This week and next we have two guest posts from Jo Mclaren who works in operations and recently tackled the Swiss Alps with member of Go Ape from up and down the country, heres their adventure in their words:
“After several months of built up anticipation, it was time to embark on Go Apes first expedition to the Swiss Alps.
The team was made up of 10 staff; Jo Mclaren (Operations), Dan James (Thetford), Tom Matthews (Forest of Dean), Martha Cross (Trent park), Matt Debenham (Alice Holt), Phil Mcfarlane (Cannock), Chris Bills (Sherwood), Natasha Wolley (Whinlatter), Rebecca Devlin (Crawley) and Nick Mallett
The plan of the expedition was to bring staff working from all over the country together. To unite as one team, and fit as many challenges and experiences that were possible into 6 days.
After arriving in Geneva airport, we hired 2 cars, loaded up the expedition bags and drove 3 hours winding our way up the valley to our basecamp in Kandersteg. We pitched the tents and cooked some wholesome food in preparation for the following days activities.
Day 2 – Gemmi Pass Trek, 2346m
After breakfast, we walked to the bottom of the Sunnelbul cable car station. The first day involved an acclimatisation trek up the Gemmi pass, we ascended around 700m and walked around 13.5 miles. The scenery was awe inspiring and breath taking, the winding trail went through the alpine meadows, past the Spittelmatte plateau working its way past the Daubensee lake to the Gemmi pass. Halfway up the pass we encountered our first patch of snow. This was swiftly followed with people diving in the snow, bare chested for some!), creating snow angels and bum sliding down the slope! Once we reached the top of the pass, the team were all blown away with the views of the Matterhorn in the distance and it made way for a picture postcard picnic stop – wraps and tuna were to become one of our steady diets for lunch each day! Once we descended back down the valley we arrived back at camp around the sociable time of 5.30pm. We then split into smaller groups, to decide who was buying some food in town, preparing food, cooking and washing up. After a great first day, we all enjoyed a tasty curry and went through preparations for the next challenges ahead the following day.
Day 3 – Allenalp Via Ferrata and Bunderspitz Summit, 2,546m
After a hearty breakfast, we set off for an early start. We left the campsite at 7.30am and arrived at the bottom of the Allenalp cable car station before walking up past the bottom of an amazing waterfall. The temperature was increasing and the towering rock face above was in the sun. An early start was needed on the Via Ferrata before it became too hot. We had all doused ourselves in sun tan cream, however, as we climbed the imposing walls the sweat from the temperatures meant the cream was dripping into our eyes – which certainly added to the experience! The next 3 hours were spent climbing 500m up an exposed rock face next to a waterfall.
After topping out, we enjoyed some lunch in the shade. Once everyone had refueled, I pointed to the top of the Bunderspitz behind us, we had around 1000m ascent. The sun continued to shine so we walked slowly, slowly up through the alpine meadows which then increased in gradient and steepness. To gain the ridge we used a chain around a rocky slope, past a snow patch to lead up to the summit. The vista at the top of the mountain was amazing, we could even see the mountain hut we would be sleeping in on the following night, looking like it was ‘on a knife edge ridge just above a glacier’. We returned down the valley in time to make the last cable car down. After such a successful day and arriving back to camp around 6.30pm, we had a lovely meal, followed by an early night in preparation for an ascent up to the mountain hut the next day.”
Make sure you check back on Monday to here the second half of their inspiring adventure …