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Home Explore Saas-Fee Guides Magazine | Issue No.2 | Summer 2018 | English

Saas-Fee Guides Magazine | Issue No.2 | Summer 2018 | English

Published by Saas-Fee Guides, 2018-08-23 04:24:31

Description: The Saas-Fee Guides magazine issue 2.

Keywords: mountain,guides,magazine,saas,fee,saastal,switzerland,climbing,equipment,stories,information


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Issue No2 Summer 2018 EnglishADVENTUREEDUCATION w w N AT U R E

2 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018EDITORIAL Cover: Puzzle Media The Saas-Fee Guides leading a mountain bike tour in the Saas Valley. Patrick Gasser Editor in Chief Saas-Fee Guides MagazineOF FLOW AND OTHER PLEASURES per hour, suspended at a dizzying height of We have also taken a moment to reflect. No,We were excited to see the Saas Valley eighty metres in the air? Thanks to the best not on the weather, we can’t do anythingfeature heavily in the spring issue of popular safety system on the market and a second about that except recommend our moreSwiss bike magazine Ride. Following a trip park specially for the little ones, the rope weather-proof activities like exploring theto the valley, the editors concluded that park is fun for the whole family. This winter via ferrata which runs through the Saaser“while other regions are having to reach saw violent storms damage much of the Vispa Alpine Gorge. The problem that’sdeep to create enough trails to keep guests infrastructure, but we’ve taken that as an been troubling us is the next generation.interested, everything is already here”. opportunity to make the Adventure Forest We’re concerned about the future ofEnduro is the rising trend on the bike scene, safer, friendlier, and even more fun. professional mountain guiding; in recentwhich is moving away from artificial parks years, the number of young people attainingtowards untouched trails. In search of the Naturally, high-alpine tours on the Saas the demanding professional qualificationsperfect natural spot, you can expect to have Valley’s magical four-thousand-metre has declined. But more generally, like manyto shoulder your bike and hike on occasion. peaks will continue to be the central focus mountain regions, the Saas Valley has hadBut if that’s not your thing, don’t worry: With of the Saas-Fee Guides. Taking in the to contend with an exodus of youth. Wethe Hohsaas cable car transporting bikes, sights of the furrowed Mischabel Group, think it's small things that can make a realSaas Valley trails with 1,600 metre vertical for example, is among the very best alpine difference, and with that in mind we hopedrops can be reached almost effortlessly. experiences in the world. Even for our to inspire children and adolescents alike,The Saas-Fee Guides have been exceptionally trained and experienced those from the valley and tourists frompioneering the introduction of bike tourism mountain guides, each and every sunrise beyond, to fall in love with the the Saas Valley for many years; by literally witnessed from the vantage point of one of To that end, we’re now running summergetting to work, spade-in-hand, shaping those giants is a goosebump moment. It is camps packed full of diverse activities andtrails, by creating marketing materials and hard to imagine that this year is the 160th mountain exploration. After all, sometimespromoting them. We now offer expert-led anniversary of the first ever ascents of the the best things are right on your throughout the network of trails which Dom and the Nadelhorn, which gives usextends for an impressive 150 kilometres. more than enough reason to introduce our Our last word must be dedicated to theTo celebrate this moment in the village’s guided tours of those historic peaks and magazine itself. Seventy-two pages of text,history, we have decided to dedicate a four- celebrate the Mischabel Hut, their starting photos and design, all “made in the Saaspage feature, and the magazine cover, to point. Incidentally, the iconic mountains Valley”. Our team is made up of individualsmountain biking in the Saas Valley. and glaciers of the Saas Valley have from various walks of life and parts of the increasingly served as a backdrop for film world, all with different talents, but we haveWe are also delighted to announce that as of and advertisement productions over the last one thing in common: we call this placethis summer, the Guides are taking over the couple of years. We are pleased to say that home.Saas-Fee Adventure Forest. The rope park, the Saas-Fee Guides have been makingsituated just above the base station of the a name for themselves by organizing andAlpin Express, is surely among the best in facilitating numerous successful shoots.the country. Where else would you be ableto fly across a ravine at over forty kilometres

3Photo: Ellen Amann CONTENTSStark contrasts on the Glacier Trail between LakeMattmark and Britannia Hut. Adventure forest Saas-Fee 6 Out of this world 12 Learn From The Pros 16 In The Shadow Of Giants 22 From Head to Toe 28 In the footsteps of smugglers 30 The Glacier Film Set 36 Summer Belongs To The Kids 42 A Sanctuary For Climbers 44 A Climber’s Paradise 46 Enduro Heaven 50 A Trail Across The Ice 56 Gear Guide 60 The Floating Basecamp 62 A Summertime Goldmine 66 About Us 71

4 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018 Proud partner and outfitter of

5\"If I have seen further thanothers, it is by standing upon theshoulders of giants.\"Isaac Newton, English physicist and author(1642-1727) Photo: Puzzle MediaGolden Autumn: Saas-Almagell in October.

6 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018 Main image: The main park consists of four zones, each with their own array of obstacles to be faced. ADVENTURE FOREST SAAS-FEE EUROPEAN RECORDS AND CURIOUS SQUIRRELS Home to Europe’s highest zipline, adrenaline, freedom and fun: this summer, the Saas-Fee Guides are taking over the village’s Adventure Forest, a rope park hidden high among the trees. Photos: Saas-Fee/Saastal Tourismus Text: Patrick Gasser Translation: Danielle Moore & Adam Spensley

ADVENTURE FOREST SAAS-FEE 7 T welve-year-old Tim gathers all his might to make the leap from one wooden roller to the next. But Annika, fourteen, has already mastered it, “Hey, Tim,” she calls back to her younger brother, “come on… you’re almost there”. With two more swings he’s on the platform, puffing and panting next to his sister. The pair stand twelve metres above the forest floor, relishing the breeze as it blows through the surrounding larch trees. The rope park, set within the forest just above the bottom station of the Alpin Express, was opened back in 2006. Since then, the Adventure Forest has gradually expanded, and it now consists of four different zones. As you progress from one zone to the next, the obstacles suspended high amongst the trees become increasingly hard to overcome. At the end of each zone, tree-climbing adventurers zipline back down to the forest floor. “No zipline in Europe crosses a deeper ravine than that in Saas-Fee’s Adventure Forest.” A RECORD-HOLDING ZIPLINE On the subject of ziplines… Tim admits he’s nervous as he joins his dad, forty- two-year-old Ralf who has also reached the end of zone four. He then scrambles up onto a rock at the edge of the forest, just beyond which, a wire rope stretches out between mighty steel beams. Measuring 280 metres long, the zipline spans the gorge, which has been home to the water of the Saaser Vispa for millenia. On this aerial runway, Tim flies out from the canopy of the forest and over the expanse of the gorge, suspended at an adrenaline-pumping height of eighty metres above the raging glacial waters. No zipline in Europe crosses a deeper ravine than that in Saas-Fee’s Adventure Forest; the record-breaking ending promises to top off an unbeatable trip to the rope park. The Adventure Forest is leading the way when it comes to safety as well: the “CLiC-iT” system, introduced three years ago, has proven more than worthwhile. The trusted and innovative dual-connection harness system is designed such that when you

8 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018disconnect one carabiner from the rope,the other automatically locks, ensuringyou, or your children, are permanentlysecured as you move around the park’sfifteen-metre-high obstacle-course.Drop guards (safety devices) are also inplace to prevent falls as you climb ropeladders and nets at the start of eachzone.After negotiating a short via ferratadirectly below Saas-Fee’s youth hosteland wellness centre, Annika, Tim andRalf reach the second of two ziplinesintersecting the gorge. Runningalongside Panorama Bridge whichspans the gorge, the cruise to thefinish line boasts uninterrupted viewsof the mighty 4000-metre-high peaksand glaciers. The three thrill-seekerstake turns to fly across the ravine while Top: The Adventure Forest in Saas-Fee guarantees fun for the whole family. Middle: The 280-metre-long zipline hangs almost ninety metres above the gorge, making it the highest of its kind in Europe. Bottom: A climber swings like Tarzan into a spider web (zone four).

