Sunday, 18 July 2010

Day 3 - warning faffing could make you snow blind!

The alarm didn't need to go off at 5am as none of us really slept, a combination of altitude, excitement and people getting up at random times to start their day meant there was little chance of drifting off for more than an hour at a time.

Breakfast consisted of cornflakes, sweet cake and curiously (as was to become the norm in every hut) coffee drunk from your breakfast bowl!
Our bags hadn't been unpacked so once breakfast was complete it was time to move onwards and upwards and enjoy another blue sky day!

It may have been the lack of sleep, or the altitude, or plain and simple down to my skill as a competent 'faffer' (definition: someone who mucks about, wasting time doing something not necessary) but whatever the reason I managed to leave the albert premier hut at 6am without my sunglasses. This wouldn't become apparent until we were at least an hour up the mountain (therefore a potential 2 hour round trip to retrieve them from said hut).

Upon realising my loss there was a real danger that on the glacier I would get snow blindness. Now the guide told me that it is generally understood that you can go 1 hour exposing your eyes to the sun on a glacier without incurring any real long term damage so the best thing would be to rotate glasses with others in the group. For me this wasn't an option as I wasn't going to risk others going blind for my error.

Luckily we passed a group being guided by an Austrian who our guide (Andy) knew well and from his pocket he produced a pair of sunglasses straight out of the 1970s. He was named 'the saint' and of course I was just grateful for the glasses and didn't care which era they had come from.

A near disaster averted we continued a 2 hour walk in crampons across the Glacier our goal was to summit Petite Fourche (3520m). To get there we needed to employ the skills learnt on Day 1 undertaking some ice climbing and scrambling (which in crampons means your are left with large holes in your trousers!). We reached the peak at around 10am and enjoyed views across to the Matterhorn & Eiger.

We then had another 2 hour walk ahead to get to the Trient hut where we were to spend the night. With the exception of a power bar or two we had not eaten since 6am so the Rosti that we enjoyed when we arrived, tasted amazing!

The Trient Hut (3170m) in Switzerland, enjoys spectacular views across the Plateau du Trient, is less crowded and a lot cleaner than the Albert Premier.

After our 3 course evening meal consisting of soup, pasta and cake we played cards then headed to bed preparing for our 4am start (and hopefully without leaving anything behind this time!)

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