Friday, April 29, 2016

Travel Day. Zermatt to Grindewald

After nearly two full days in Zermatt under cloudy skies and little or no views, I woke up at daybreak hoping to see the Matterhorn only to be disappointed again. I resigned myself to the idea that I would not enjoy the view of that most iconic mountain.

But shortly thereafter the clouds briefly parted to this glorious sight. 

 Mary and I were positively giddy!

Our visit to Zermatt was complete!

At the train station the Swiss military was making preparations for the Patrouille des Glaciers (the PDG) which is a famous ski mountaineering race held every other year, traveling from Zermatt to Verbier along a very similar route to the standard Haute Route.

The race is in some ways similar to our Elk Mountain Grand Traverse except there are about 5,000 racers competing over several waves on two days instead of the 400 or so at the traverse. The course is also a bit longer, has more elevation gain and has huge checkpoint/aid stations run by the military. The winners are superstars in the European mountain sports culture.

We boarded the train to Grindewald. I dig trains!

Nearly all of the trains are electric powered, but some of the switching trains and small freight engines are diesel like this one.

The views along the way out the Matter valley were fine. Note the huge avalanche which had fallen down to the river.

More huge avalanche debris piles alongside a gravel quarry.

and a massive rock slide to boot. This one briefly dammed the river and severed the road and railway lines back in 1991. More info here.

Train travel rocks!

Amazing geology. Check out those folds lower right. Beyond 90 degrees!

Enjoyed lots of waterfalls along the way too.

We arrived in Grindewald to a snowy scene. The view from our chalet.

After our late night out and a solid day of rail travel we were pooped!

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