ADVENTURE FOREST SAAS-FEE 9 mother Ramona, forty-one, and the youngest of the siblings, nine-year-old Mia, watch on from the bridge. A KIDS’ PARK FOR LITTLE EXPLORERS The Adventure Forest’s main ‘challenge course’ is unsuitable for children under ten, and all participants must be taller than 145 cm (see info box page 10 \"Good to know: visiting Saas-Fee’s Adventure Forest\"). But the youngest, Mia, needn’t wait another year to have fun the park; children over four years can run, jump and adventure to their heart's content in the kids’ park. Equipped with harnesses and carabiners, the little ones can explore, discover, and play as curious squirrels watch on from the treetops. As in the rest of the adventure forest, children venturing through the kids’ park remain permanently secured, and mum and dad can help them from the ground.CENTRE:Riding the zipline over the gorge ata aheigh of80 metres.Top: The rope course climbs to fifteen metresabove Saas-Fee’s forest floor.Centre: Thanks to the \"CLiC-iT\" system,Adventure Forest guests are always secured.Bottom: For summer 2018, the Saas-Fee Guidesare taking over the Adventure Forest.

10 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018SAFETY climbing harness (the park accepts no ADMISSION CHF 36.00Our park rangers look after every detail, liability for loss or damage). Individuals CHF 29.00from helping with your harness to Main Park CHF 23.00inspecting the rope park’s infrastructure TIMEand safety equipment on a daily basis. Allow half a day to visit the rope park. Adults (17 years +) In addition to a harness, you are Normally, the time spent on the ropes and Teenagers (13-16 years): provided with a helmet and gloves. In obstacle course itself is three to four hours. Children (up to 12 years): a half-hour introductory session, youwill get to grips with getting around the BIRTHDAY SPECIAL: Kids’ Park CHF 20.00park and become familiar with your kit, Free entry when you visit on your birthday! Children (4-12 years): CHF 23.00before getting the chance to put what In addition, one companion gets 50% Teenagers (13-16 years): you’ve just learnt into practise under discount on entry. (Please bring a passportthe watchful eye of a park ranger. When or other form of identification). Groups 10+ peopleyou’re ready, you and your climbing Main Parkcompanions are let loose in the main DISCOUNTS Adults (from the age of 17): CHF 29.00park. You’re free to tackle the obstacles From 19th to 29th June and 3rd Septemberon your own but our park rangers are to 21st October guests receive a 20% School classes/sports teams up to 16 years*around at all times to lend a hand. discount upon showing a local pass from CHF 24.00 any Upper Valais district.AGE AND HEIGHT REQUIREMENTS: *One accompanying adult per 8 young people (up toAdmittance to the main Adventure Forest RESERVATIONSis for participants aged ten years and You are welcome to reserve a spot for you 16 years) goes free.over, and a minimum of 145 centimetres and your friends in advance by emailingtall. Bear in mind that the obstacle course [email protected]. Reservation is Kids’ Park CHF 16.00is best-suited to people with a head for required for groups of 10 or more. By prior CHF 19.00heights. The kids’ park can be enjoyed by arrangement, the team can open the rope Children (4-12 years): children of any height who are over the park on Mondays or Fridays throughout Teenagers (13-16 years): age of four, and parents are able to watch the low season, for groups of ten or more.from the ground. OPENING TIMES 19.06 - 29.06 and 03.09 - 21.10:EQUIPMENT AND SPECIFICS Open Tues - Thurs and weekendsAll you need to enjoy the adventure forestis a pair of closed-toe shoes and a sense 12.00 – 18.00of adventure. The park team will providea harness complete with twin \"CLic-iT\" Last entry: 16.00carabiners, a helmet and a pair of gloves.For safety reasons, skirts are not permitted, 30.06 - 02.09:and long hair must be tied back. You can Open dailydeposit any valuables in the lodge at the 10.00 – 19.00entrance to the park. If you would like to Last entry 17.00take a camera or smartphone, we canprovide a small bag which attaches to your For more information: [email protected] +41 27 957 44 64 Saas-Fee Guides AG Obere Dorfstrasse 53 3906 Saas-Fee SwitzerlandPhoto: The 80 metre high zipline fliesover the gorge with the Saaser Vispabelow. .

MORE FOR LESSADVENTURE FOREST SAAS-FEE 11FREE TV, mobile Fiabveairlaoblpe ticand landline withyour internetpackage! only / 55.–for * CHF per month. HOTEL, RESTAURANT, BAR GLETSCHERSTRASSE 3906 SAAS-FEE +41 27 958 64 64 [email protected]

12 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018 OUT OF THIS WORLD With thousand-year-old towers of ice and deep blue crevasses, a walk on the Fee Glacier is like exploring a whole new world. Photos: Puzzle Media Text: Patrick Gasser Translation: Danielle Moore & Adam SpensleyAfter 30 minutes, Géraldine, chairs in the morning. Instead of salt mountain guide Rolf Trachsel tells them, twenty-four, and François, water and sea views, the Saas Valley pointing out the path on the furrowed twenty-seven reach the edge boasts mountain lakes and some of the ice giant. The fifty-two-year-old fromof the ice. It’s mid-August, and the deep mightiest mountain peaks in the Alps. Saas-Fee knows the Fee Glacier likeblack rocks that lie below the glacier Directly below the Mischabel group, the back of his hand. \"There?\" asksare already sparkling in the the morning the third highest mountain massif in Geraldine incredulously.sun. Down in Valais’ main valley, the the Alps, lies Längfluh. The lift stationtemperatures along the Rhone are and restaurant not only offers a unique COOL OFF IN THE HEIGHT OFsoaring well over 30 degrees Celsius view of the surrounding mountains and SUMMERyet again, but with its high altitude, glaciers, but also mark the 2,800-metre- In winter, hundreds of skiers pourthe temperature remains bearable in high starting point of one of the Saas- down the slopes at MittelallalinSaas-Fee, even in midsummer. \"We Fee Guides’ glacier tours. towards Längfluh and then downlike summer,\" says François, \"but the to the valley beyond. Now though,constant heat can make you sluggish From the terrace of the historic mountain Géraldine, François, and mountainafter a while.\" That's why the couple huts that still stand there, Géraldine and guide Rolf stand at the edge of thehave made the trip from Lyon, France. François explain their fascination with glacier which saw skiers racing by justOn a sunny day, the Saas Valley could the Fee Glacier, its deep crevasses and months earlier. From there, the threegive the Côte d'Azur a run for its money. its towering seracs. \"I've never been this put on their crampons, rope up and close to glacial ice,\" Géraldine remarks. follow Rolf on an unforgettable journeyOf course, there’s no battle for beach \"That is where we’re going later,\" across the glacier. \"It’s crazy! It's the middle of summer and I'm walking

