn. Looking up there is a little frightening. It is a steep mixture of ice and rock. Most of the time the way goes a few meters below the ridge - to the right. But still to the right it is going quite steep downwards - I can't say how far. And so we start climbing the ridge. Martin at first, then Lisa and then myself - still on the rope. I can't stop looking down into the abyss. I am feeling very stressed right now - it is a mixture of fear and excitement. After maybe 15 minutes we meet another rope team coming from the summit. Hoping that we are almost at the summit I am asking: "We are almost there, aren't we?". "No, it is still a piece of way to go - maybe 25 minutes." they say. That is not what I wanted to hear. At least the climbing makes my feet come back to life, again. And so we continue further upwards to the summit. Then, suddenly Martin tells me to take the lead of the rope team. It is going downwards for some meters - and then upwards again - and then - after a few more minutes we are there ... on top of the Finsteraarhorn on 4274m above ground. We shake hands and hug each other. The panorama in all directions is awesome. For a few minutes we are forgetting the cold wind and the fact that we have to go all the way down again. We take some photos and enjoy being alive - maybe more than ever before. The sky shines in a deep blue. At the horizon we can see Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn and the Mont Blanc Massiv. Lisa is licking a cereal bar - because it is also frozen...

After some really unforgettable minutes (now sitting here writing it down it feels like a dream) we start descending again. This time I go first, then Lisa and then Martin in the back. Looking down the way we came from I still feel a little nervous. But after some steps all my fear and doubt suddenly goes away. I am feeling quite safe. It is hard to describe that in words - but even standing there right on the ridge looking down hundreds of meters in both directions does not really scare me anymore - I am feeling free for the first time. It seems my brain finally realized that fear does not help in this situation. And so it is almost fun going down the ridge back to the Hugi Sattel. Compared to where we come from the way back down to the Finsteraarhorn Hut is quite simple and relaxing - just the last hour needs caution again. Finally, back at the Finsteraarhorn Hut we are sitting outside in the sun. Below our feet we see the Fieschergletscher. Again we congratulate each other - we made it!

To shorten the time to dinner we decide to solve some crossword puzzles. Now, instead of cold wind the sun burns down on our heads. So we decide to go to our bed after a few minutes. There we try to continue a simple crossword puzzle for one minutes maybe... and then we fall asleep 🙂 We wake up just in time for dinner. This evening we are having soup, salad, indian curry with rice and chicken... and something called Meringue. The weather forecast on TV looks ok for the next morning - but in the afternoon they say there can be some thunderstorms. We go to bed again and fall asleep immediately.

We will meet our guide at about 10:30 at the Jungfraujoch station in the coffee bar. Last year we climbed the summit of Moench together. Our train at Kleine Scheidegg leaves about 9:00 o'clock. So we have enough time for a good breakfast.

We should be hungry - as always 🙂 ... but for some reason our appetite is less than usual. Probably that is due to the excitement which none of us really wants to admit at this point in time. The train to Jungfraujoch is full of people - many tourists from all over the world. There is a television in the train explaining all and everything about the Jungfraujoch in 6 different languages. Some tourists hold their cameras out of the window filming the train slowly going up - even in the tunnels ^^ (I wonder if those people have ever seen a mountain before).

Martin - our guide - is on time. At about 10:45 we leave the Jungfraujoch through a tunnel and stand right in front of the Jungfraufirn. The sky is blue - the sun is shining. It is about 0°C but still the sun is quite warm. The tour is about to start 🙂 One strange thing we both noticed: After meeting Martin in person our excitement completely has gone away - at least for the moment. We rope up and leave the "safe" glacier zone.

Our rope team follow the Jungfraufirm downwards heading to the Konkordia Platz. Martin in front, Lisa in the middle and myself at the back. The upper part of the Jungfraufirn is still covered with snow. Hence, we are not able to see all the crevasses. Here and there we can see wide gaps in the ice. It's hard to imagine that the ice under our feet is up to 900m deep. Some crevasses are so deep - they look like black holes.

After maybe two hours of walking we arrive at the Konkordia Platz - this is the place where several glaciers come together. Far above our heads is the Konkordia Hut. Martin tells us that the ladder which leads up to the hut has to be extended every year by several meters due to the melting of the glaciers. Also today the glacier is melting. The melting water cuts small rivers into the glacier. Sometimes they get so big that it is hard to pass them.

We take a break - in front of us the Konkordia Platz. We are in Europe - in Switzerland - actually in the center of the western civilization. But in each direction we are looking at - we only see ice and rock - and we are alone. Those glaciers and mountains probably have been here for millions of years. And at least the mountains will probably still be here for the next few million years. I am deeply grateful having the chance to see all this.

We continue heading upwards to the Grünhorn Lücke (greenhorn gap). It doesn't look too far away - but that's an illusion. We go upwards all the time passing a few crevasses. After maybe an hour we arrive at the top. From up here we can already guess where the Finsteraarhorn Hut is located - our destination for today. However, it is hard to see it because it has more or less the same colour than the surrounding rock. After another 1.5 hours walking over the Fieschergletscher we finally arrive at the Finsteraarhorn Hut.

It is just 5pm. Rest of the day we are waiting for the dinner 🙂 - at least up to now we both still have a great appetite. To shorten the time we prepare everything for tomorrow - the "big" day. The plan is to get up at 5am and leave about 5:30am. We dry our clothes and shoes in the sun in front of the hut. Dinner is at 6pm. This evening the dairyman serves four courses: soup, salad, ... and mixed fruit as dessert. We eat up everything!

A small television mounted at the ceiling shows the news. In the frolic atmosphere many people talk to each other. But suddenly it is getting quite - the weather forecast in on TV 🙂 It looks very good for tomorrow - sun, almost no clouds, no rain, no thunderstorm. Quite early we go to bed. In the evening we both get a little headache - probably due to the height of 3100m. With lots of impression from this day in mind and too tired to be excited any more we fall asleep.