Chris goes to Switzerland

Three years ago, I went to visit a friend when they were working in Basel, Switzerland over the summer in the middle of July.


They knew I was a fan of hiking mountains, so while we were backpacking it around the general area for a week, we swung down to the Alps town of Lungern for a day. When we got there, the temperature at the bottom of the mountain was a pleasant 65-70’F and there was a fine misting rain (one you wouldn’t even take an umbrella out for). So, with our packs, we took a gondola lift up to the top of the mountain where it turns out it’s blizzarding with inches of accumulation!

The goat herder who ran the top of the lift for people wanting to go back down spoke only Swiss-German and not high German, so we couldn’t understand anything he was saying about the weather or the trails. Now thoroughly frustrated, we decided we were still going to do the hike. After putting on every single piece of clothing from our packs to stay warm (it was summer at the bottom of the mountain remember), our hiking path had become a four inch wide path of loose slate with a steep decline on either side. The visibility only went out for about five feet with the blizzard, so we knew if we slipped on the slate, we were going to continue down the mountain at considerable speeds until we hit an edelweiss covered rock or a Swiss cow, which were hanging out on the part of the mountain which was still grass covered and were the only other thing we could hear atop the mountain outside of the wind.


After hiking out for two hours, we decided it’d be a bad idea to get lost and turned around to go back to the gondola the way we had gone in. Considering the weather conditions, it was easily the most stressful hike I’ve ever done but also probably the shortest. I’ve enclosed a picture of the town of Lungern with the moutains in the background covered in clouds by the storm and a picture of the Swiss cows taken from the gondola.

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