Photo: On the glacier tour, guests OUT OF THIS WORLD 13 are afforded exceptional views: lush green meadows of Saas-Fee below sit Top: The Längfluh Hutin striking contrast to the sugar-dusted marks the starting point for the Saas-Fee Guides’ Fee glacier above. glacier tour. Middle: In the thick of it: the guided tour through ageless ice is a one-of-a-kind experience. Bottom: A well- deserved Walliser Teller and wine back at the Längfluh Hut. \"The Fee Glacier Tour is unique and GOOD TO KNOWfascinating. We are fortunate that the If you are interested in a tour on the Fee glacier here is more accessible than Glacier, you do not need any previous experience. This is a day-long trip, of almost anywhere else in the Alps. \" approximately five hours duration, and is suitable for children from around 10 years old. Rolf Trachsel, mountain guide The Saas-Fee guides can also put together personalised programmes, for example, foron ice,\" says François. Less than 24 glacier here is more accessible than corporate or team events. Practical, weather-hours after arriving from Lyon the almost anywhere else in the Alps\" says appropriate clothing and walking shoes arecouple find themselves treading the Rolf. In fact, excellent transport links to required. Crampons, climbing harnesses,path through millennia-old glacier ice. the car-free village make it decidedly walking poles, and - when required - ice picks,The Spielboden and Längfluh lifts are easy for heat-stricken urbanites to can be hired from the local sports shops.crucial: thanks to them, it takes only retreat to the glacier world.half an hour to get from the village of Prices start at CHF 190.- per person (minimumSaas-Fee to the foot of the glacier. \"The 4, maximum 6 people per group.) For more information: [email protected] +41 27 957 44 64 Saas-Fee Guides AG Obere Dorfstrasse 53 3906 Saas-Fee Switzerland

14 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018 GARTENPDROONJCEIKCCTIO RISTORANTE PIZZERIA Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, liIgtaullaiasnussppenedciisasleitnieuslla, vperegtiaumta,rrihaonncaunsdtegmlpuotrepnlafcreereatdishes fermentum, enim integer ad vestibulum avouluthtpeant.tNicisl -rhornecluasxteurdpis-estf,avmel eillyit,fcrioenngduelywisi enim nunc ultricies sit, magna tincidunt. Maecenas aliquam maecenas ligula nostra, accumsan taciti. Sociis mauris in integer. Ac dolor ac adipiscing amet bibendum nullam, massa lacus molestie ut libero nec, diam et, pharetra. Reservations +41 27 957 40 20 [email protected]

OUT OF THIS WORLD 15\"The core of mans' Photo: Puzzle Mediaspirit comes from new Double Vision: The Allalin mirrored on the mountainexperiences.\" lake near Längfluh.Christopher McCandless akaAlexander Supertramp, US-AmericanAdventurer and dropout(1968-1992).

16 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018 LEARN FROM THE PROS Refresh or expand your knowledge, and fast. That’s the goal of the Saas-Fee Guides’ intensive ice and rock climbing courses. Photos: Danny Stoffel Text: Patrick Gasser Translation: Danielle Moore & Adam Spensley

LEARN FROM THE PROS 17 learning what to do in dangerous situations. How should you react after slipping? Or how does a group rescue a roped comrade who has fallen into a crevasse? The mountain guides have the answers, and participants try out the techniques they’re taught in a controlled but real-life environment. The Fee Glacier, which is best reached from the Längfluh cable car station, serves as an ideal practice area. Note that the Saas- Fee Guides glacier training courses sessions can be perfectly combined with a tour to the summit of a local ‘four-thousander’, like Allalinhorn or Weissmies for example.As inspiring as the world of glaciers and mountain peaks SAFE ON ROCK FACES TOO is, it can also be dangerous. As glaciers flow, the On high-alpine tours you might also encounter difficult-to-navigate movement over the rocky surface below creates deep rock-faces. The Saas-Fee Guides run training courses aimed atfissures. But when they’re blanketed in fresh snow or covered by ensuring that hurdles like those don’t hold you back. In the one-snow ‘bridges’, such pitfalls can be invisible to the untrained eye. day rock climbing course, participants learn the fundamentals,Understanding the glacier and choosing the safest route demands various knots and relevant climbing techniques, but they are alsoa wealth of experience, which all of the Saas-Fee Guides mountain taught important abseiling and safety methods. This course isguides proudly possess, alongside the highest level of guiding suitable for anyone with little or no experience in rock climbing.qualifications. OPPOSITE PAGE: A rock climbing course with the Saas-Fee Guides... THIS PAGE: Top: ... is the ideal way to prepare for high alpine tours. Middle: As is the training course offered on the glacier Bottom: Among a range of new skills, you’ll become an expert in using crampons.Naturally, the mountain guides use their awareness and expertiseto lead guests safely on their tours, but they are also fond of passingon their wisdom. During intensive training courses on the glacier,for instance, participants learn directly from the professionals – insitu. Keeping group sizes small, with a maximum of six participants,ensures that the training is the best possible.MOUNTAIN READYThe courses are suitable for both beginners and those withplenty of mountain experience looking to refresh and refinetheir technique. Various knots and rope securing techniques arepracticed and mastered, but learning how to properly move as partof a roped team is the central focus. Under the expert guidance ofcertified mountain guides, participants also learn how to best useice axes and crampons.The aim of the one-day intensive course is to get participants GOOD TO KNOWready for high-alpine tours. There’s a lot to learn because thetours require not only good physical fitness, but also significant The group rate for the glacier training course is CHF 195.- (minimum 4,knowledge of techniques. Arguably the most important thing is maximum 6 participants). Ice axes, crampons, harnesses and crampons can be hired as a set directly from the Saas-Fee Guides for CHF 25.-. The high-alpine rock climbing training courses also costs CHF 195.- (group rate, minimum 4 and maximum 6 participants.) Climbing harnesses and helmets can be hired directly from the Saas-Fee Guides for CHF 10.-. It is possible to book either course as a private group. For more information: [email protected] +41 27 957 44 64 Saas-Fee Guides AG Obere Dorfstrasse 53 3906 Saas-Fee Switzerland

18 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018 CENTRAL LOCATIONMore romantic ...THAN YOU’D THINKSunstar Hotel Saas-Fee 027 958 15 60 [email protected]

LEARN FROM THE PROS 19 Photo: Puzzle Media A tour through the ice of the Fee Glacier. \"Forget your lust for the rich man's gold. All that you need is in your soul.\" From the song \"Simple Man\" by Lynyrd Skynyrd published in 1973 TA X I ZURBRIGGEN Train station and airport transfers. » Geneva » Zürich » Milan Prices can be found on our website.Holiday region Saastal+41 (0) 79 693 00 [email protected]


LEARN FROM THE PROS 21\"Mystery creates wonder andwonder is the basis of man's desireto understand.\"Neil Armstrong, US-American Astronaut(1930-2012) Photo: Puzzle Media A fairytale lake stands at the foot of the Mischabel Group.

22 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018IN THESHADOW OFGIANTS The Mischabel Hut marks the starting point for attempts to summit some of the most imposing peaks in the Alps. Maria Anthamatten has been running the hut, which sits at 3,300m, for eight years. According to the Almagell-native every day spent there is a privilege, despite the hard work. Photos: Mischabelhütten, Danny Stoffel, Puzzle Media Text: Patrick Gasser Translation: Danielle Moore & Adam SpensleyT he autumn of 1858 proved an foot on the summit of the Dom. Having recounts Danny Stoffel, a mountain exciting time for alpinism and for climbed to 4,545 metres, the group had guide from Saas-Grund. \"There are very tourism in the Saas Valley. In the reached not only the highest point in the few places where you are made to feel space of a week, the summits of two of Mischabel mountain chain, but also the so small and humbled - as a human Switzerland's highest mountains were peak of the highest mountain situated being - as you are on the summit of the reached for the very first time. On the entirely within Switzerland. Nadelhorn,\" he continues. The ridgelines 16th of September a four-man party, of the Mischabel group, including made up of Franz Andenmatten, Baptiste HUMBLED BY THE MOUNTAINS that which runs from the Nadelhorn to Epiney, Aloys Supersaxo and Joseph 160 years on, the peaks of the Mischabel the 4,294-metre-high Lenzspitze, are Zimmermann, claimed the first ascent group and the Nadelgrat to the north- among the absolute highlights of any of the 4,327-metre Nadelhorn. Just west are just as captivating as ever. “Even mountaineering experience in the Alps. five days earlier, Johann Zumtaugwald, for the Saas-Fee Guides, experienced Johann Kronig and Hieronymous and highly trained mountaineers, it is On the Saas Valley side of the Mischabel Brantschen, alongside J. Llewellyn an overwhelming feeling to bask in group, the Mischabel Hut is the ‘base Davies, an original member of the British the first morning rays on top of these camp’ most commonly used for these Alpine Club, had become the first to set magnificent 4,000-metre peaks”, condition-dependant and technically

