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Published: October 22nd 2017
Geo: 46.1769, 7.80989
Based on the threat of a 3,000ft climb over the first 3 miles of the hike and the somewhat treacherous encounter with the snow on the Meidpass the prior day, the girls decided to let Aaron and me venture forth on our own towards the Augstbordpass while they opted to board a bus at Gruben and travel to meet us on the other side. The guidebook described this section of the hike as one of the more demanding taking over 5 hours to hike the distance, but also indicated it affords some of the best views of the trail so Aaron and I felt we could not pass up the opportunity.
Aaron and I set out prior to 8am to allow plenty of time and quickly learned that the book was not inaccurate about the climbing involved during this stretch. We kept a methodical pace and passed another group that set out earlier than us. At a sign junction we paused to catch our breath and snap photos of the nearby cows. Aaron checked our time and noted we were 30 minutes faster than the expected time, and we were feeling strong. We continued to climb and pass/be pased by/and
re-pass some of the folks that had we had come to know from staying at the same places the last couple nights.
Ultimately, Aaron and I reached the pass first and found that our hopes of seeing some sun were quickly vanished as dark clouds were moving up from the east. After a brief snack, we quickly descended the other side in a rainstorm that quickly dampened our gear. Fortunately, it ended almost as quickly as it began (which seems to be common in the Alps), and we continued our steady fall as the skies cleared and afforded some decent views of the valley below.
Perhaps our greatest excitement of the day came as we neared Jungen when I rounded a corner and found myself looking directly at an Ibex. We watched them move around the mountain and marveled at their sure-footedness. After a few moments, we continued down down the mountain where impeccable timing resulted in us walking into the smiling faces of the girls as they dismounted the gondola car. We spent some time enjoying the views at Jungen, and then rode down St. Niklaus and our night at the Hotel Edelweiss.
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