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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 a long(ish) high tour requiring endurance and glacier travel. The beauty of it is also …

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, from alpine meadow, to glacier, to 3rd class scrambling for the summit. While easily done in a …

Skiing the Bishorn

skiing the 4000er Bishorn

  Ski Touring an Alps 4000 Meter Peak The Bishorn is one of the Alps “easiest” 4000 meter peaks. However, this doesn’t make it easy. While it has no technical difficulties beyond walking, it does have the occasional crevasse, and the last 30 meters to the true summit can get icy. But what makes it “not easy” is that skiing the Bishorn is long. Very long. If you decide to ski it, and this is really the way …

The Wetterhorn, Mittelhorn and Rosenhorn Ski Mountaineering Tour

Climbing the Wetterhorn's normal route

A friend referred to this as the “Horny Tour”. Starting from Rosenlaui, between Meiringen and Grindelwald, it’s a ski mountaineering tour that links up ascents of the Wetterhorn (3692 meters), Mittelhorn (3703 meters) and Rosenhorn (3688 meters). In the world of ski mountaineering, this one has a bit more mountaineering than ski. In fact, word has it that it’s an endurance exam for Swiss mountain guides and has a sub 12 hour time requirement. It takes a …

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The Perfect Swiss Cycling Tour

In many ways, Switzerland is the land of perfection. Streets are clean. Trains are on time. Government services work. For cyclists, the Swiss perfection is embodied by the incredibly smooth asphalt of the roads, unparalleled in other countries. Or the unreal beauty of the mountains, where glaciers, lakes, cows and villages seem to have been perfectly positioned by the invisible hand of a landscaper struck by acute obsessive-compulsive disorder. That must explain my quest for the perfect tour of …

A Trail Runs Through It

This is the story about the start of a company. But it’s also the story of the Alps, in a sense. When I started Run the Alps, the first thing I did was gather together some friends and go trail running. We ran quiet trails in little-known valleys. We made notes, took photos, and I imagined sharing these places with guests from around the world. Only, it didn’t happen. At least, not quite that way. …