Swiss passes

Leonie and I headed to Zernez in Switzerland for the weekend.

On Saturday we rode Albula Pass then Flüela Pass going through Davos on the way.

On Sunday we headed across the border to Italy and rode Forcola di Livigno followed by the Bernina pass.

The weather was horribly cold on Saturday with just 6 degrees at the top of the Flüela pass. It was a little warmer on Sunday. The routes were quite nice but there was quite a lot of traffic.

Indianer via Ferrata

Leonie and I went and checked out the Indianer via Ferrata in Netstal, Switzerland. It’s a fairly short C rated route with some nice things like a tunnel through the rock, a tower, and a flying fox (zip line). It’s a 15 minutes walk to the start of the route from the road. There’s also a couple of sport climbing routes at the start.

The route ascends for maybe 15 m/20 m and then there is a telephone stuck to the rock. Interesting…

Following this you climb through a tunnel in the rock and then ascend steeply again. Another ascent and you’re standing on a tower of rock with the Swiss flag. From there, there is a bit of a scramble down and around one side of the tower to a “flying fox”/”zip line” or whatever the internationally accepted English word for this is. Leonie found this section a little unpleasant but I think she was pleased to have done it all the same.

According to The Internet the next section was supposed to be a little more difficult. Leonie opted to take the emergency exit, an option that took her quickly to the end of the via ferrata. After taking this option with her I returned and finished the rest of the normal route. It was a little more difficult but not too bad. I think it would feel a bit sustained for people who don’t regularly go sport climbing. The last section was very slightly overhanging and required some arms.

From the top we followed the path back down to the car park below. A very nice via ferrata. Well worth doing.

View from below (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Walking to the start (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Leonie staying connected (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above left: The via ferrata starts on the left hand side behind the tower, climbs up onto the tower, crosses to the main rock and then traverses around to the flat rightwards facing slab before ascending to the top. Above middle: It’s about a 15 minute walk from the road to the start of the via ferrata. Above right: Leonie tested the telephone about 20 metres into the climb. It seemed to be out of order.

Climbing through the hole (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Leonie looks up (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Leonie waiting below (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above (1): Just after the telephone there is a climb through a tunnel in the rock. Above (2): Then it heads up again. Above (3): Leonie waited as I went up to inspect.

Leonie climbing (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above: I belayed Leonie on parts to keep her feeling safe-ish.

View towards the mountains (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)View across to Leonie (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Posing guys (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Leonie puts on her happy face (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above (1): The view isn’t bad. Above (2): We climbed up onto a tower and then down slightly and around the side of the rock. I was happy to be clipped into the metal rope as it felt quite exposed. We climbed around to a flying fox that Leonie thought looked a bit spooky. It did feel a bit spooky but once I was over the side all was fine. Above (3): Some Swiss guys waited for us on the tower while we sorted ourselves out on the flying fox. Above (4): Leonie didn’t really have such a happy face as she slid across but it was just a short distance across the void.   Climbing on the other side (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Taking the emergency exit 2 (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Notausgang makes for smiles (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Guys in front (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above (1): Leonie looked a bit happier on the other side. Above (2):  The Swiss flag flapped in the breeze as we took the short cut to the end. Above (3): Happy face again. Above (4): I went back down and completed the via feratta following the two Swiss guys.

 Looking down (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)Looking up (Indianer Klettersteig Oct 2016)

Above left: Looking down. Above right: The last section was steep and a little sustained. It probably helps if you’ve been climbing a bit recently. Luckily that was the case.


Leonie, Timo, and I went for a wander up Hundstein (2157 m) near Säntis in the Alpstein massif.

This is what it looked like…

More walking (Hundstein Sept 2016)Leonie beside a lake (Hundstein Sept 2016)View down towards the lake (Hundstein Sept 2016)

Above left: We went for a walk with Timo around the Säntis area (Alpstein Massif) in Switzerland. Above middle: There were lakes and whatnot. Above right: We ended up heading up to Hundstein.

