Trail running adventure in the Alps
Traveling and trail running is a great combo. It’s always exciting to explore the trails in new places, and nice with a change. Soon I will be running mountain trails below Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland. A few years ago I had a week of skiing and trail running in Zermatt. One day I ran up to Kulmhotel Gornergrat, where we were supposed to stay the night. It’s a lovely high-alpine hotel (10,170 feet/3100m) with a breathtaking view. The hike is normally 5 hours from Zermatt town. But the first time I went trail running in Zermatt was a few years earlier, when I climbed up the steep trail to Bergpension Edelweiss, a cosy mountain hostel, resting on a cliff right above town. The danish hosts gave me
a warm welcome, especially since it wasn’t really season for summer hikers. A few hours – and beers later It was time to go back. Since it was complete darkness I had to borrow a flashlight. The next day I returned it and continued up trying to follow a mountain trail. But since it was spring there were lots of snow everywhere, which made progress difficult. Then it began to snow – a lot. The grassy, wet slopes became very slippery. Even though I was trying to hold on to the ground with my hands I slipped and tumbled, 5 sometimes 10-15 metres down the steep slope. It was frightening to think that I could be falling into the abyss. Luckily I was wearing a new kind of trail shoe with spikes (Icebug‘s first model), which gave enough traction to stop sliding. It took me 3 hours to get down, negotiating old avalanches, landslide boulder terrain and cold streams. Walking the streets of Zermatt again felt really good, with it’s electric minibus-trains and relaxed tourists gazing at Matterhorn or window-shopping 60.000€ watches. My clothes were dirty, ripped and wet. I had cuts on legs and hands but I was completely content when my friends asked me: “how was your run?”
#In the current issue of Swedish magazine MAN there is a story about Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. The editor interviewed me in Chamonix before and after the race. My own story from the race is in the latest issue of Swedish edition of Runner’s World.