9 hiking highlights from 2013

Halstätter Gletscher

Late afternoon on the Hallstätter Gletscher

In 2013 I hiked more than in any year before. I walked in South Africa, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I explored a rain forest, climbed a 3, 000 m peak and crossed a glacier. In no particular order, here are my nine hiking highlights of 2013. 

1. Ascending a 3,000 m peak

In August I walked the Kesch Trek backwards. To round the trip off we did a little d-tour and climbed the Schwarzhorn (3, 146 m). The Swarzhorn trip has been my favourite day in the Alps so far.

2. Walking in a rain forest

While in the South African Drakensberg, I did a day trip in the Cathedral Peak reserve including a walk through the Rainbow Gorge and its rain forest.

In a rain forest in the Drakensberg

Entering the Rainbow Gorge in Cathedral Peak

3. 1st August bonfire

1st August is a Swiss national holiday and the Swiss celebrate it by lighting bonfires. I had the luck of experiencing one of them high up in the Alps at Chamanna d’Es-cha.

4. Dodging snow on the Rumer Spitze

2013 saw a lot of snow in the Alps, which took its time to melt away and complicated numerous trips well into the summer. I tried to climb the Rumer Spitze at the end, but didn’t make it due to snow. Nevertheless, our attempts to get past the snow made for a fun trip.

5. Chilling at Chamanna da Grialetsch

One more from the Kesch Trek. Chamanna da Grialetsch is currently my favourite Alpine hut. Sitting in the sun on its little stone terrace, eating apple tart and chatting on day three of the trek was divine.

Chamanna da Grialetsch

A sunny afternoon at Chamanna da Grialetsch

6. Walking on the Hallstätter Gletscher

Last year I also learned some mountain skills. I did a mountaineering course on the Dachstein and crossed the Hallstätter Gletscher in the process.

7. Surviving the heat in Monk’s Cowl

Really more than a highlight, the state I was in as I was cooking in the midday sun in the Drakensberg was last year’s hiking low. Getting through it and arriving on the Monk’s Cowl escarpment was so much better for it though.

Swimming in a waterfall

Doreen Falls: A cold swim in the Drakensberg

8. Swimming in Doreen Falls

Our trip in the Cathedral Peak reserve scores two highlights just in one day. The second actually came first. It was a very cold swim on an otherwise hot day. The best part was that while the Doreen Falls is a destination in the reserve, there was no one there.

9. Sleeping under a dog blanket

Spending a night tucked under a dog blanket at Chamanna d’Es-cha must be one of the highlights of last year’s hiking. Not that it was so nice, but it provided plenty of entertainment the next morning and beyond. And, if I may say so, the perfectly flee-less dog blanket kept me nicely warm the whole night.

Past year’s exploits:

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