Zboczeniec

Path of a Pervert

Everything flows, as Panta Rhei said, and no man ever steps in the same river twice, but on the other hand the history repeats itself, so the quotes have to be chosen according to the circumstances, as the point of view depends on the seat. I said what I knew.

But it had a deep meaning, as you will find out later.

The route from Ouchy in Lausanne to Pully, which runs along the banks of the lake – Sentier des Rives du Lac – is simply beautiful. The views of the Alps, the lake and the vineyards sooth and calm in a therapeutic way. However, I warn you – sometimes it can be crowded, and then calming will not be fully calmed.

Returning to the repeating history, this route was described on the pages of my blog, in an article Farewell to Autumn. Now, I move forward to discover something new around the corner…

Still ’round the corner there may wait
A new road or secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.
/J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings/

This time at the end of the port of Pully, where on the very edge of the lake there is a pool, I do not run further along the shore of the lake, but I turn left into Route du Port and reach the route cantonal (Route de Vevey). I go through the pedestrian crossing to the other side and along Chemin des Vignes I run up several meters.

Art with a capital Ar

Art with a capital Ar

I turn left, towards a bizarre, red-and-steel sculpture and immediately to the right, to the hidden in the bushes Path of a Pervert (Sentier de Pervert).

Beginning of the Path of a Pervert (Sentier de Pervers)

Beginning of the Path of a Pervert (Sentier de Pervers)

Squeezing my buttocks and all the time looking nervously behind me, I run up through the vineyards, untill the gate in the wall. Here, with astonishment, I rub my eyes! On the big sign on the left I can see that this is not Sentier de Pervert but Sentier de Pévret, which means peppermint in the local dialect. I have to be exact in reading and careful in assessments…

It turned out, however, that it was not a pervert

It turned out, however, that it was not a pervert

Behind the gate, I turn right and climb to the church. In the front of the temple there is a viewing terrace from which, as the name suggests, the view is visible. View to the lake, to the Alps and to the vineyards of Lavaux, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. From Ouchy to this place about 4 km.

Tough guys don't stop, they just run further...

Tough guys don’t stop, they just run further…

However, my route continues further, along the street at the western wall of the church and Restaurant du Prieuré, in which the Polish Carnival Ball was organized some time ago by the Polish Association in Lausanne.

I run through the pedestrian crossing on the Rue de la Poste, then the bridge over the railway tracks, and finally through the tunnel under Avenue de Lavaux, I run into the steep street Chemin de la Clergère. After 270 meters, I turn right into Avenue de Rochettaz, and then after 230 meters, turn left into a one-way Chemin du Caudoz, where garbage containers are located.

The street climbs steeply, until the next bridge over the railway tracks through which I pass and after a while I turn right into Chemin de Leisis following the indications of the yellow signpost “Tourisme pédestre“.

To the right...

To the right…

After 200 meters, the street changes it’s name to Chemin de Volson and climbs sharply. Just before Chemin des Sapins, I jump right into the forest’s narrow path*, which I discovered only after some time running in this area, which confirms my opinion that we should never stop exploring.

Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find...

Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find…

The path leads down towards La Paudèze stream (whose estuary to the lake is located between Pully and Paudex) and then slightly upwards, below the sawmill building. Here starts recently opened sawdust path, which falling and rising, brings me to Stand de Volson (526 m above sea level).

*Before finding the path through the forest, I was passing Chemin des Sapins and continuing straight on until Chemin du Stand. I was turning right and runing lightly down. I was passing the sawmill from the top and running on to the same place, which is Stand de Volson. From Ouchy about 6.4 km.

There is a crossroads of tourist trails here and a lot of parking places. So, it was possible to get here by car! Why did I get so tired instead of traveling like a civilized tourist!?

