Tragedy. We arrive at the gondola the moment it opens only to be told that avalanches in the area have prevented them from operating the lifts, additionally the ranger says that anything over 2,000 meters is extremely dangerous and impassable. Our entire trip that we've been planning for months traverses over mountains that are all over 2,000 meters! Ian and I are crushed. Was the trip ruined?
We had a meeting. The theme of the meeting was, "You can't keep a LaBadie down". We threw open the maps and considered our options. Was there any way to get back on track, up to Merigen which was our destination that day? However, all the options required a 2,000 meter or more ascent which was impossible. That's when we started to think outside of the box. We noticed that the mountain directly behind us had very little snow at 2,000 meters plus. We deduced that the northern side of all the mountains received more afternoon sunlight after the morning fog burned off than the southern and that the trails were more likely to be navigable. Even though it was the opposite direction we had planned, we decided to head north. We quickly ascended the Fluematt gondola (below left) up to Ristis. Here I am starting our trek to Rugghubelhutte, about a 5 hour hike. Mount Hahnen (2607 meters) is in the background.