Another nice view (Hundstein Sept 2016)Leonie walk walk (Hundstein Sept 2016)Timo walk walk (Hundstein Sept 2016)

Above left: The views were nice. Above middle: Although scrambly in one part it was quite do-able. We ascended from the Fälensee which is easier than the route up from Widderalp saddle. Above right: Slog, slog, slog.

Taking a rest at the summit (Hundstein Sept 2016)

Above: Proof that we made it to the top.

It took about 8.5 hours from car-to-car with a stop at a hut for a drink.

Hundstein walk September 2016

Above: Here’s a map showing our route.

Humani Trail 2014

Leonie and I hooned down towards Lausanne in Switzerland on Friday night, doubling back and ending up camping near Les  Diablerets where we’d camped a year ago in preparation for the Humani Trail. It’s a running race, and I decided it was the hardest horriblest race I did in 2013. So we were back to see if it was just as nasty as we remembered, or whether it would be knocked from it’s perch by one of the heavy weights like the Highlander, or the Jungfrau, or in Leonie’s case the Inferno.

It was cold on Saturday morning, but once the sun found its way into the valley it turned out to be a delicious Autumn day, much like last year. We trotted off at 10 am. The course had been altered slightly with 2 extra kilometres and another bonus 100 m of elevation added. The course heads down to our camp site to begin with and then heads up into the hills climbing steeply for perhaps 40 minutes, there’s then some running along a ridge before dropping down to a lake where there’s a drinks station but no food. Then it’s back up again and along a very funky ridge with some impressive drops to the highest point of the race. With that the climbing is essentially over but that doesn’t mean the race gets easier. First comes a steep leg-breaking descent and then a run around a lake to the second and last drinks station – this time with some food. During the last 12 km, the course meanders through the hills before dropping steeply to the finish line, with the last 2 km along the flat through forest and then beside a river.

The course is very scenic. There’s great views out to bigger snowy mountains in the distance.

My legs held up better than last year perhaps due to the suffering in this year’s Jungfrau marathon. I tried to get ahead at the start so as not to be boxed in during the steep narrow climb. That seemed to work and I didn’t overtake so many people while climbing compared with last year, so I must have been about right.

Like last year, the course was a big mud-fest. I had my Asics 2140s with not so much profile and was wishing I’d bought a new pair of off-road shoes before the race. It was hard to stay upright in parts and I submersed my shoes often in pools of mud. On the descent to the first lake I ended on my backside in the mud. Mud mud mud.

I stuffed my face at the food station and then hobbled off again. I was slowing down a bit and starting to be overtaken by a few people. I eventually made it to the finish line though. Leonie jogged in not too much later.

Nice race.

The next day we went for a wander in the hills near the camp.


Leonie nearing the finish line (Humani Trail 2014)Leonie just after finishing (Humani Trail 2014)Us after finishing 2 (Humani Trail 2014)

Above left: On Saturday we ran the Humani Trail: 27 km with approximately 1600 m of climbing. The weather was fantastic, the views were great, and the mud was plentiful. Above middle: Despite the race being 2 km longer than last year, with an extra 100 vertical metres, Leonie was 5 minutes faster. Above right: Us after finishing.

View 2 (Walk from Col du Pillon)Cris infront of waterfall (Walk from Col du Pillon)Leonie scrambling (Walk from Col du Pillon)

Above left: On Sunday we went for a wander from Col du Pillion up the valley a wee way. Above middle: We found a couple of waterfalls. Above right: And did some scrambling.

Nice view (Walk from Col du Pillon)

Above: It was a delicious warm, and sunny Autumn day.

Humani Trail 2014 Cris – 03:47:30 – 53/348 (overall) 34th in class
Humani Trail 2014 Leonie – 04:15:04 107/348 (overall) 7th in class

More results here.

Jungfrau Marathon 2014

This year’s Jungfrau Marathon can be nicely summed up in one word… Ouch. Actually that probably sums up the Jungfrau Marathon in 2011. Mega Ouch would be a better way to describe it this year.

Leonie and I headed to Interlaken on Friday night in the rain. Happily it stopped as we arrived and we pitched the tent and crawled inside.

