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Introducing ALPSinsight

Woman trail running on singletrack above Lauterbrunnen Valley with views of the Jungfrau and Mönch in the Berner Oberland, Switzerland

Quintessential Alps.

After spending the vast majority of the last 16 years playing and working in the Alps, it was inevitable that we would have to do something to share our photography, knowledge, enthusiasm and stories, from what we believe is the most motivating and beautiful place on earth.

Thanks to meeting a certain Swiss girl in photography school back in 1999, many doors opened that led to where I am today; a Swiss citizen, living in Interlaken, and exploring the Alps on a near-daily basis. While I work as a professional mountain sport photographer, I am, first and foremost, a mountain sport athlete– and the partner in everything I do happens to be that Swiss girl, my wife, Janine. Together we’ve created a life dedicated to being in the mountains. Now, we want to share these incredible experiences, and what we create visually, so others can experience the awe we feel here in the Alps.

Drying out camp gear in the sun - Lenticular clouds over the Jungfrau group. Bernese Alps, Switzerland

2000 : Our first trip into the Berner Oberland. We were completely clueless and camped 300 meters from a hut, endured two full storm days stuck in the tent, and only found the hut after running out of food. We hope to prevent this from happening to you.

ALPSinsight is a resource for people seeking active holidays in the Alps. It’s visual motivation along with some handy tips to hopefully steer you in the right direction. Our Stories section will be just that; trip reports, reviews, or just thoughts that come from playing in the mountains, maybe from us, or maybe by friends- here, anything goes. Our primary focus is Switzerland’s Jungfrau Region, but we’ll explore beyond, too– to the Alps in general, and even as far as Italy’s Dolomites. The Alps are huge, and the options practically unlimited.

The most difficult part of planning a trip to the Alps is the overwhelming number of options, all of which sound perfect. We hope to help you narrow the options to some of the very best classics– including lesser known gems that we know and love. New Trips will appear on the site on a regular basis.

For this new project, we’ve asked two close friends,Doug Mayer and Alain Rumpf, to be a part of what we’re doing. Both share our same passion for playing hard in the Alps. Alain and I have pedaled a lot of kilometers together, including our SwissCrissCross, where we rode across Switzerland on road bikes, over most of the biggest passes between Chamonix and Passo Stelvio, then turned around, got on mountain bikes, and rode back through the Alps, primarily on singletrack. Alain’s background and passion for cycling is deep, from being the UCI Pro Tour Manager, to developing the Tour of Beijing pro cycling race, to now – offering cycling tours on his favorite roads in the Alps. Doug is a trail running partner who can’t get enough of the Alps. He lives part time in them, writes about them as an Associate Editor of America’s Trail Runner Magazine, and now guides trail running tours through them all summer.

Road riders on the Grosse Scheidegg as rain begins to start. Day 2 of the Swiss CrissCross project. Road ride through the Alps across Switzerland, then mountain bike back through the Alps on trails. 2012

Alain and I trying to outride a rapidly approaching storm while climbing the Grosse Scheidegg during the 2012 Swiss CrissCross. We lost.

Trail running in the Alpstein group in Eastern Switzerland, a small, separate from the Alps mountain range ideal for mountain running thanks to less rugged, lower terrain.

Janine and Doug running trails in the Alpstein group of eastern Switzerland.

What makes the Alps so special?

Hikers on the Hardergrat, also known as the Brienzergrat, during a traverse of the entire ridge. This ridge is 27km long with 3100 meters of vertical gain, and is a classic one day test piece trail connecting Interlaken to Brienz, Switzerland

Up and down the ridge, in and out of clouds – the Hardergrat in dreamy conditions.

Recently, a hashtag started on Instagram, #FeeltheAlps. I thought about this and realized it is exactly what people need to do. Of course the Alps need to be read about and seen, but what they really require is to be felt. Yes, it’s the beauty, and the too good to be true shape of the mountains, the glaciers, the green hillsides rising up to blue ice and towering rock, and the astounding quality of the trails and hut system – all these things are immediately obvious.

In the end, though, it’s the feel of the Alps that stay with you. The little things: the sound of cowbells as you run through an alpine meadow, the whiff of freshly baked tort as you pass a hut, or even the way the clouds build on the big peaks. It’s all of this, and it’s how easily you can get into the mountains thanks to the proximity of these special places to where people live.

Here I am again, trying to explain it. The fact is, it’s not’s possible to do justice to the Alps through words, or even images. There’s just one thing to do. Come feel the Alps for yourself.

By Dan Patitucci

Ibex walk in profile up a moraine with the Jungfrau in the background, Switzerland

What you see is just a part of what you feel.

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