- What? Tytus is already here? - We have broken the record of the time to climb to the top and you were here before us. How did you do that? - Normally. By bus. Like a civilized tourist... - ...you pay and demand. With music, heating and a guide who speaks three languages. Bye, because the bus leaves. /H. J. Chmielewski, Tytus, Romek i A'tomek, volume  XII/

– What? Tytus is already here?
– We have broken the record of the time to climb to the top and you were here before us. How did you do that?
– Normally. By bus. Like a civilized tourist…
– …you pay and demand. With music, heating and a guide who speaks three languages. Bye, because the bus leaves.
/H. J. Chmielewski, Tytus, Romek i A’tomek, volume XII/

For beginners runners and walkers, arriving by car can be a good solution because the real adventure / nature begins only here. To the right, through a barrier blocking the passage of cars across the bridge, the road leads to Belmont-sur-Lausanne and then to Savigny and Tour de Gourze. To the left, sharply up the hill, by the wooden steps, there is a path to Epalinges and the distant Chalet-a-Gobet and straight ahead to Signal de Belmont.

So, I choose the gate number…

Path with fountains, like… carousel with Madonnas

Get in, madonnas, madonnas
To the drays with six horses, six horses
/Ewa Demarczyk, Carousel with Madonnas/

In the north of Lausanne, about 500 meters above the surface of the Lake Geneva (Lac Leman) the great green wood extends  Bois du Jorat. I often visit it to ride a bike or run. Each year, me and my family take part in the big sport event: Journée Lausannoise du Vélo.

The best known and most frequently chosen starting point for all kinds of excursions is Mauvernay sports center in Chalet-à-Gobet. There are the starting points of health paths (Zurich Parcours Vita and Helsana), horse riding tracks and mountain bike routes.

I went there also on that day, when I decided to hit the route aptly named Le Chemin des Fontiers des Bois du Jorat. The fountain road was created in 2003 on the occasion of International Day of Forests and World Water Day, which we celebrate on the 21st and the 22nd of March with the UN initiative.

The horses levitate over the ground,
They are staying on the layover with their drays

Already centuries ago, the most abundant sources in the forests in the north of Lausanne were captured into a network supplying drinking water to the city and surrounding communities. Sources of minor importance were used to supply fountains at the edge of forest roads, primarily used by loggers. Today, all visitors to this charming place can enjoy it.

The water service (Service de l’eau) and the forest service (Service des Forêts domaines et vignobles) prepared a useful map of the route with locations of each fountain.

Plans are worthless but planning is everything /Dwight D. Eisenhower/

Plans are worthless but planning is everything /Dwight D. Eisenhower/

Roadside signposts with the inscription Chemin des Fontaines and information boards are also helpful.

Follow me...

Follow me…

The basic route measures 12 kilometers. Those who want to see 2 additional fountains must add another 7 kilometers.

The madonnas shifted
And the procession of horses
Quickly took off.
Flying around
Gramophone
Disk…

I choose the opposite direction than the flyer suggests, but clockwise. From the building of the sports center I turn left and immediately after the information boards with maps I turn left again and start running up the asphalt path. I run alongside the large buildings belonging to the forest service and continue down the Route des Corbessiers untill Route du Golf. On the other side of the street, continue down the forest path in western direction to the Military Fountain [1] (Fontaine des Militaires), about 2 kilometers from the start.

Fontaine des Militaires

Fontaine des Militaires

20% of the water that falls to the ground in the form of rain or snow is filtered through the molasse subsoil*, which occurs in these areas, and then enters the groundwater. Before the water reaches the surface again and comes out as a source, it is further filtered and mineralized by the rocks through which it flows (here most often limestone rocks).

*Molasse (Latin mollis ‘soft’) – sedimentary rocks whose accumulation occurred in the vicinity of the mountains, during their uplift or soon after the rise; Their main ingredient is rock crumbs from the destruction of the mountains.

For safety and order I must mention that the water in the fountains on the route may be drinking (eau potable) or uncontrolled (eau non contrôlée). Uncontrolled water does not mean that it is undrinkable. This only means that the water supply service is unable to provide continuous quality control of the water. Depending on external conditions, changes in its appearance, odor, taste, microbiology and chemical composition can occur (for example, after heavy rainfall).

The next 600 meters, I run the gravel forest path of Chemin des Liaises towards the west. When I reach the asphalt road Route des Planches, on the opposite side I see the next fountain – Fountain of the Mill Stones [2] (Fontaine des Meules).

