Monday, August 06, 2012

HT Woche Berner Alpen Day 1: Jungfraujoch -> Konkordiahuette

We kick off the week by taking the train to Lauterbrunnen and then the Jungfraubahn up to the Jungfraujoch. That's definitely not your standard train trip: the train goes through the Eiger and makes two five-minute photo stops along the way. At each one everyone streams out to the windows to take pictures and then piles back into the train. Unfortunately for them the weather is crap, so there's not much to see. At the Jungfraujoch we walk with the stream of tourists (hard to imagine what this place must be like on a good-weather weekend) past a few of the exhibitions to the door leading out towards the Aletschgletscher.  It's not particularly nice outside: 4-5 degrees, wind, wet snow, and thunder. Ick. We opt to put on our harnesses and an extra layer or two just inside the door (comment from an Indian tourist standing just inside the door and freezing as he takes pictures of his family outside in the blowing, wet snow: "you aren't actually planning on going out there are you?") and then we head outside to rope up.
Lovely weather we're having.
After 5-10 minutes of waiting for the thunder to stop, we get on our way.

At some point on our way down the Jungfraufirn the snow mostly stops for a bit, then it turns to a light rain. It's not particularly nasty, but we can't enjoy the views so it's more about making progress and getting used to walking on the rope. Down on the Konkordiaplatz we start to hit some crevasses you need to jump over, so it's on with the crampons for the last bit to the cliff under the Konkordiahütte.
Crossing a glacier stream
We leave the crampons and ice axes under a big rock and then walk up the long (100m up) set of metal stairs to the hut.
The first bit of the stairs up to the Konkordiahütte
Thanks to the crappy weather the hut is only about half full, so we enjoy a relatively calm evening. Of course everyone is constantly keeping an eye out for the weather to clear up (it's hard to believe the forecast sometimes). We're rewarded after dinner: the clouds start to lift.

The track:

Here's a link to a track of the whole tour superimposed on photo imagery. Play with the aerial imagery slider to blend topo info in and out.

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