Berner Oberland ski tour • April 27 - May 2, 2017


Back to the Bernese Oberland, we were joined by a group of friends and family from Duluth, Minnesota. Andy Baertsch was the musterer-in-chief, having done several trips with us over the years with other friends.



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Clockwise from upper left are: Nathan, Hans and Andy Baertsch, John Koski, and Fred Scheer.


Our arrival to the Jungfrau region coincided, as it so often seems to do, with a heavy Spring snowstorm to low elevations. Green pastures briefly turned white again; trees just budding were coated in snow.


As we are wont to do in these situations, we broke out both rope and GPS to descend the crevassed glacier in the fog. Slow progress and a challenge on many levels, it at least allowed us to stay on schedule in hopes of better things later on.


In the mid afternoon, the snow still falling heavily, we arrived at the base of the Konkordia hut's approach stairs.


The following day was spent hut-bound, on crevasse extraction exercises, board games, and once the wind died and the sun appeared, helping to clear the hut terrace of the new fallen snow banks.


By sunset, wow! There's a world out there!


Day three starts with those endless stairs again...


Crossing the Grünhornlücke, we have freshies down the other side!


We took advantage of the great weather to take a lap up the Wyssnollen en route to our next hut.


On top of the Wyssnollen, the views are fabulous.


Some decent snow was found on the way back down.


Day four being also gorgeous, we headed down glacier to the Gross Wannenhorn.


Breaking trail through wind effected new snow.


Again, crystal clear skies. We soaked in the view across to the Finsteraarhorn.


Near the summit of the Gross Wannenhorn.


And another long, exciting glacier descent.


Day five found us once again enveloped in snow and fog. We made our way slowly and laboriously back up over the Grünhornlücke, past the Konkordia hut, and onward to the Hollandia hut.


Long, flat, straight, with not much to see but the tails of the skis in front of us, the journey seemed like it would never end. But of course it always does! The welcome sight of the hut heaving into view.


Grateful to be near a cup of hot cocoa and the end of our day's efforts.


In a pattern that typified this week, the following morning was briefly clear and crisp. We headed up to the Äbeni Flue as early as possible.


Sunrise over Aletsch.


Heading up the glacier toward the Mittaghorn.


And onward as the first rays hit us.


At last on top! Well, on the shoulder just below the top. Time constraints due to incoming weather changes convinced us to ski from here.


Oh, my! Speaks for itself.


Not too shabby.


Deep snow near the hut just starting to get warmed by the intense morning sun.


After a brief stop back at the hut, we descended into the Lötschental as the high clouds thickened. Still great snow! Light and fulffy.


Flat light presented some challenge, but the snow was still fantastic.


Down in the lower reaches, the recent snow helped a great deal.


We were able to ski all the way to the road end, though it took some care and precision as you can see!


In Blatten, we have time for lunch before our bus/train back to Interlaken


Maybe it's the beer blurring our vision! But what a great group, great week in the mountains, full of challenges and rewards. Thanks again Andy and co., here's hoping to ski together again one day!

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