Fontaine des Meules

Fontaine des Meules

As you have already noticed, the names of some fountains are bizarre, and their etymology can reach the dark of “Middle Ages” (although in fact the Middle Ages were not at all dark). In some cases the origin of names can not be determined… Either way, the creators of the Fountain Way have tried their best and they have put information on every fountain about it. I will not give that information, but I encourage to explore the route and to know the history of the fountains, sources of water and its chemical composition.

From Fontaine des Meules I head north, slightly up the hill through the forest and when I reach the asphalt road, turn right. About 1 kilometer from the previous fountain I get to the Chalet des Enfants, a charming restaurant serving Swiss cuisine and in particular the regional one.

Fontaine du Chalet des Enfants

Fontaine du Chalet des Enfants

This time I only recall the previous visits to this place, I drink from the Fontaine du Chalet des Enfants [3] which is located in the yard and I continue east on the asphalt road. Just before the junction with the main road, I turn right between the trees where the walking trail goes (yellow signpost), I cross again the Route des Planches and follow the forest path untill the Fontaine des Gollies [4]**.

** Gollies can mean: deep depression full of water, hollow filled with water, pool, pond. In the dialect of Suisse romande it means “hole in the stream”, and in medieval Latin “hole” or “pond”. The proverb says “Ça pleut toujours dans les grandes gollies“, what is translated as the rain always falls into the large pool, which means that money always goes to money.

Fontaine des Gollies

Fontaine des Gollies

I drink a few sips, I take a few pictures and then I make a few steps back to the Route du Golf. I cross it and by the path between the meadow and the forest I run north-northeast, all the time keeping on to the marks Chemin des fontaines. After 1.5 km I cross the bridge over the largest stream passing through The Jorat Forest and stop for a moment at the Fontaine des Côtes [5]. The name of this fountain comes from the picturesque and winding banks of Le Talent River.

Fontaine des Côtes

Fontaine des Côtes

The official map mentioned above is accurate enough that you do not have to keep proposed route, but you can search for your own paths, shortcuts or… extensions. The map is like a pirate code, rather a collection of guidlines, not real rules.

Code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.
/Captain Barbosa to Elizabeth Swann/

In order to see two more (extra fountains), I would have to run back and forth the same way as the authors suggest, which always arouses my deepest aversion. So I do not run further to the north, as the map and signposts suggest, but I go back a few dozen meters across the bridge and turn into the first path going to the right (north-west).

In a while, in a moment...

In a while, in a moment…

A gravel’s road runs along a steep slope above the riverbed of Le Talent and is parallel to the official route running on the other bank, by which I will return in a while, in a moment… The path along the river turns southwest and after a while to the west.

Ville de Lausanne 1978 - Service des Eaux

Ville de Lausanne 1978 – Service des Eaux

I pass a waterworks buildingon located on the right side of the path. When I reach the asphalt of Les Saugealles road, I make 3 steps on the right side and run again into the narrow path leading right down between the trees. I went back to the asphalt road, which in the meantime changed the name to Route de l’Abbaye and turn right to… the abbey.

Abbey de Montheron

Abbey de Montheron

Montheron Abbey founded in 1142 years by the Cistercian no longer plays its former role. From the times of glory remained only a small church and… a large restaurant (sign of our times). Fontaine de l’Abbaye de Montheron [6] and the supplying source of Holy Hipolit are on the opposite side of the road, at the beginning of the return journey along the riverbed of Le Talent.

Fontaine de l’Abbaye de Montheron

Before I can move in that direction, I have to “pass” another fountain, to which leads unfortunately only an asphalt road. I continue down the Route de l’Abbaye towards the west until the Route de Montheron and I turn left. About 100 meters on the left side of the road there is an asphalt square with a small building behind which the Fontaine de l’Orée des Bois [7] is hidden; what means “fountain at the edge of the forest”.

Fontaine de l’Orée des Bois

Fontaine de l’Orée des Bois

Today, the edge of the forest is far away from the fountain, which only confirms the negative impact of a man on nature. Although, it has to be acknowledged that the Swiss protection of forests has finally entered into the constitution, which is an idea worthy of imitation.

