Three Tours with Fred • May 3 - 9, 2018

Fred Larke came over from Denver to help us finish up our ski touring season. In early May, huts and lifts were beginning to shut down, although the snow was still plentiful and good corn conditions to be had, if one could get the timing right! It turned into quite the driving tour of Switzerland, but we did manage to get some great touring in, in three beautiful locations!

Other tours Fred has done with us over the years:

Other Trips with Fred

Gran Paradiso - April 2017
Berner Oberland - April 2017
Vanoise - March 2015
Ortler - March 2015
Albula - March 2014
Cham & Zermatt, April 2013
Berner Oberland, May 2012
Queyras - February 2011
Chamonix to Zermatt - April 2010
Chamonix to Zermatt - April 2009
Stubai - March 2008
Silvretta - March 2008
Berner Oberland - May 2007
Ortler - April 2006
Chamonix to Zermatt - April 2005

Return to all recent trips
View these photos as a slideshow.


Our first "plan A" was washed out due to a short but intense rainy period. We lost a day, but ended up as the mists cleared, near the Susten Pass, just south of Meiringen. We drove to where the road was barricaded, and began to walk.


Soon enough we were above the dispersing clouds, and back in the snow zone.


Our destination for the night: the Tierbergli hut, baking in the warm spring sunshine.


The following day's objective, the Sustenhorn, at sunset.


Sunset from the hut.


The following morning, we started out very early as the forecast was for even higher temperatures, and the freeze was weak.


Dawn on the glacier.


Other skiers ahead...


The light slowly comes up as we gain elevation.


Despite the forecast of warmth, a chill wind kept us uncomfortable as we neared the summit.


On the top!


On the descent, the snow started out good and frozen, holding body weight.


Pretty good conditions, in fact!


Rewarding our pre-dawn start with firm snow.


Alas, it got fairly sloppy by the end, but still beautiful.


We moved on to Zinal, a village at the end of the road high up in the Anniviers valley. Our goal on this day, the Mountet hut.


The Obergabelhorn looms in the distance as we get up onto the Zinal glacier. Exciting to see it from an unaccustomed side (the normal route is from Zermatt, which is in the valley behind).


Nearing the hut...


And thar she blows!


This happened to be the last night of the ski season for the guardians of this spectacularly situated hut. They closed down behind us as we left the following morning, and descended to the valley for about a month long break before they will re-open in June for the climber crowd.


Another early morning start, the moon rises over the Obergabelhorn.


Dawn breaking on the Pointe de Zinal.


Gaining elevation, the clouds are slow to disperse this morning.


Given the timing of the snow transformation, we opted to make this our high point: the crest of the narrow snow ridge connecting the Zinalrothorn (behind) and the Blanc de Moming.


Looking in the opposite direction, toward the Blanc de Moming.


Our timing was pretty good!


We enjoyed a long stretch of frozen to creamy corn snow.


What follows are just a series of indulging in the views and the great snow.


Savoring it...


And on....


And on...


And On!


Alas, the price to pay was a good hour of trail walking before we were back at the car. But it was worth it!


After another night in town, we started out on our last adventure, again with some dryland walking. Here we start up toward the Saint Bernard monastery and Hospice, at the Grand Saint Bernard pass. The road was in the process of being plowed in the upper part, well melted out in the lower part.


Reaching the monastery and Hospice.


The interior of this ancient building is austere, but artfully lit.


And beautifully appointed.


Someone has a flair for understated decor. Spring's promise foreshadowed in the dining room!


The next morning, the snow had only just lightly frozen on the surface. Warm temperatures and a damp wind greeted us as we headed out.


It was enough to glide however. Our goal, Mont Fourchon in the background here.


Much easier to ski through the avalanche tunnel than to struggle with a traverse of the steep slopes outside!


Heading uphill as the sun warms up.


Near the top.


On the summit!


We hurried down to take advantage of the "sweet spot" before the corn turned to mush.


It was pretty good!


Back to the Hospice, and finally the car. We felt happy to have visited three great locales in this last week of a long, thoroughly enjoyable ski season 2017-18. Thanks to Fred for helping us finish it off with flair!

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