IN THE SHADOW OF GIANTS 23 Photo: A view to fall in love with: The lights of Saas-Fee (front) and Saas-Almagell as seen from the Mischabel Hutchallenging high altitude tours (see they built another hut altogether, and she helped out at the Almagellerinfo box). In reality, said base camp is now the stunning location boasts an Hut. Although she is a professionallyformed of several Mischabel Huts. After impressive 130 beds. trained nurse, and still works at afour years of planning and construction hospital in Visp throughout the winter,work, the first hut opened in 1903 on A HUT MANAGER NAMED MARIA her application to take charge of thethe northeast ridge of the Lenzspitze. Today, Maria Anthamatten, thirty-five, Mischabel Hut was quickly accepted.Local mule drivers transported building runs the entire operation. Havingmaterials via the steep and narrow spent eight seasons in the role, From mid-June through mid-paths above Saas-Fee. The forty-two it is apparent that her work, and September, Maria, alongside threebed hut, run by the Academic Alpine mountain-life itself, are her calling. live-in employees, takes care of theClub of Zurich, soon proved to be too It’s little surprise, the lifestyle runs in mountain hut’s many guests. It’s muchmodest in size. Even after an expansion the family: her grandfather, mountain more than a full-time job... The firstto sixty berths and the tourist industry guide Alfred Anthamatten, used to guests rise for breakfast at half pastdownturn that accompanied the Second manage the Almageller Hut, which two in the morning, by ten o’clockWorld War, the hut was regularly pushing has now been taken over by Maria’s the first climbers will be returningmaximum capacity. Eventually, in 1976, uncle Hugo and his family. As a child, from their tours, and the work day

24 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018 often continues until well past ten at night. Working in such a remote location is a complicated affair: supplies must be brought in by helicopter, the only vehicle which can access the hut; and although some electricity comes from solar power, the kitchen relies on six gas hobs and a wood-fired oven; on which the team - humble in numbers but not in capacity - prepares meals for up to 130 people at once. Once breakfast draws to a close, they ready the place for an influx of day guests walking up from Saas-Fee - around four hours away - and from Hannig – a hike of around three hours. \"As you can imagine, our days are pretty intense,\" Maria says, smiling. \"But with the right team, it doesn’t often feel like work”. LIFE’S STRESSES ARE LEFT BEHIND In addition to their daily duties, the team at the Mischabel Hut is responsible for maintaining its water supply, the majority of which is sourced from the glacier above. At the start of each season, this requires Maria and her team to dig through up to five metres of snow to get the water flowing. Pipes, which must be checked daily thanks to the ever-moving glacier, run directly to the 20,000-litre on-site tank, and rainwater is collected from the roofs. The commitment is almost non-stop, with Maria

IN THE SHADOW OF GIANTS 25\"There are very few places where you are made tofeel so small and humbled - as a human being - asyou are on the summit of the Nadelhorn” Danny Stoffel, mountain guide OPPOSITE PAGE: GOOD TO KNOW SCALE THE NADELHORN Top: The Mischabel In ideal conditions, the Nadelhorn, which owesHut opens mid-June MISCHABEL HUT its name to an oval hole just below the summit, The Mischabel Hut is an especially worthwhile is one of the easiest ascents in the Mischabel through mid-Sep- destination for mountain hikers. While the group. That said, reaching the summit still tember. approach is well signposted and made safe requires a good degree of physical fitness, as with steps and wire ropes in exposed areas, it well as adequate experience with crampons. Middle: Access to still provides a challenge. Sturdy shoes are an The ascent from the Mischabel Hut takes an the hut is physically absolute must, you should be confident walking estimated four hours and involves a climb of demanding and un- in high alpine terrain and have a good head for over 1,000 vertical metres. The descent along suitable for children. heights- The route is unsuitable for children and the same route takes two and half hours.Bottom: The Mischa- dogs. It takes about four hours to walk from Saas-Fee to the Mischabel Hut and about three On this tour, there is a maximum group size of bel group’s ridge- from the top of the Hannig gondola. two per mountain guide. For two climbers, the lines are among the price is CHF 485.- per person, and for a soloabsolute highlights of Half-board accommodation at Mischabel Hut climber with a guide the tour costs CHF 880.- any mountaineering starts from CHF 56.00 for under-eighteens . The required overnight stay in the Mischabel and members, and CHF 83.00 for adult non- Hut - for you and your mountain guide - comes experience in the members. Hüttentee is provided and further as an additional cost (estimated overnight fee Alps. provisions can be ordered. for guides CHF 40.-). CENTRE: For more information: For more information: A magical night sky over the Mischabel Hut. [email protected] [email protected] THIS PAGE: Telephone Reservations +41 27 957 44 64 Top: Maria Antha- +41 27 957 13 17 Saas-Fee Guides AG matten is in her low season Obere Dorfstrasse 53 eighth season as a +41 78 835 20 72 3906 Saas-Fee Switzerland hut caretaker. . Bottom: Climbersset off on high-alpinesummit attempts firstthing in the morning, making the sunrises all the more spec- tacular.working for three consecutive monthswithout returning to the valley, in a jobwhich leaves little room for personaltime or space. Nevertheless, the hut-keeper-at-heart is sorry to see theshutters close at the end of eachsummer season. \"Most of my friendswouldn’t trade places with me foranything” reveals Maria, “but for me,it’s such privilege to be able to spendmy summers up here\". The sunrisesalone make it worth every minute ofhard work. “It’s as though all of life’sstresses are left behind in the valley”.

reservations 0041 27 957 13 17 off-Season Reservations 0041 78 835 20 72 [email protected] Restaurant / Pizzeria Boccalino Dorfstrasse 54 3906 Saas Fee [email protected]

IN THE SHADOW OF GIANTS 27\"Switzerland would be a mighty big place if it were ironed flat.\" Mark Twain, US-American writer and publisher (1835-1910) Photo: Puzzle Media Proud Giants: The Täschhorn (left, 4491m) and Dom (4545m), are the two highest summits in the Mischabel Group.

