Switzerland's Pilatus

Where: Swiss Alps
When: July 2007
Partners: Solo

A steinbok

In summer 2007, my mother was moving back to France and so I made arrangements to fly over to Europe for a couple weeks to visit her and see the old country. As it turned out, her move was delayed to a few weeks after I'd be around and so I found myself with tons of time to play tourist. Plans to hit the mountains hard immediately came into being...

I contacted a friend of mine named Glen, who'd be climbing in Europe the whole summer and we made vague plans to meet around Zermatt, perhaps for a climb of Matterhorn. Of course, just prior to leaving the States, DB, who'd be joining me overseas, suffered a knee injury while canyoneering in the San Gabriels and would be unable to do any climbing in the Alps. Furthermore, Glen found out he wouldn't likely make it to Zermatt but would be over in Italy on the other side of the range. Hmmm, hotels already booked, cars already rented, plans already made.

After spending way too long visiting Paris, a dumpy, littered city splattered with graffiti, DB and I finally got to hit the road and bee-lined it directly for Switzerland. And that's when the rain began to fall...

...and the rain fell the entire time we were there (except for a single day, during which I was at least able to climb Breithorn, an easy but stunningly beautiful, glaciated Swiss 4,000-meter peak).

Despite the crappy weather, DB and I stayed a couple days around Lucerne. While there, I hiked up Pilatus in the drizzle. Spotting an ibex through the mist just below the summit, I snapped a couple pictures and continued up to the top.

And the neatest thing happened while I was up there. Although I couldn't see anything but gray fog, I could hear the jingle-jangle of cowbells far down in the valleys below. It was magical.

I spent a few minutes on the top then turned around to jog the trail back down. But I couldn't resist also taking a few minutes to hike up a few of the mountain's other prominent sub-peaks, see, Pilatus is a sprawling mountain that has quite a few sub-peaks that are quite prominent in their own right. I forget what they're called, but even the sub-peaks have names.

Quite an amazing and beautiful place, Pilatus - I only wish I'd had views!