Tech meetup on the Roggenstock

So now Christmas is over, the new year 2020 has begun. So it is the deepest winter – at least you should think so. But the view out of the window at an altitude of a little over 1000 m reveals something else: a sad green-brown mixture until about 500 meters further up a really continuous snow cover begins.

We have already experienced some bad winters. In 2017, Marina and Patrick were still able to hike up the Gross Aubrig in the Wägital on 2 January on foot and without any contact with snow. The day after, however, the big snow finally came, while this year, according to the forecast of the weather services, bright sunshine without any precipitation is expected until mid/end of January.

We are accordingly thinking about what we could do. After a very run-intensive year, I’m a little fed up with running (even though Marina feels that she can never get enough of it). Cross-country skiing? Loud laughter in the basement. Ski touring is possible in principle, but in many places the snow conditions are the same: hard old snow, scattered, hard cover, slushy. In any combination. Exactly the dream conditions we are looking for.

On our last holiday day, 5 January, we therefore decide once again to make a tour to our local mountain, the 1778 m high Roggenstock. We take our snowshoes with us and start the still cold and shady winter day with full backpacks directly from the front door.

If you love your snowshoes, carry them…

Over the summer path we quickly gain altitude. Although the path is covered with snow quite quickly, the snow surface is softened during the day due to the permanent cold/warm change and at night it is frozen hard as a rock.

We stumble upwards over this ground more or less elegantly, while it is still very cold due to the west side shadow of the Roggenstock. Marina’s hands are cold, as often, but after half an hour of brisk walking, it gives itself.

We have now reached an altitude of almost 1500 meters. Still our snowshoes are relaxing on our backpack. Due to good footprints in the snow we simply don’t need them at all. That doesn’t change when we walk towards the winter “key spot” of the Roggenstock and after a few steeper meters we finally reach the warming sun. Behind us another hiker is stomping up the mountain, otherwise it is very quiet and nobody is to be seen. Compared to the hustle and bustle that is often to be found on the Roggenstock during the high winter, this is very relaxing.

Wind, snow and sun create a mystical atmosphere just before the tree line.

In bright sunshine we reach the summit after a good hour of ascent. Snowshoes? Nope. But the main thing is that we carried them up here. Someone was even brave enough to ski up to the summit – well. It can be done.

An introduction to amateur radio

At the summit our “pursuer” marches straight past us and immediately unpacks his radio. We, on the other hand, let our photo drone take off for the first time – at first with a somewhat queasy feeling, but soon we trust the still unfamiliar technology and try to get some good shots. Twice we hear helicopter noises over the mountains. Fearful looks – we logically want to avoid getting in the way of a helicopter in any case. But Marina gives the all-clear, we are several kilometres away from the airline with our drone buzzing in sight.

While I am busy with joysticks and photo/video modes, Marina gets into the amateur radio business and talks to the other man. In an exciting and nice conversation we learn a lot about radio technologies and how and with whom he is currently on the radio. And also that the communication between the drone and the controller has probably partly interfered. Whoops… 🤭

If I were a little birdie...

While we eat something, we talk for some time with Christian, who according to his own words is so excited that he is allowed to radio that he has not drunk anything since he came to the summit. It is a very relaxed break and we enjoy the pleasant conversation before we start our way back.

Snowshoe sherpas

From the summit we descend again via our ascent route. Not even here, where now the sun has shone a little bit on the snow and I would have expected rather softer conditions, we have to use the snowshoes. In January with snow on foot on the Roggenstock – I never had that in all the years before.

In the ski resort Hoch-Ybrig there is an energy-intensive hustle and bustle and it is packed, while on our hike without car, train, lifts or prepared slopes we can enjoy the wonderful feeling of having done and accomplished something. So we start to think about what attracts so many people to this expensive, crowded and somehow very consumption-oriented ski circus. We can’t find a convincing answer.

Shadow play.

The upper part is even good for skiing, but the lower two thirds of the route would definitely have to be carried. But that doesn’t have to be the case. In any case, we don’t regret that we didn’t make a frantic attempt to use the skis, which are definitely more popular than snowshoes.

On the descent we see two more snowshoe walkers, who are obviously heading towards the Adlerhorst. But apart from that we don’t meet a single soul when we tackle the remaining altitude difference down to Oberiberg. In the shady part before the village we have to be careful again not to slip on the road which is still covered with hoarfrost. But we arrive at the bottom with intact skin and dive back into the sunny village to reach our home shortly after.