28 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018 FROM HEAD TO TOE Climbing is amongst the most instinctive of human activities. Nevertheless, the right equipment and technique are vital. The Saas-Fee Guides run courses for all levels, making use of the many climbing walls located around the Saas Valley. Photos: Danny Stoffel, Steffi Bumann, Puzzle Media Text: Patrick Gasser Translation: Danielle Moore & Adam Spensley THIS PAGE: Top right: Developing the interaction between mind and body is a big attraction of climbing. Bottom: The Saas Valley is a true climbing paradise. CENTRE: Above: In addition, sport climbing is great training for the whole body. OPPOSITE PAGE: Top: The Saas-Fee Guides offer climbing courses for all ability levels. “Climbing is a mental exercise. Gabriel Voide, mountain guide

FROM HEAD TO TOE 29W e watch on as eleven-year-old There are also perfect routes for one-to-two Sebastian searches for a handhold day climbing tours, one being the Dri Horlini for his right hand. With the left, he (Three Horns). This famous southeastern wall clings onto a fist-sized fissure in the rock face, lies to the north of the SAC Almageller Hut and while the toes of one foot balance on a narrow is peppered with twenty climbing routes with ledge. The pupil is held in place between a top difficulty levels graded from three to seven. The rope and the belayer beneath him: his mountain Jägihorn, which is easily accessible from the guide, thirty-nine-year-old Gabriel Voide. As SAC Weissmeis Hut above Saas-Grund, also beads of sweat roll down his forehead, he offers countless opportunities for climbers. listens to his mentor’s advice, “Try to keep your centre of gravity closer to the wall”. Sebastian Even though climbing is essentially an instinctive uses his right hand to reach into the chalk bag sport, there are some fundamentals you simply suspended from his harness; then, having cannot go without knowing: you need to learn figured out his next move, he uses that same the correct - and most efficient - footwork. hand to feel out a crack in the rock and grabs on Beyond that, the Saas-Fee Guides’ courses tight. His left foot then finds a foothold and he’s include rudimentary instruction on the different ready to move on. knots, climbing and abseiling techniques, and belaying methods used to secure oneself. The When sweat starts to flow on the climbing walls Saas-Fee Guides also offer courses aimed of the Saas Valley, it’s not caused by physical specifically at children: as early as seven years exertion alone. \"Climbing is a mental exercise,\" old, little ones will be able to start to enjoy says Gabriel, \"a great way to train and improve climbing through play; just like Zurich-born your mental strength.\" The certified mountain Sebastian, who grins from from ear to ear as his guide from Saas-Fee has been practising on his teacher, Gabriel, rappels him back down to the native mountains since the age of seven, so he ground. Mission accomplished! knows what he's talking about. Climbing comes naturally for adventurous children, especially GOOD TO KNOW when they grow up in the mountains. For some, that instinct to conquer the walls of your playpen CLIMBING COURSES OFFERED BY THE SAAS- has a tendency to follow them into adulthood. FEE GUIDES CLIMBING FOR THE NEXT GENERATION The Saas-Fee Guides provide climbing courses The Saas Valley is truly a climber’s paradise. for all ages and levels. Prices start at CHF 95.- Countless climbing routes of varying degrees of for introductory courses. Additionally, climbing difficulty are waiting to be discovered. If you’re harnesses and helmets are included. a beginner the climbing area near the Chapel ‘Maria zur Hohen Stiege’ in Saas-Fee is a great For more information: place to start. For experienced climbers, the climbing garden ‘Feechi’ by the hamlet of Unter Den Bodmen, which lies between Saas-Grund and Saas-Almagell, is a more challenging option. [email protected] The latter is considered one of the most beautiful climbing spots in the Upper Valais. +41 27 957 44 64 Saas-Fee Guides AG Obere Dorfstrasse 53 3906 Saas-Fee Switzerland

30 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018IN THE FOOTSTEPS OFSMUGGLERS The Saas Valley was once a hub of international trade. The Saracens themselves once used it as a trading route and, it’s said, gave the Allalin its name. But is there any truth in the story? The search for clues must begin at the Monte Moro and Antrona Passes.. Photos: Beni Willisch, Danny Stoffel, Ellen Amann Text: Patrick Gasser Translation: Danielle Moore & Adam SpensleyV alais has its quirks: cow-fighting Firstly, the altitude differential. Valais peaks peaks surpassing the four-thousand metre festivals; and a football club which at the 4,634-metre-high summit of the mark, which stand cloaked in snow and unifies the French-speaking Dufourspitze (Monte Rosa) and plunges all draped in icy glaciers. Lower- and German-speaking Upper Valais the way down to a modest 372 metres at minority. Not to mention the club president, the rivermouth where the Rhone joins Lake The Saas Valley, crowned by the Mischabel who, in his twenty year term, has dismissed Geneva. Down on the banks of the Rhone, Group and the Allalin, is one such high- no less than forty-seven managers. temperatures regularly soar beyond thirty alpine valley. It’s said that the Saracens degrees Celsius, making Valais a curious settled in the valley just over 1,200 years It’s the contrasts that make Valais one of but perfect hotspot for apricot cultivation. ago, and that the Allalin itself owes its name the most fascinating places in Europe. But that’s only half of the picture. Crowning to the Islamic bandit warriors who came high-alpine valleys, the canton has forty-five from North Africa. \"Al alin\", in fact, is the

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF SMUGGLERS 31 Title page: Like an eagle: A view of the Allalin from the ascent to Adler Pass.Arabic word for ‘source’. The connection the region’s now famous Eringer. While the the different German speaking areas of theseems obvious if you look at the snow and animals are small by today's standards, they summit today from Saas-Fee, are muscular and hardy. Above all, theybut in Walliser Geschichte, Arthur Fibicher are born warriors. Their fights to establish 900 years after the Roman conquest, Valaistells us \"it's a fallacy\". dominance have been a part of the region’s became part of the Kingdom of Burgundy. It folk festivals since 1923. Now, thousands was then that the Saracens also arrived andFIRST CAME THE ROMANS, THEN THE of spectators watch duels between the occupied the Great Saint Bernard region.BURGUNDIANS cows at \"Stechfeste\", the cantonal finals in Even then, the alpine pass in the southwestIn 57 BC, Roman troops made Valais part Aproz, with the winner named the Queen of Valais was an important trade route.of their empire. With them they brought of Queens. It’s a contest for the breeders Saracen raids on traders and pilgrims wentgrapevines and cattle, the ancestors of – but winning is also a matter of pride for on without consequence for some time; it

32 was not until 980 that the North Africans were eventually driven out, following eight years of conflict.LIKE AN EAGLEHowever, history suggests that the Saracens never actuallyreached the Upper Valais, where the Saas Valley lies, before beingdriven out. So, as for having named the Allalin, the Saracens areout of the question. Instead, we must assume the name derivedfrom the Franco-Provencal language, the influence of which isstill clear in the Swiss dialect spoken in the Valais to this day. Theoldest documented mentions of what we now call the Allalin areof the \"Agyuelina\" or \"Aquilinia\", both derivatives of the Franco-Provençal word for eagle. ‘The Eagle’ might seem an odd namefor the Allalin, which appears white and domelike from the Saas-Fee side. But, with a change of perspective, it fits. If you climb theStrahlhorn and continue on to the Adlerpass, then take a lookback, you will finally see the southern side of the Allalin in all itsglory. Viewed from here, the Allalin isn’t white and glaciated, butsteep, rocky and rugged. Layers of mighty ridges span the sky,with the peak their head, like an eagle with outstretched wings.SAAS-ALMAGELL AS A HISTORICAL CROSSROADS In the middle ages,Mountain passes have played an important role throughout Saas-Almagell washistory – smugglers and pilgrims have been making use of them a hub for merchantsfor thousands of years. Perhaps the most famous evidenceof early high alpine exploration is Ötzi, the 5,000-year-old and emigrants.glacier-preserved corpse found by a walker in the Ötztal Alpsin 1991. Further evidence came to light in 2017 when, afterthe midsummer melt, Bronze Age wooden receptacles andfragments of a bow and arrow were found on the Lötschenpass.It’s now clear that long before the Romans established regulartrading routes, the alpine passes were already well-used.By the Middle Ages Saas-Almagell had become a veritable hub for merchants and emigrants alike. TheFranco-Provençal term \"al manzell\", meaning \"at the fork\", gives an indication of where the name Saas-Almagell might originate. Indeed, between 11th and 13th Centuries, many Saas Valley residents used theMonte Moro Pass to move to the other side of the southerly alpine ridge that now forms the Italian-Swissborder. The influence of those pioneering Walser who migrated from the Saas Valley is still very muchevident in the language and architecture of the Italian village of Macugnaga, situated on the other sideof the pass.Comparatively recently, the valley’s Antrona Pass also became an established trade route. Around 600years ago, it was used to transport goods like salt, copper kettles and jewelry across the Alps. But the