Saturday looked promising – no rain, and a clear sky. We registered and got ready for the race. At the start line we positioned ourselves around the 5:30 mark amongst the 3000 starters. The race began and we jogged off. I was feeling tired from the gun, which was not ideal. Leonie, on the other hand, seemed to be feeling frisky. We ran together for the first 14 km and then I stopped to relieve myself behind a log and that was that. Leonie zoomed off and I didn’t catch up to her until I found her waiting at the finish line.

But anyway, my legs were already ruined after 16 km. My quads were very sore and I was hobbling along. By Lauterbrunnen I began loosing lots of places until the 25 km mark where the course ascends steeply. Without the impact on my legs I was able to ascend quickly as if I were riding a bike, and I must have passed perhaps 100 people. Unfortunately I still hadn’t caught up to Leonie, and I had a glimpse of her ahead as the course double backed on itself after a drinks station – with perhaps a 10 minute lead.

Anyway I hobbled on. It was much flatter again so I began to loose some places although most people were walking by the time we went through Wengen. The 5:30 pace setter kept passing me, then I’d pass him again. Finally we arrived at the last steep narrow ascent. The course splits in two and half the field is directed along a ridge and the other up the side, meeting again 2 km before the finish line. To the right there’s an awesome view of glacial snow below the Jungfrau. The sun was shining and the view was good even if my legs were not.

I passed a bunch of people again on the steep ascent, before hobbling to the finish line on the Kleine Scheidegg below the North face of the Eiger. The gun time was approximately 5 hours 24 minutes as I crossed the line. Leonie was waiting after finishing in a speedy 5 hours 7 minutes. Annoyingly I was 5 minutes slower than last time but considering the lack of training I guess that’s ok.

And now for the excuses. It seems that a season of road cycling isn’t particularly good preparation for a marathon. The impact of the first 25 km of flat running on a mix of tar seal and gravel destroyed my poor soft road cyclist legs. It’s interesting because as soon as it got steep it was more like cycling up a steep hill. Too steep to run so only possible at a fast walk without any of that nasty impact.

I also haven’t done any running since the Inferno and that race doesn’t have that much flat running. Perhaps my legs also had a bit of the Eddy Merckx Classic road race from last weekend still in them too. So all-in-all a far less than optimal training and race plan leading up to the marathon. But that’s ok, considering that, I was quite happy with the result.

My quads were so destroyed I couldn’t bend my legs properly after the race and descending from the finish line was difficult. Leonie showed off by casually bending her legs and grinning. She helped me down and we collected our bags and then hobbled back up to the finish line to take some photos. The Eiger was looking impressive as always. Mönch and Jungfrau were covered in cloud with little enticing bits of snow showing every now and then.

We headed down in the crowded train later back to our camp site.

Interestingly enough my legs were fine when I went for a road ride on Monday, a couple of days after the race. I guess it goes to show that ‘cross-training’ can help but doesn’t replace the real thing.

River next to our campsite before the race (Jungfrau Marathon 2014)Leonie before the race (Jungfrau Marathon 2014)Posing after the race (Jungfrau Marathon 2014)

Above left: It was a nice clear day on race day. A big improvement on the Inferno half marathon this year. Above middle: Leonie kitted herself out with icebreaker top, road cycling arm warmers, head banging black metal on her headphones, buff, and a silly hat. She decided not to run with the bag. Perfect. Above right: I was just able to hobble back up to the finish line after the race for some posing in front of the Eiger North Face.

After the race (Jungfrau Marathon 2014)

Above: Perhaps it was my chin flab that slowed me down. Maybe it had nothing to do with my pansy legs.


Jungfrau Marathon 2014 – 42.195 km / 1829 m vertical, 5:21:48.7, Place 1604 / 3047 Men

Leonie – 5:07:01.03 212 / 943 Women

Jungfrau Marathon Course 2014 Jungfrau Marathon 2014 – Men Jungfrau Marathon 2014 – Women

Map and results above courtesy of Data Sport and Jungfrau Marathon.

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