1 March 2009


Driving out of Kandersteg for the last time this trip it felt like I was putting an end to my [natural] ice climbing season (I had decided to make a trip to Russia and enter an ice climbing competition) my thoughts were with the Russian visa applicartion form as I reached the top of the hairpin bends in the dry road . I was distracted from the visa by the rattle of ice falling from the wheel arches but then found that the steering was rediculously difficult to turn, jammed ice? .......... suddenly I remembered the frayed alternator belt. Some of this belt had split off on the way to Dione and now it had totally gone taking the power steering with it. So the Russian Consulate would have to wait while I got this replaced. Steering the car was ok, if a bit of a workout, but after a couple of corners the brake pedal turned squat thrust heavy and needed a bit of handbrake assistance. What else is powered by the alternator belt??
oh yes, the water pump. As it was downhill from Kandersteg I could turn the engine off and coast almost to the garage. 120 Francs and an hour later the car was running again.

For the last couple of days in Kandersteg I had been doing a bit of skiing and also made a visit to Adelboden (a nightmarishly busy resort) but during these days I had totally sussed the skiing. Easy, approach corner, lean down hill, whip skiis round pivoting on balls of feet, catch tip of ski on something and scrape up snow using sunglasses.

By the time I arrived at Bern in my repaired car it was 1400 and found the Consulate closed at 1200. So hopefully a visa and flights can be arranged on Monday and I can get to Paris to fly on Tuesday???

Best of all though was a day on Elementarteilchen. An atmospheric route right from the start with stacks of steep climbing. Thanks to my host Markus Stofer for giving me the crux pitch. I was also lucky also that the top pitch was 1 hit ice as my body was complaining after the days efforts!!

Seconding P3: the first mixed pitch
(P1 led to screw belay. P2 second; steep ice simul to belay)

The crux pitch (bolt on lip pre-clipped)

More P4

A special topout from P6 with burning limbs in the sun.
(the left hand finish was taken for P6)

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