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF SMUGGLERS 33 THIS PAGE: Romans, too, were found to have taken advantage of the same Top: Incredible views route through the mountains. Back in 1963, mountain guide Albert of the Mote Rosa Massif Imseng found a coin, an old Roman relic which has since been from the Monte Moro dated at over 2,500 years old. Pass. By 1792 trade on the Antrona Pass had grown to the point that the authorities built permanent facilities on the pass itself to handle CENTRE: the volumes of cargo passing through. However, the subsequent Top: Lago di Cingino construction of a permanent road over the nearby Simplon Pass reservoir on the Italian by Napoleon's troops spelled the end for the Antrona Pass’ side of the Antrona Pass. status as a supraregional trade route; the road not only allowed the French artillery to pass over the Alps with ease, but allowed Middle: The oldest traders to cross using stagecoaches too. known map of Valais, dating back to 1545. Bottom right: The view from Distelalp to Lake Mattmark. OPPOSITE PAGE: Bottom: The path to the Monte Moro Pass: 900years ago it was a thriving Walser trade route. GOOD TO KNOW HIKE THE ANTRONA OR MONTE MORO PASS ANTRONA PASS Hikers exploring the Antrona Pass can make use of of a short-cut which the tradesmen went without: a chairlift ride which takes you from Saas- Almagell to Furggstalden. From there, the path leads in a southeasterly direction over Mäslaugrabe to Chauff and on to Furggu. The old trade route then follows the floor of the Furgg Valley, at the end of which, the path to the Antrona Pass rises to 2,838 metres above sea level. The top of the pass can be reached in just over four hours and the reward is a magnificent view over the Antrona Valley and Cingino Reservoir. The entire hike takes about six and a half hours. Sturdy footwear and sure-footedness are a must, as the hike takes you through some rough terrain. MONTE MORO PASS The starting point, at the top of the Lake Mattmark dam, can be easily reached by Postbus and from there it’s a leisurely ascent all the way to the Distelalp. From that point, hiking boots are required as the old trade route winds its way up to the pass, which is overlooked by a golden statue of the Virgin Mary, standing at almost 3,000 metres. Just a few minutes from there you’ll find the gondola which takes you to Macugnaga. From the old Walser village, a bus heads to Domodossola, where there are excellent train connections back to Visp. The walk takes around 5.5 hours total. For more information: [email protected] +41 27 957 44 64 Saas-Fee Guides AG Obere Dorfstrasse 53 3906 Saas-Fee Switzerland

34 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018 HOTEL CHRISTIANIA coffee & cake fine cocktails snacks & relaxed chilled atmosphere book your private event with us +41 27 957 31 66 [email protected] find us on *HOTEL * BAR * CAFÉ * Mountainbike- GREAT atmosphere! friendly hotel.Storage room and * MUSIC * DRINKS *TAKE AWAY* workshop with Dorfstrasse 17 tools! 3906 Saas-Fee +41 79 868 14 53 [email protected]

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF SMUGGLERS 35\"Seek not good from without: seek itwithin yourselves, or you will never find it.\"Bertha von Suttner, Austrian-Bohemian pacifist andnovelist and first women to be awarded the Nobel PeacePrize(1843-1914)Photo: Puzzle MediaA farmhouse on Hannig, above Saas-Fee.


THE GLACIER FILM SET 37 Title page: Jack Mullner of Puzzle Media during filming of the Mountain Dew advertisement near Längfluh. THE GLACIER FILM SETIt’s not just tourists who are fascinated by the unique mountains and glacial landscapes of the Saas Valley; international film crews also appreciate the easy accessibility of the valley’s incredible backdrops. The services offered by the Saas-Fee Guides play a central role. Photos: Puzzle Media Text: Patrick Gasser Translation Danielle Moore & Adam Spensley

38 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018 THIS PAGE: Top left: Bollywood Star Hrithik Roshan on-set More than 170 years ago, the very first in Saas-Fee. tourists visited the Saas Valley, setting up Second down: High-end camera equipment their easels to capture the unparalleled arrives on-set. mountain landscapes. The industrial Third odown: The specially-constructed icy revolution had brought prosperity to Great backdrop near Längfluh. Britain, and that wealth bred opportunity, Bottom: Filming for Capelli Code, in a Fee at least for the offspring of the richest Glacier crevasse near Längfluh. factory-owning families. A desire for travel and adventure burgeoned, thus sparking CENTRE: the beginnings of long-distance travel to Top: A crew of over forty people took part in the Alps. But not everyone was satisfied filming the forty-second promotional clip for with painting the striking contrasts of Mountain Dew. autumnal larch forests and bizarre blue glacial ice formations. A number of those OPPOSITE PAGE: young industrial heirs felt the need to explore the mountains first-hand, and Top: Saas-Fee Guide Paul Swail stood in as a in the process they became the original stunt double for Hrithik Roshan. recreational mountaineers. To realize their Middle: Reto Sporrer, right, managing director climbing plans, they hired local shepherds of Saas-Fee Guides during filming for the and farmers, including, for example, the Mountain Dew advertisement. young goatherd and hunter Alexander Bottom: Filming on the Fee Glacier for German Burgener (1845-1910). This “King of the crime show, Capelli Code. mountain guides” became one of the most famous of his era, recording a staggering total of more than fifty first ascents in the Alps and the Caucasus Mountains. The Saas-Fee Guides owe a lot to the legacy left by local pioneers such as of Alexander Burgener and Matthias Zurbriggen (1856-1917). The fact that the area possesses such a rich history makes it all the more gratifying to see a new clientele discovering the mountainous vistas of the Saas Valley. Increasingly, professional production teams from all all over the world are drawn to Saas- Fee to shoot scenes for everything from feature films to advertisements. However, these new era guests require far more than a simple easel to capture the mountain landscapes. These days, high frame-rate, high resolution cameras with prices surpassing six-figure sums are commonplace on such shoots. OPTIMAL SHOOTING CONDITIONS In 2017, the Saas-Fee Guides supported several major productions (see information box). One such project was a multi- day advertisement shoot for the Indian subsidiary of soft drinks manufacturer Mountain Dew, featuring Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan. The Saas-Fee Guides arranged a unique backdrop for the shoot near the Längfluh mountain lodge. A crew of around two dozen people, along with several cable cars worth of equipment, were put to work throughout the course of several days’ filming. It was undoubtedly a logistical challenge, but \"the glaciers throughout the Saas Valley, especially at Längfluh, presented the perfect setting. By utilizing the valley’s network of cable cars, as well as the support offered by

