Nancy Hansen - Training for Everest

 
 Aletschhorn (4,193m) with the Matterhorn to the left.

Aletschhorn (4,193m) with the Matterhorn to the left.

Editor's note: ACC Ambassador Nancy Hansen will be attempting Mt. Everest via the Norton Couloir this spring. You wouldn't know it from Nancy's humble writing style, but this is a pretty big deal — the Norton Couloir, on Everest's North Face, has only been climbed twice and she'll be climbing in a team of two with no supplemental oxygen. Wish her luck in the comments at the bottom. 


 The objective: Everest North Face Norton Couloir. Photo by Jerome Ryan.

The objective: Everest North Face Norton Couloir. Photo by Jerome Ryan.

The Adventure Continues

The adventure of getting ready to attempt Mt. Everest this spring has entered Part 3. Part 1 was deciding whether or not to go after receiving an invitation from German alpinist Ralf Dujmovits last November. Part 2 was raising the money and getting gear sponsors (thanks everyone!!!) Part 3 is training. I have been bike riding and ski touring in Germany and Switzerland for the past two weeks. Ralf and I just returned from a 4-day ski mountaineering adventure in the Bern Alps.

First, we drove the crazy German autobahn where cars and trucks are driving between 80 kph and 250+ kph simultaneously. Then we got on a train that went from Interlaken to Grindelwald in Switzerland. The next train was supposed to take us to the base of the north face of the Eiger, but it was cancelled because of high winds. Ralf then announced that we were going to take the longest cable car in the Alps (7 km!) and traverse on our skis to try and get to the upper train station. The cable car took us through a massive ski area which contains dozens of houses scattered amongst the runs. We traversed and took a couple of chairlifts to reach the upper train station. This station is right at the base of the 1,800m high north face of the Eiger, in the alpine without a road in sight. Despite the alpine setting, there is a big hotel, restaurant, chairlifts, downhill skiers and… a train that tunnels up inside the Eiger. We got off part way to look out the windows onto the north face, then continued up through the Mönch and Jungfrau. We walked through a dark tunnel to a door which opened onto a glacier at over 3,400m. I feel like I'm on another planet!

 How all good ski tours in the Alps begin.

How all good ski tours in the Alps begin.

 Cable cars, chairlifts, and of course, a train ride that tunnels up inside the Eiger and deposits you at over 3,400m!

Cable cars, chairlifts, and of course, a train ride that tunnels up inside the Eiger and deposits you at over 3,400m!

 We had blue skies, no wind, good skiing (sometimes) and no crowds! Who knew? Ralf enjoying good turns.

We had blue skies, no wind, good skiing (sometimes) and no crowds! Who knew? Ralf enjoying good turns.

 Blue sky in the Bern Alps.

Blue sky in the Bern Alps.

 Surrounded by beautiful peaks.

Surrounded by beautiful peaks.

 Truly spectacular ski mountaineering on the Hinter-Fiescherhorn (4,025m).

Truly spectacular ski mountaineering on the Hinter-Fiescherhorn (4,025m).

 Ski mountaineering on the Hinter-Fiescherhorn (4,025m). Ralf skied it – I chose to down climb with crampons!

Ski mountaineering on the Hinter-Fiescherhorn (4,025m). Ralf skied it – I chose to down climb with crampons!

 Life at a European “hut”, 3,048m.

Life at a European “hut”, 3,048m.

 Day 4: 38km, 1,600m up, 3,400m down. Started the day at the Mönchsjoch Hütte (3,658m), up and over Louroihorn (3,779m), up and down Abeni Flue (3,962m) and ski out to the Swiss Village of Blatten (1.540m). Tired!!

Day 4: 38km, 1,600m up, 3,400m down. Started the day at the Mönchsjoch Hütte (3,658m), up and over Louroihorn (3,779m), up and down Abeni Flue (3,962m) and ski out to the Swiss Village of Blatten (1.540m). Tired!!

 Our chariot heading back to Interlaken arrived on perfect Swiss time, of course.

Our chariot heading back to Interlaken arrived on perfect Swiss time, of course.