Monday, August 27, 2012

Tour Photos: Engadine Trek (II) 2012

Mike Thurk shot these photos during our second Engadine Trek of the summer. This handsome group hiked the eastern Swiss Alps during mid August.

Ryder-Walker guest "Jim" (pictured right) demands that the group stop for a beer. We hope they stopped because Jim clearly had his trip leader, Staffan Bjorklund, by the throat in this photo. Note* Threatening your tour leader is not a suggested use of trekking poles. For a beer, however, we understand.

That's the Sciora mountain range in the background. Can I get a witness?

Mountain Kung Fu.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Photo of the Day: Good Inspiration

Here is a picture of Tim Wood and I on our last day of the Via Alpina 3. This is the view from the finish of our 5 day hike from Gstaad to Montreux, Switzerland.

Here, we're standing on top of the Rochers de Naye (2,042 m), a rugged mountain on the west side of the Swiss Alps. We started early in the morning after I put out the challenge to Tim. A full day of hiking, around 18-20 km with about 2000 vertical meters uphill! (That's about 6500 feet of climbing!) It took us 6.45-7h, which was awesome. Tim is a good inspiration, 64 years old and really strong. He is also the only one who's done all stages of the Via Alpina series in Switzerland. 

-Staffan =) 

From the rest of the RW Staff: Way to go Tim! Congrats. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Photo of the Day: Bonfires and Ballyhoo

Mike Thurk shot this photo during the Swiss National Day celebration on August 1st. Here, a bonfire rages above the Swiss village of Adelboden in a high alpine pasture called Engstligenalp.

Mike and his group of Via Alpina II hikers needed only to walk out the door of their mountain guest house to participate in this annual celebration. Mike said there was plenty of beer, brats, and revelry to go around. A fantastic fireworks display and a post-firework thunderstorm added a stunning finale to an already-perfect hiking day.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Photo of the Day: Summiting the Klein Augstkummenhorn

Do you see that mountain with the arrow? That’s the Klein Augstkummenhorn in Switzerland. Ryder-Walker trip leaders Staffan Bjorklund and Daniel Sundqvist summited the KA during their free time between hiking tours.

According to Staffan:

After three days of very “interesting” weather, we finally managed to summit the Klein Augstkummenhorn. We’d been weathered out of two attempts during the previous days. Thunder and lightning don’t exactly go hand in hand with climbing, so we drank liters of tea in the warm and cozy Wiwanni Hütte and enjoyed some nice social games. Once on top, we had a great view over the entire Rhone Valley and some 4000 meter peaks including the Weisshorn (4506 m), Zinalrothorn (4221 m) and the Dent Blanche (4356 m). The most striking, however, was the view of the Bietschhorn (3934 m). The Bietschhorn doesn’t belong to the 4000 meter club, but we couldn’t care less. 

Right on!

You can follow Staffan at his personal blog:

Images: Top: Klein Augstkummenhorn with the Wiwanni Hütte in the foreground.
Bottom: On the summit of the Augstkummenhorn. L-R: Staffan Bjorklund, Maria, Daniel Sundqvist. 

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Photo of the Day: Authentic Swiss Guy

Mike Thurk thought he'd found a real-life gnome when he captured this photo during the Via Alpina II. Gnome or not, this guy is authentic Swiss. (like old-school traditional Swiss...maybe even descended from Wilhelm Tell).

How do we know?

Aside from the most obvious clues like his outfit, the hanging flower arrangements and the neatly stacked woodpile:

-He is a perfect height with respect to the front door of the chalet. (Old chalets have small doors which are usually too small for non-Swiss).

-The images that Mike took of him came out in black and white. (A sure sign of authenticity).