I go back to the abbey following my own tracks and according to the plan I run up the river Le Talent, which cuts into the picturesque steep walls of the ravine. In the winter, on the sandstone rocks, fantastic ice waterfalls are created, but the valley is beautiful and well worth a visit whole the year.

Their lone waters–lone and dead,– Their still waters-still and chilly With the snows of the lolling lily... /Edgar Allan Poe, Dream–Land/

Their lone waters–lone and dead,–
Their still waters-still and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily…
/Edgar Allan Poe, Dream–Land/

About 2.5 kilometers from the abbey I reach the same path where Fontaine des Côtes [5] is located and which I left about an hour ago to diversify my sightseeing tour. I’m not coming back to this fountain but I turn left sharply at 180 degrees and run a gravel road uphill to the north. After 600 meters the road turns again to the south (I do not turn to Froideville) and after another 550 meters I stop at a wooden hut and Fontaine des Trois Moineaux [8] hidden behind it. In this case, the etymology of the name is very simple – someone,… once,… saw three sparrows bathing in that fountain and because sparrows in the forest are the rarity, so that already remained.

Fontaine des Trois Moineaux

Fontaine des Trois Moineaux

Afters next 1.2 km I reach Fontaine du Paiement [9], at which still in the 70′s the forest inspector was paying (as the name implies) salaries for a dozen woodcutters working in the Jorat forest. I drink the water waiting for Godot, sorry… for the forest inspector, but a duffer did not show up and paid nothing, so I felt offended and I ran further.

Fontaine du Paiement

Fontaine du Paiement

I crossed again Le Talent, much narrower in this place and after several dozen of meters I turned sharply to the left in east direction. When an extensive clearing opened in front of me, I turned right parallel to the forest edge and roughly halfway of the meadow, I followed the “fountain trails” sign and turned to the left. On the asphalt road, I turned right to the already visible building where horses often graze.

Fontaine de Moille Saugeon

Fontaine de Moille Saugeon

This is Fontaine de Moille Saugeon [10] distants from its predecessor by 1.2 km. The name of the fountain suggests it was once “a humid place where willows grow”. Now there are no willows, and the place is not humid at all.

***Moille  humid place, peat bog, swampy place, often in the hollow area; from Latin ‘mollis’  soft, delicate.

****Saugeon  willow; from the Latin ‘salix’ and the French ‘saule’, a tree that usually grows in meadows and along streams.

And if they would even go, where would they go?
Where would they go, let’s say, willows?
By the river? But they are by the river,
And march to the sea – is too far.
/Jan Brzechwa, Trees/

So further, towards the sea… Mediterranean Sea, which means due south, slightly up the hill, again to the forest. After several hundred meters I turn left from asphalt to gravel road and reach the Fountain of the President [11] (Fontaine du President).

Fontaine du President

Fontaine du President

It is neither the “leader of the free world” nor the leader of the nation, who “is so put to patience and long-worn collar that it is ready to bite – the hand that try to bares it.” The fountain is simply next to the largest and highest silver fir (white fir) in the Jorat forest, called “President”.

President or... Major

President or… Major

The age of the tree is estimated for 300 years and its height is over 50 meters, before it was “beheaded” for safety reasons. It should not be called President now but Major, like Major Davel, who was also beheaded by Berneseans, who occupied the Canton of Vaud in XVIII century. I mentioned this important event for Switzerland in the article From Ouchy to Saint-Sulpice.

Another 1.1 km and I am coming back to Chalet-a-Gobet. But before I close the loop of my route, I also visit the Fontaine du Chalet-a-Gobet [12], whose granite reservoir is standing next to the tavern serving local cuisine.

