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Our first mountain higher than 4000m – summit of the Mönch

In 2011 we wanted to go up a mountain that is higher than 4000m. Therefore we sent an e-mail to the Swiss mountaineering school GrindelwaldSports and asked which one would be suitalbe. They suggested that we could go up the Mönch which is 4107m high. We trusted them and so in August we travelled to Grindelwald to go up this mountain. To acclimatize we did a tour to the Gleckstein Hut. When we went back to Grindewald the day before we wanted to go up the Mönch it was rainy and cloudy. But the weather forecast was promising. So after a hot shower at the hostel we re-packed our bags and took the Jungfraujochbahn from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg and from Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch. The train was full with Asian people who took photos all the time! We stopped at Eigergletscher and Eismeer to have a look down the Eiger north face. Unfortunately it was so cloudy that we  could see nothing. It is a bit scary to know that this train goes through such a mountain.

We leave the train at a  tunnel and walk a long time until we are out again. When we leave the tunnel it was very foggy, you could only see the next three metres. We started to walk to the Mönchsjochhütte. At this moment we did not feel that the air was thinner. We felt quite well. After around 45 minutes we arrived at the hut. This was a special one! We have never been on a hut at this height before! The people were all very friendly and the owner of the hut, a woman called Heidi, greeted us when we came in. Now it was snowing outside.. and still very foggy. But inside the hut it was very warm and comfortable. We had something to drink and waited for dinner... Meanwhile a very strong headache started to begin.. and the longer we sat the the worse it became.. When it was time for food we were not hungry! We could not believe it, we had not eaten a lot this day. Then there was a lot food and we could not eat it. Combined with a lot of water it was possbile to eat a bit.. Nevertheless the chocolate pudding was the highlight of the dinner and it was easy to eat - at least now we had something in our stomaches. We continued to drink lots of apple juice and water. On our table sat a British guide and his customer and some people from Switzerland. We had a short chat. They wanted to do the Eiger! And wanted to the Mönch at first and then go up to the Mittelegihut. It seemed as if we were the only people at the hut who had not before been on such high mountains.

We slept ok... the air was quite thin and Carsten woke up every few hours... and I had to go to the toilet for three times because I drunk so much before (the toilet was outside and I think it was around 0 degrees or below..). The next morning the sun was shining and it was the bluest sky we had ever seen! We had breakfast and went outside to enjoy the great view! Only snow, mountains, sunshine and blue sky! What a great day to go up the Mönch! We met our guide at a Swiss flag not far away from the hut. His name was Martin and he was really nice. We immediately started to go up - and it went quite well! We could ascend at a good pace and passed some other people. We had a break after around the half of the ascend and enjoyed the view around! We could see the Aletschgletscher and all the surrounding moutains! What an amazing view! We continued to walk up - sometimes you had to walk on the snow and ice and other times you had to climb up rock. That made the ascend very diversified and interesting. Around 200 metres before the summit a very narrow and steep ridge begins. I think this was the most difficult part of the climb! And not for the body, but for the mind! On both sides it goes down for more than 500 metres and there is only a path as wide as one shoe.. But without looking down too often it was doable 😉 So after only one hour and forty minutes we reached the summit of the Mönch! What a good feeling! We had a short break and the guide explained all the surrounding summits. Because there were many people coming up we decided to go down immediately. We took one last photo and then Carsten had to go in front and lead us down. We felt good and went quickly down. When we were back on the normal path to the Mönchsjochhütte and someone could see us coming down he clapped his hands 🙂 What a good feeling to have done it! We really enjoyed this tour but we were also very happy to be down again. We said good-bye to Martin and went back to the Mönchsjochhütte to have something to drink and eat. Again we were not really hungry but we tried to eat some Gulaschsoup. After that we decided to go down to Grindwald, so we took the train and arrived safely back at the hostel were we cooked an amazing dinner and had a good glas of wine 🙂 This was our first, but definitely not our last mountain above 4000 metres.

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