The Swiss Finale

The last hut trip of 2014 was a corker. We ended up in a very well visited part of the Valais but managed to avoid the crowds of iPad equipped tourists by being shown some lesser known trails in the area by some local friends. The weather was warm, the trails were dusty, loose and fast and there were smiles all round as we pin-balled down the mountain side over and over again. It felt just like being back in Finale Ligure, just without the sea, ice cream, Italians, communication problems, enthusiastic arm waving and delicious pasta. So, in actual fact, not really at all that similar to Finale, but I needed a title for this post.

After a day of lapping the secret stuff, we checked out the scenic tourist trail alongside the Aletsch Glacier and had the whole valley to ourselves….

The overwhelming presence of the glacier made us feel tiny and insignificant. At 23km, it’s the longest in the Alps and is up to 1km thick, numbers that are hard to fathom. It is difficult to describe the sheer scale and magnificence of this incredible mass of ice and to be riding so close to it has a strange, mesmerising and humbling effect. It was looking good that day with the evening sun painting the huge ridges and valleys on the glacier’s surface with golden light. The texture and appearance changing as the minutes passed away towards sunset. A photographic dream…

The next day we woke to blue skies and excitement for the long descent back down to the valley below. We rode until the lifts closed and our arms could not take any more.

There is a lot of talk of grin inducing trails, perfect weather and take-your-breath-away scenery, but it’s the people you share the experience with that make it what it is and put the icing on the cake. Thanks chaps, you know who you are.