Fontaine du Chalet-a-Gobet

Fontaine du Chalet-a-Gobet

The fountain was used for watering horses that transported people and goods along the road connecting Lausanne and Bern. I am not a horse but nevertheless I drunk clean and cold water. Then I calmly ran to the sports center from which I started – something ends…

***

The creators of this itinerary warn in the leaflet that using it after dark can be dangerous – so you already know where to find me at the nearest full moon – something beginns…

I see a looking-glass tale, where instead of the sun,
Procession of blessed candle watch over the corpses of the ancients,
Tale which from itself is endlessly slide out
In order that never to slide out to the end…
/Boleslaw Leśmian, Prologue/

Early spring

Early spring

Seasons, cyclical changes in the nature, bird singing in the spring and finally winter storms. Everything has a purpose that fascinates biologists, naturalists and geographers. Also poets will find interesting topics for poems in the annual dying and rebirth of the world. Seasons allows runners to run in different but always “beautiful circumstances of the nature”

The route around Rolle is already known to you from my previous episodes, but I found there something new and interesting recently.

It was the first day of the early spring. The south wind blew and turned the piles of snow stacked along the sidewalks into the liquid mud. Into the hair and into the mouth, into the nostrils, into the cheeks and into the ears of the children hurrying to the nurseries this dry, strange wind was blowing.
/Stefan Żeromski, Early Spring/

Just around the early spring, when the trees and bushes have not released yet new leaves, I visited my personal “Mr. Muscle” route.

Might as well jump. Jump!  Go ahead and jump  Get it in, jump. Jump!  Go ahead and jump  Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump!  /Van Halen/

Might as well jump. Jump!
Go ahead and jump
Get it in, jump. Jump!
Go ahead and jump
Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump!
/Van Halen/

As I was running happily down from the highest point of the route (760 m), on the path above Gilly Hospital, I have seen on the right side a mysterious monolith. Usually, it is not visible from the route because it is covered by dense vegetation.

You can run on for a long time Run on for a long time Run on for a long time  /Johnny Cash/

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
/Johnny Cash/

Sooner or later God’ll cut you down Sooner or later God’ll cut you down  /Johnny Cash/

Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
/Johnny Cash/

With some kind of shyness like the monkeys in the first scenes of “Space Odyssey”, I began to approach the obelisk. There were no special effects, just on the other side was the relief of two women. The inscription under it proclaimed:

In memory of
Dr. Charlotte Olivier
Initiator of the fight against tuberculosis
Grateful Canton of Vaud

Who was this woman doctor and why her monument was hidden in the middle of the forest? What an interesting story came to me from the bushes…

Charlotte Olivier was born in Russia in 1864, in a family of doctors of German origin. After completing her nursing school in St. Petersburg in 1894, she began to study medicine at the University of Lausanne. During her internship she met Dr. Eugène Olivier, whom she married in 1901. She led her medical practice in the Canton of Vaud. At that time, tuberculosis was gathering a tragic harvest among the people in Switzerland as well as in whole Europe.

Tuberculosis (TB) – is a widespread and potentially lethal infectious disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis mostly affects the lungs, but it can also attack the central nervous system, lymphatic system, blood vessels, osteoarthritis, urogenital and skin. In the past, tuberculosis was called consumption because in a short time it led to severe athrepsia with hemoptysis, fever, pallor and progressive weight loss.

The notion of tuberculosis is etymologically derived from nodules, changes visible in histopathology examination in a tissue changed by tuberculosis.

World Tuberculosis Day is celebrated on March 24th, on the anniversary of the day when Robert Koch identified and described mycobacterium tuberculosis in 1882.

Dr. Charlotte Olivier, on the basis of clinical trials, but first of all all on the basis of observation of patients’ living conditions, became aware of the importance of contextual (environmental) factors in the formation and development of this disease. By checking the level of education, housing conditions, work hygiene and… alcoholism, she was able to accurately determine the health status of people infected and prognosis for their cure; often better than using traditional medical intervention.

Exhibition in Musée national suisse - Château de Prangins

Exhibition in Musée national suisse – Château de Prangins

Madame Olivier has become a symbol of a doctor who, in his thinking of health and illness, went beyond purely medical schema. She understood the need to act on different levels to improve the health of the population. She also noted that education and improved living conditions are key factors in halting the tuberculosis epidemic. She stubbornly argued that legal changes, education of healthcare professionals and patient education were necessary. She mobilized women in the canton of Vaud and started training specialist (visiting nurses) who helped to treat patients directly in households and educated the population about hygiene and adequate nutrition.