the Saas-Fee guides, we sought out the \"The glaciers in the Saas THE GLACIER FILM SET 39very best conditions which enabled us to Valley, especially atcapture the film sequence as efficiently as Längfluh, GOOD TO KNOWpossible,” explains producer Paolo Sassi. make the perfectThe Italian Telemark-skiing enthusiast has backdrops.\" FROM BOLLYWOOD TO THE SUPER BOWLworked with renowned clients from all In the autumn of 2017, the Saas-Feeover the world since founding Shoot in Paolo Sassi, Shoot in The Alps Guides were called upon to assist withthe Alps, his production company which three major film productions in thespecializes in filming in the mountains. space of just a few weeks. Among those projects was the German televisionTHE SAAS-FEE GUIDES MAKE THE series, Capelli Code, for which the Saas-PERFECT CO-STARS Fee guides arranged a scene to be shotWhen filming in the Saas Valley, Paolo on the Fee Glacier, or rather, a crevasserelies on the services offered by the found within it. In the scene, personnelSaas-Fee Guides. Last year, he spent time from GSG-9 (a special task force of thescouting potential locations alongside German Federal Police) search for aReto Sporrer, Managing Director of Saas- missing person. The final product is setFee Guides AG. The film-maker enthuses to air on German television in autumnabout his discovery of \"innumerable 2018, kicking off a 39-part series whichpossibilities for recording on the glacier, features many famous actors, includingbut the Gorge Alpine found down in the Iris Berben and Heike Makatsch.valley is also brilliant. The fact that wecan shoot on relatively easily accessed Bollywood star Hrithik Roshansnow and ice scenes year-round is traveled from India to Saas-Fee tohugely advantageous.\" Throughout play mountaineer Arjun Vajpai infilming, the main role of Saas-Fee Guides an elaborately shot Mountain DewAG is safeguarding of the set and crew. advertisement. The Längfluh-based\"When there are large numbers of people set, provided by the Saas-Fee Guides,working in high-alpine terrain, and served as a backdrop for the stagingespecially when machinery is required, and filming of Vajpai's ascent of Choit’s essential to have the experience to Oyu in the Himalayas.ensure a controlled working environment.That’s why the mountain guides make the A second advertisement shoot, starringperfect co-stars,\" asserts Reto. American Snowboarder Chloe Kim, caught the attention of millions in the United States. The soon-to-be Olympic halfpipe champion came to Saas-Fee for summer training, and her exceptional talent on a snowboard was the focus of a private shoot which took place in the superpipe of Saas-Fee’s Summer Snow Park. The Saas-Fee Guides provided vital logistical support which included arranging the film set. Following a day of non-stop filming involving more than fifty individuals, shooting came to a close. The one-minute clip aired in one of the most watched and most prestigious advertising slots in existence: halftime at this year’s Super Bowl. The Saas- Fee-filmed advertisement promotes US television broadcaster NBC’s 2018 Olympic coverage. For more information: [email protected] +41 27 957 44 64 Saas-Fee Guides AG Obere Dorfstrasse 53 3906 Saas-Fee Switzerland


SAAS-FEEBOUTIQUE HOTELBAR & RESTAURANTSPAS&AWA SE-LFLENEESS THE CAPRA t: +41 27 958 13 58Lomattenstrasse 6 w: www.capra.chCH-3906 Saas-Fee e: [email protected]

42 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018SUMMERBELONGS TOTHE KIDS Through their summer camps, Saas-Fee Guides are providing something different for the next generation. Photos: Puzzle Media, Gabi Voide & Steffi Bumann Text: Patrick Gasser Translation: Danielle Moore & Adam Spensley S chool holidays are a highlight of almost every childhood. Sun, sea, sand and, above all, no homework. But why travel abroad when it’s so good at home? Holiday season means high season for Saas-Fee’s hotel and restaurant industry, making it particularly hard to get away for many parents working in the tourist sector. For families like these and many more, the Saas-Fee Guides are now running summer camps through the weeks of 24th to 27th July and 31st July to 3rd August. They are far from your normal camp offering, however, boasting four separate activity programmes (for more information, consult the detailed programme). In addition to climbing courses, trips to the Adventure Forest, and mountain biking in Saas-Grund, those aged ten to eighteen have the chance to visit Geissenalp, an alpine farm on the mountainside of Hannig. There, the young explorers will get an insight into the daily life of an alpine farmer, their herd of eighty goats, and, of course, cheese-making! After visiting Geissenalp, the group get to spend the night camping under the stars.

43 the Saas-Fee Guides. \"The summer camps offer kids an active holiday in the valley,\" says Saas-Fee Guides managing director, Reto Sporrer, fifty-six. \"We also see the camps as a chance to nurture young talent.\" It’s a sad fact that the number of newly certified mountain guides and ski instructors is declining across Switzerland. \"We want to inspire the youngest locals, as well as holidaymakers and their children, to enjoy the mountains and mountain sports, and to make them a part of their future. In doing so, we hope that we can do our part to slow the exodus of young people from the Saas Valley,\" explains Reto. “We also see the summer camps as a chance to GOOD TO KNOW nurture young talent.” DETAILED PROGRAMME AND PRICES Reto Sporrer, Managing Director of Saas-Fee Guides The Saas-Fee Guides summer camps will take place from 24th to 27th July Feature image: The Saas-Fee guides and from 31st July to 3rd August. On run one-day mountain bike courses as request, our activity programmes can part of their summer camp offerings. also be offered on additional dates, with a Middle: Making the most of the Gorge minimum group size of four participants. Alpine via ferrata. In the case of bad weather, the Saas- OPPOSITE PAGE: Bottom: Young Fee guides guarantee that an alternative mountain bikers train with a guide programme will be offered. as part of the summer activity programme. IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF SQUIRRELS THIS PAGE: Dates: 24th July and 2nd August Right: The Saas-Fee Guides Programme: Climb through the Adventure introducing kids to the world of rock Forest rope park, which features the highest climbing. zipline in Europe, relish a barbecue at Stafelwald, a mini golf tournament, and summerHOLIDAY FUN AND NURTURING tobogganing.YOUNG TALENT Price: CHF 135.- (all inclusive)Holiday-goers and young locals alike areall more than welcome. During the daytime, ALPINE LIFE AND CAMPINGchildren are under the constant supervision Dates: 25th and 31st Julyand care of staff members, and all activities Programme: Hike from Hannig cable cartake place under the expert guidance of station to Geissenalp, spend the day with an alpine farmer on Hannig, head to camp on Melchboden, enjoy a well-earned barbecue with friends, and spend the night under the stars. Price: CHF 165.- (all inclusive) DEEP IN THE GORGE Dates: 26th July and 1st August Programme: Practise climbing, abseil down from the thirty-two-metre-high roof of the village’s car park, and explore the Gorge Alpine via ferrata, all with professional mountaineers from Saas-Fee Guides by your side. Price: CHF 185.- (all inclusive) MOUNTAIN BIKING AT HOHSAAS Dates: 27th July and 3rd August Programme: Mountain bike down the forest path from Saas-Fee to Saas-Almagell and on to Saas-Grund, practice your skills on the pump track with a professional bike guide from the Saas-Fee Guides, take a gondola ride up to Hohsaas, and follow the trails back down again accompanied by your bike guide. Price: CHF 195.- (including meals and cable car tickets) Not included: Bike rental CHF 25.-, safety equipment (helmet, knee and elbow pads) CHF 10.- REGISTRATION For registration and more information: [email protected] +41 27 957 44 64 Saas-Fee Guides AG Obere Dorfstrasse 53 3906 Saas-Fee Switzerland

44 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018A SANCTUARYFOR CLIMBERSIn January, the best ice climbers in the world get together to compete. The location, bizarrelyenough, is Saas-Fee’s multi-storey car park. In the summer months, the same walls the ice climbersscale in winter make an excellent playground for days when the weather just won’t play ball.Photos: Puzzle MediaText: Patrick GasserTranslation: Danielle Moore & Adam SpensleyW eirdly shaped and vividly (UIAA) tour. For the athletes, this Saas-Fee coloured blue, black or yellow to stop is a real favourite in the World Cup correspond to different routes, calendar. Hundreds of spectators cheer on climbing holds jut out from walls hidden as they tackle the course, kitted out with ice deep in the parking garage. Ten stories picks and crampons. underground, Kurt Arnold, fifty, stands FOR RAINY DAYS on the top step of a ladder, drilling each individual hold into the wall. With even the “We wanted to offer bouldering wall standing at around three something to do on bad metres high, arranging the routes by hand is a considerable task: “it’s an ideal way to weather days” warm up” the Saas-Fee Guide says, smiling. Kurt Arnold, mountain guideIt’s a long way up from the very bottom of When the ice melts in the spring, the woodenthe car park, and the centre of the spiraling walls to which it clings are revealed. For theconcrete colossus boasts plenty of usable most part, the last twenty years have seenspace. That space, for around twenty years only highly skilled ice climbers train on thenow, has mainly been at the disposal of car park’s walls. But more recently, Kurt tellsprofessional ice climbers. Every January, us, a number of sport climbing routes havethe world’s best meet for the International been made available to the public. \"WeClimbing and Mountaineering Federation wanted to offer something to do on bad

