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The  story

Episode 1: The start (10.06.2024)

The doubtful weather forecast for the coming days was confirmed by rain in the morning. We intended to do another training day and test our ski setup, consisting of the ski touring gear and simple flying harnesses. A cameraman wanted to catch the start of the XPEAKS project for a TV documentary. Since we concluded that most probable we would not start yet, we determined that he would not come – wrong decision.

After leaving our homes in Frutigen by foot, we took off on Trutten in the early afternoon, only 200 m above the village. The lift was weak, and it took quite a while to reach the low cloud base of 1800-1900 m. After traversing the Kandertal, we flew via Kandersteg to Gasterntal, where we managed to land at Gfelalp on 1840 m. Walking up 1000 altimeters brought us above Lötschenpass, whilst we were still indecisive whether this was a training day or the actual start of our XPEAKS project. On 2840 m we took off. In the luv of the clouds, we managed to get over the Hockenhorn and got breathtaking views to sunny mountains and huge banks of clouds, partly almost 2000 m below us. After traversing the Lötschental, we found amazingly good and gentle lifts at the Bietschhorn ridge, allowing us to climb high enough for crossing the Beichgrat. The strong north föhn, that made this exceptional flight possible in the first place, caused heavy lee turbulences and challenging conditions for the landing at the unattended Oberaletschhütte, where this brilliant first day full of uncertainties adventures and challenges came to an end.



Episode 2: Jungfrau area (11.-13.06.2024)

We left the Oberaletschhütte well before dawn. After reaching and celebrating our first 4000 m peak, the Aletschhorn, we took off roughly 100 altimeters below the summit, in a lee protecting  us from the strong NW-wind. After landing on Jungfraufirn on 3200 m, a short ski ascent brought us to the manned Mönchsjoch hut. We were amazed that despite excellent snow conditions, the whole Jungfrau area was deserted.

Our Wednesday warmup was climbing the Mönch. A beautiful early morning flight from the summit brought us to Ewigschneefeld. After walking up below Fieschersattel on skis, we left our gear and climbed the Gross- and the Hinter Fiescherhorn. Back at our depot, we made a short glide flight to Gross Grünhorn. Climbing this summit was a pure pleasure, the conditions were excellent. From below the summit, we flew to the unattended Finsteraarhorn hut, where we highly appreciated the sunny afternoon for relaxing and drying our gear.

On Thursday, we climbed the Finsteraarhorn. It was harsh and the drinks froze in our rucksacks. Due to strong winds, we could not take off from the Hugisattel as planned, so we skied down to 3500 m, where we took off short before noon. The sporty flying conditions allowed us to fly in 3 h via Fiescheralp, Wiwanni and Augstbordhorn to the Rimpfischhorn, where we landed on Längfluegletscher on 3650 m. After climbing this summit quickly and with low effort, we made a short flight from Rimpfischsattel to Allalingletscher, and stood on the summit of the Strahlhorn on 18:15h. Back at the gliders, we got ourselves some fun kiting, before doing a long glide flight in beautiful evening light to the manned Monterosahütte. Due to the wind forecast for the coming days, we decided to leave our gliders at the hut for our next stage, the Monterosa.


Episode 3: Monterosa (14.-17.06.2024)

Early start on Friday at 2:35h. At dawn, the weather turned nasty with wind gusts of 100 km/h, poor sight and precipitation. We put on additional layers of cloth and kept going, whenever possible turning our heads in the lee to prevent sleet blasting of our faces. After the Nordend, we climbed the Dufourspitze and strenuously traversed through powder snow to the Zumsteinspitze and further to the Signalkuppe, where we made an extended break in the warmth of the Capanna Regina Margarita. Around noon, we skied down to Rifugio Gnifetti. Thanks to an already well-prepared track for the Monterosa Sky Marathon on Sunday, this was easy, despite poor sight.

On Saturday, we slept long and just made it for the latest breakfast. After bundling up more calories in the form of cake and waiting for a weather brightening, we climbed Punta Giordani with stormy winds but acceptable sight, and went back to the Rifugio Gnifetti for lunch, tiramisu and more rest.

The weather improved on Sunday. After a crowded breakfast in the Rifugio Gnifetti, which was fully occupied with 230 clients, we climbed the “small” 4000 m peaks Vincent Pyramid, Corno Nero, Ludwigshöhe and Parrotspitze, then traversed Lyskamm and Castor, and completed our journey with the Pollux. A nice ski descent brought us to the cosy Rifugio Guida d’Ayas.

On Monday, we traversed the Breithorn group (Rocchia Nera, Gendarm, Breithornzwilling, Breithorn Ostgipfel, Breithorn Westgipfel) and skied down the spectacular descent via Zwillingsjoch to Monterosahütte. After a rich lunch at the hut, we walked up the long way to Stockhornpass on skis. From there, moderate wind allowed us to kite up the Cima Brioschi and to fly via Strahlchnubel to Adlergletscher. After some more kiting on this glacier, we found thermal lifts that allowed us to pass the Längfluejoch and glide to the Täschhütte.


Episode 4: Alphubel, Allalinhorn (18.06.2024)

The splendid morning light made up for the early start in the dark. We deposit our gliders on Alphubeljoch and walked up the Alphubel on skis in its sunny east face, in the lee of the strong SW-wind. Back at our Gliders, we climbed the Feechopf. The snow piled on the easy ridge traverse to Feejoch and made it delicate and time consuming. Therefore, at the first opportunity, we skied down the steep NE-face and made it this way via Feejoch to Allalinhorn. After a long break in the lee of the Feejoch, eating sandwiches and observing online nearby wind stations, we decided to take off. The turbulences while flying were as expected and we made it safely to Kreuzboden on the other side of the valley. From there, it was only a short hike up to the Weissmieshütte. At the hut, we used the melting water for a cold shower and got a warm welcome from the hut team, offering us excellent, rich food and drinks for free.