I am deeply convinced that education on the fight against tuberculosis in our country will systematically develop and appropriate legislation will be passed in order to respond better than in the past. (The work) must be split between men and women. To them belong the lawmaking, the construction of hospitals and the introduction of necessary reforms and to us (The Women’s League) the fight against ignorance and raising the funds.
/Charlotte Olivier, The Women’s League Conference, May 29, 1912/

Her actions on the political and social arena and the enormous stubbornness finally brought definitive changes in the Canton of Vaud and in the whole Confederation. The number of members of the cantonal association for the fight against tuberculosis rose from 200 in the year 1911 to 9 000 in the year 1913. This was due to the information campaign of the Women’s League in Lausanne, headed by Charlotte Olivier. Thanks to her efforts, the first federal law was enacted, specifying the scope and methods of combating tuberculosis, and in the year 1921 a million francs from federal funds were awarded for this cause.

So why the monument of such outstanding character was placed in the forest, away from the busy streets, squares and places? As it turns out, it was justified …

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the cantonal associations for the fight against tuberculosis decided to create a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. Of course, Dr. Charlotte Olivier engaged in this initiative. The association acquired the property Essert, beautifully situated between the vineyards and the forest, with a wonderful view of the Lake Geneva and the Alps.

Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc

The first resident appeared in the restored manor house, which began to be called Pavillon de la Côte, on April 11, 1923. The pavilion functioned as a sanatorium for over 40 years and was transformed into a general hospital in 1965. Since 1989, there is also a rehabilitation center.

Dents du Midi

Dents du Midi

When Charlotte Olivier died in 1945, at the age of 81, her husband, Eugène Olivier, scattered her ashes near the Pavillon de la Côte and the grateful citizens of the canton set up a monument. Bas-relief was based on one of the photos of a doctor at work.

With so much knowledge about the personage from the monument, I was able to run further comfortably. However, I was not comfortable with the additional knowledge I gained during the “monument investigation”…

Despite the significant development of medicine since the days of Mr. Koch, tuberculosis is unfortunately not a disease that has been eliminated. Although tuberculosis is associated mainly with the ancient times and a few well-known characters which went to glory due to this illness, it still collects mortal harvest on our planet.

As a result of the attrition caused by the tuberculosis died Anton Czechov (aged 44), Franz Kafka (aged 40) and George Orwell (aged 47). From Polish writers Juliusz Słowacki and Zygmunt Krasiński died of tuberculosis. According to recent reviews, Fryderyk Chopin was probably not suffering from tuberculosis, but cystic fibrosis, and that was the cause of his death. Also Charles Bukowski (you guess why I’m referring to him) did not die of tuberculosis but was sick with it. With this character involves an interesting anecdote.

When Bukowski was about 70 years old, he got seriously ill. He felt bad all year long. He visited all expensive doctors but none could help him. Bukowski was a friend with actor Sean Penn and he took him to his personal doctor, the best in Beverly Hills. After conducting blood tests and taking x-rays, the doctor also could not recognize the illness.

Bukowski was an admirer of cats and one day he took one of his pets to a vet. The vet had a cabinet in the deprived area of the city and frequent contact with the poor people. He looked at Bukowski and immediately said that he has tuberculosis. He did not need any research to recognize this. Tuberculosis is primarily a disease of the poor and probably all Beverly Hills physicians were unable to recognise it; they may have never seen tuberculosis.

Of course, “the best” Beverly Hills physician was embarrassed when he realized that the vet had made a good diagnosis. He wrote the right medicine and within a few months Bukowski felt good.