A SANCTUARY FOR CLIMBERS 45Feature image: Yellow, blue, and black:Climbing routes decorate the sixteen-metre-high main wall.THIS PAGE:Top: Each January these walls belongto the world’s very best ice climbers.Middle: Kurt Arnold and his team havemounted fixed climbing routes ofvarying grades of difficulty.Bottom: The climbing walls are nowopen to the days,\" he explains. To that end, he GOOD TO KNOWspent part of the spring diligently positioningfixed anchors to mark out climbing routes Use of the climbing area is entirely at youron several of the car park’s walls. At sixteen own risk. On request, or in case of badmetres high, the main wall towers above weather, the Saas-Fee Guides run courses inus. Routes graded 4b, 4c, 5a, and 7a have the car park’s climbing space.already been installed, but there are moreon the way: \"There’s more than enough ADMISSION FEES CHF 5.-space,\" points out the expert. For the Saas- Young people up to 18 years CHF 10.-Fee Guides it’s a welcome extension to theirexisting climbing offering. The car park has Adults become a sanctuary for climbers, especiallywhen the weather won’t cooperate. ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP CHF 50.- Young people up to 18 years CHF 100.-The outwardly inconspicuous multi-storey Adults car park has a final surprise to offer: aplatform under the roof allows for a thirty- ‘Combo’ with Boulderkeller Saas-Grundmetre abseil opportunity... not for the faint-hearted. It’s advisable to take on this thrill of Young people up to 18 years CHF 60.-a climbing adventure alongside a Saas-FeeGuide. Adults CHF 115.- For more information see:

46 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018A CLIMBER’SPARADISE Step away from the stress of daily life and into the calming world of hut life. The Almageller and Weissmies Huts are ideal starting points for rock climbing adventures, and even just to get away from it all. Photos: Puzzle Media Text: Patrick Gasser Translation: Danielle Moore & Adam SpensleyE ach year, by June at the latest, twenty-six-year- were finally able to realize their plans thanks old Gabriel Anthamatten finds himself back at the to SAC Niessen. The most recent incarnation Almageller Hut. Alongside his parents, Hugo, fifty- of the hut, renovated in 2007, accommodateseight, and Karin, fifty-two, he runs the refuge-retreat situated 142 overnight guests and is the ideal startingat 2,894 metres above sea level. The hut, belonging to the point for ascending the 4,017-metre-highNiesen branch of the SAC (Swiss Alpine Club),opened in 1984, which makes it the youngest of itskind in the country. The area below the AlmagellerAlp, however, has been used for alpine farmingsince the mid 19th Century, and for over a hundredyears now has been home to a hotel which was infact used as climbers’ base until the mid 80s.For the Anthamattens, the Almageller Hut hasbeen a family operation since its conception.Indeed, alongside Donat Jäger, it was Gabriel'sgrandfather, a mountain guide, who originallysought out the funds for its construction. The pair Weissmies. It’s accessible too; from the top of the Furggstalden chairlift, the Almageller Hut is just over two hours away on foot. The surrounding area is also \"a paradise for rock climbing,\" says Gabriel. Climbing options include the rocky ridge known as ‘Dri Horlini’, the Portjengrat and the Lago Maggiore ridge. Every single one is more than worth it thanks to the magnificent views alone.

A CLIMBER’S PARADISE 47SURROUNDED BY FOUR-THOUSANDERSThe Weissmies Hut is another easily reachablesummer haven for climbers. Run by SAC Oltenand located at 2,726 metres, directly abovethe town of Saas-Grund, the mountain hut is anhour’s walk from the mid-station of the Hohsaasgondola. Now managed by Roberto Arnold,forty-one and Carla Arnold, thirty-five, it first opened in 1894, and its vintage OPPOSITE PAGE: GOOD TO KNOW charm has been carefully preserved Feature image: The even through the 1960 addition of view over Lake Mattmark, VIA FERRATA OFFERS second building which doubled from the summit of The Saas-Fee Guides offer expert-led tours of several via capacity to 130 berths. The hosts the 3,143-metre-high ferratas in the Saas Valley. One of the routes runs through themselves are still captivated the Gorge Alpine from Saas-Fee to Saas-Grund, high above by the panorama, \"the evening Mittaghorn. the waters of the Saaser Vispa. A second, with a starting atmosphere, with its view of no less Middle: This suspension point at Morenia, situated above Saas-Fee, takes you to than eighteen four-thousand-metre bridge is a highlight of the the summit of the 3,143-metre-high Mittaghorn. And lastly, peaks, is simply magical,\" says Jägihorn via ferrata tour. there’s the Jägihorn. All three via ferrata tours are suitable Roberto. for the whole family, with prices starting at CHF 115.- Bottom: Via ferratas For more information: The Weissmies Hut makes an ideal in the Saas Valley are base camp for adventure lovers. accessible for the whole From there, you can start ascents to Lagginhorn and Weissmies, family. [email protected] both impressive four-thousanders, Centre: One little climber as well as the 3,985-metre-high +41 27 957 44 64 Fletschhorn. A less arduous option stands on the summit ofis the Jägihorn via ferrata, which offers a truly Mittaghorn. Saas-Fee Guides AGspecial family-friendly climb. It’s the highest of Obere Dorfstrasse 53its kind in the Western Alps, ascending to 3,206 THIS PAGE: 3906 Saas-Feemetres above sea level but is still an accessible Top right: The via ferrata Switzerlandoption, provided weather conditions are safe to the 3,206-metre-high SAC WEISSMIES HUTand climbers are equipped with a via ferrata summit of the Jägihorn is The Weissmies Hut is open from the start of June to theset, sturdy shoes, a helmet and a good head for the highest in the Western end of September. Prices start at CHF 79.50 for adults on aheights. One noteworthy highlight is the trail’s half-board basis, inclusive of a three-course evening meallofty suspension bridge, but those who prefer Alps. and breakfast. Note, SAC member prices start at just CHFto keep their feet on solid rock can easily take Middle: A via ferrata set, 67.50. Further information and a detailed price list can bean alternative route. The Saas-Fee Guides offer found on their website.guided tours of the Jägihorn as well as other sturdy footwear, and For more Information:local via ferratas. a helmet are standard equipment for fixed rope adventures. [email protected] Bottom: The Saas-Fee Guides offer expert-led +41 27 957 25 54 tours on several via ferrata routes in the Saas Valley. SAC ALMAGELLER HUT The Almageller Hut is open to guests from mid-June to the end of September. SAC members pay CHF 22.- per night. For non-SAC members, an overnight stay costs CHF 39.00. Half-board packages are available for an additional CHF 41.00. Cash payments only (Swiss francs and euros accepted). Further information can be found on their website. For more information: +41 27 957 11 79

48 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018 Almagellerhütte SAC 2894m Tel. +41 27 957 11 79 +41 27 957 25 54 [email protected]

A CLIMBER’S PARADISE 49\"Intelligence is the ability to adaptto change.\"Stephen Hawking, English theoretical physicist,cosmologist and author(1942-2018) Photo: Puzzle MediaA mist drifts over the forests of Saas-Fee.

50 SAAS-FEE GUIDES . SUMMER 2018 ENDURO HEAVEN The Saas Valley remains one of mountain biking’s best-kept secrets, but the high- alpine terrain offers endless possibilities. Photos: Puzzle Media Text: Patrick Gasser Translation: Danielle Moore & Adam Spensley

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