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The Balfrin Traverse, a Perfect Introduction to the Alps

This route doesn’t seem to have an official name, but we’ve long called it the Balfrin Traverse. It was recommended to us way back in 2003 by the guiding couple extraordinaire, Cosley Houston. It is the perfect Alps alpine traverse introduction combining different skills for going into the big mountains, but without difficulty, technical skills, or many objective hazards. It is simply …

Climbing the Oberaarhorn

climbing the Oberaarhorn

As part of our Way Up project in the summer of 2016, we climbed the central Swiss Alps Oberaarhorn, 3630 meters, from the Oberaarsee near Grimsel Pass. This is an absolute classic easy alpine summit, with great views of the Berner Oberland’s highest peak, the Finsteraarhorn, a hut for overnight or lunch, and what interested us most, all types of terrain, …

The Eiger West Flank from Grindelwald

The Way Up Inspiration This year’s project, The Way Up, finished off with what may be the mother of all Way Ups! The Eiger, from Grindelwald, with Ueli Steck. Ueli is a close friend and someone I have shared a lot of days in the mountains with, including three Himalayan expeditions. In fact, it was probably Ueli that inspired me …

Trail Running Ticino’s Monte Zucchero

Running Ticino's Monte Zucchero

Stop and Smell the Goats Janine spreads a map on the dinner table between plates of polenta, pizza, and pasta. “I found a loop for us,” she says, tracing the route line. Tomorrow looks like a long day … even without the option to add an extra ridge … if there’s time. Dan and Janine had recently hiked the Via …

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The Hardergrat to Brunig Pass

Trail running the Hardergrat

Making the Hardergrat Harder! If more is better, then more of the Hardergrat is, well, really hard, and for sure even better. Together with my good friend Brody Leven, we just did the Hardergrat to the standard endpoint of the Brienzer Rothorn Station. But, instead of eating ice creams and hopping on the old steam train to escape the ridge, …

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Hiking the Dossen from Rosenlaui

There is simply no way I could title this “Running the Dossen”. Yes, there is a great section to run, but this is most certainly, “Hiking the Dossen”. Hands are even involved to get to the top, but we’ll get to that. In 2015, Janine and I hiked the 3138 meter Dossen from Rosenlaui and loved it for its setting amongst glaciers …

Running the Schwalmere

The irony of our project The Way Up may be that with all our attention being on some of the Alps most beautifully situated peaks, and the highest accessible with running shoes, and the experiences to be had with friends… now that I’ve done one solo from my front door, it may well be my favorite. It’s a peak few have …

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The Üssers Barrhorn Highest Trail in Switzerland

When you arrive to the summit after climbing the Üssers Barrhorn, at 3610 meters, you have reached Switzerland’s highest point accessible by an official trail. But this won’t be what’s on your mind. Instead, you’ll be processing what you are standing amongst; flowing glaciers, towering peaks, and perfect views of some of the biggest peaks in the Swiss Alps. The phrase, “This is …

Climbing the Lagginhorn

The 4010 meter Lagginhorn, above Saas Fee, Switzerland, is the only Alps 4000 meter peak that is possible to climb without worry of glacier travel, crevasses or technical climbing. Thanks to these characteristics, we put it at the top of our list for our The Way Up project. The Lagginhorn, while still an alpine summit, is possible in running shoes. Not only running shoes, …

Ultralight Trail Running Gear and The Way Up Project

The Way Up Peak & Trail Running Project Last summer I discovered several peaks in the Alps with enormous elevation gain through all terrain, from valley to alpine summit. Some entirely on trail, others a mix of trail and scrambling. All relatively easy, just big ups, well over 2000 meters of big. In my book, big means fun. It started with …