There was this epic trail on a ridge Michael was showing to me on Instagram on a daily basis.
But the second my feet stepped onto it and I looked around, I knew straight away – the real beauty can’t be shown on pictures. No matter how great they are.
You have to be there. See it with your own eyes. Feel the warm sun on your skin. Breath the fresh air. Feel so unreal but be so present. Feel your legs turning into jelly but still be forced to go ahead. Look down. Look up. Look everywhere. Just keep going. Sometimes on all fours. All fives cause you need to have the right mindset. And no vertigo.
Welcome to Hardergrat.
Grat means ridge. Hard is self-explanatory.
You can take the first train to Harderkulm at 8am. Or wake up 4am on your birthday, leave the hotel 4:30 and start your day and climb with your head torch on. Just to realise it will take you two hours to reach the top so you could be actually lazy and take that train. But that’s not how we do things. We didn’t really catch the first light but at least we had breakfast on a bench with view. No tourists, no people. Just some black squirrels.
Reading all about it on Alpsinsight i was expecting to get up and be on the ridge from very first kilometre. Actually we were, but with trees on each side you feel quite safe. Then it gets real. First climb on ridge and straight away you know that if you want to define ‘epic’ this is it. Everything else is boring.
But then you spend next 7 hours on the ridge. And it’s steep. It’s damn steep. Up. Down. Sudden drops. There must be a reason why the trail is not marked. Probably not to attract the tourists will be the first one. Don’t get me wrong, the peaks (at least the big ones) are marked. Until Riedergrat Blasenhugel. From there on, there is only way down to Oberried and that’s it. Let’s pretend the ridge ahead of you is not there? Since beginning we agreed we will cut it shorter rather than going all the way to Brienzer Rothorn.. But hey, not that short! There’s a switch back after one of the next summits. Sudden drop, scrambling down, and my dear brave husband says out loud something I was thinking about for a while now: ‘No way I’m not gonna climb any more mountains today’. In the end we had very little sleep and it is boiling hot.
One thing about Hardergrat. Stay on the route! It is not marked but it’s pretty clear where the path is and where is it going. Don’t be that stupid one who can see the lower route from above and decides going down looking for shortcuts. Long story short: I was that stupid one and for way too many nerve-wracking minutes I’ve never felt so close of losing it. Or losing it all. Got back up using the beautiful strong grass as rope, I sat on the trail and got hysterical. Right. Lesson learned and alive. Happy birthday to me..
Back on the route, and few more ups and downs on the ridge and voila the long awaited path down appeared. Looking in front of us I was never happier to go down. Even when it was down for another 1,500 vertical metres.
Hardergrat is like wild animal, animal you can not tame. You can play with it and you will love the views, but you have to respect the mountains and dont expect they will respect you.
Go there, play and explore.
Because if there is one place where you have to go, well, this is The One. Hardergrat.
If you want to know more about Hardergrat, definitely visit http://www.alpsinsight.com/