Enough with the anecdotes, only facts at end. According to WHO data:

  • Tuberculosis is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.
  • In 2015, about 10 million people fell ill with tuberculosis and nearly 2 million died of it.
  • Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Six countries lead in this unhealthy list: India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa (60% of all tuberculosis cases in the world).
  • In 2015, about 1 million children were infected with tuberculosis and 170 000 died (excluding children with HIV).
  • TB is a leading killer of HIV-positive people: in 2015, 35% of HIV deaths were due to TB.
  • Globally in 2015, an estimated 480 000 people developed multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).
  • TB incidence has fallen by an average of 1.5% per year since 2000.
  • It is estimated that between 2000 and 2015 about 49 million people have been saved through TB diagnosis and treatment.
  • Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is among the health targets of WHO.

Neither the state with its laws, nor the doctors themselves nor the nurses themselves can achieve this. Only cooperation and coordination of all forces will ensure victory…
/Charlotte Olivier, The Women’s League Conference, May 29, 1912/

Mammut 24h Hike

Like a real freak, already one week after 91-kilometer race in the canton of Grisons, I moved out on the trails around Zermatt. I shall march with a group of several dozen people for 24 hours across the peaks and valleys surrounding the most famous mountain in the world.

It is better however to terminate in the beautiful madness than in the gray, boring banality and stagnation /Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz/

It is better however to terminate in the beautiful madness than in the gray, boring banality and stagnation
/Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz/

Mammut 24 Hike is an event organized jointly by Mammut and Ochsner Sports. Be part of it is not easy, because the number of applicants exceeds the number of places. I applied a few times and finally in the year 2015 I managed to get a place. This year was a special one…

Memorable year! Happy is he who beheld thee in our land!
The folk still call thee the year of harvest,
but the soldiers the year of war; old men still love
to tell tales of thee and poets still dream of thee.
/Adam Mickiewicz, Pan Tadeusz, translated by George Rapall Noyes/

In 2015, Zermatt has been celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first ascent on the Matterhorn, which was made by Edward Whymper and his companions. You can learn more about this event important for the mountain tourism in the article The Call of the Matterhorn.

Participants met at the square close to the train station in Zermatt (1608 m above sea level). We received there waterproof jackets Mammut Zermatt Jacket Men, chocolate (Toblerone of course), sunscreen and water. Backpack Mammut Lithium Matterhorn and the lamp Mammut T-Trail were delivered a few days earlier by post to the home address. We were divided into two groups and after the official start of the event we moved up the town towards the cable car. In front of us, partially in the clouds, the majestic Matterhorn was rising up

A view to the Matterhorn from the promenade

A view to the Matterhorn from the promenade

Together with us in the march attended Viktor Röthlin (Swiss runner, European champion in the marathon in 2010) and Didier Défago (alpine skier, gold medalist of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver).
Mammut on the run with Viktor Röthlin

Mammut on the run with Viktor Röthlin

The beginning was peaceful. We took Furi cable car up to Schwarzsee (tickets were provided by the organizers). The Lake Schwarzsee (2552 m) lies in a small hollow at the foot of the Matterhorn, and its surface is often very dark, even black, and hence its name. In it’s dark water nicely reflect white walls of a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows (“Maria zum Schnee”). According to the legend, the chapel was built by two inhabitants of Zermatt, who lost their way in the fog. They promised that if survived, they will build a chapel. They survived and kept their word.

Our way (Hörnliweg) was leading us up over the banks of the lake in the direction of the mountain, which could not fail to notice. We walked the route, which 150 years ago was traversed by Edward Whymper and his six companions.

Hörnliweg

Hörnliweg

We arrived to the Hörnlihutte shelter (3260 m) late in the afternoon when the sun was hiding behind the ridge of the Matterhorn. The organizers have offered different kind of drinks and sipping slowly who likes what, we were watching the reddening peaks of Monte Rosa Massif. The day was drawing to an end…

Monte Rosa massif at sunset

Monte Rosa massif at sunset

The first shelter was built here in 1880 from the initiative of the Swiss Alpine Club. Next to it, in 1911, the town of Zermatt built a mountain hotel (Belvedere). Since then, the two shelters were operating separately, which sometimes resulted in quarrels, as well as generated double cost. Only from 1987 the joint care was taken by the team from the Belvedere. And in 2015, after more than 100 years of operation and on the occasion of the famous jubilee, they modernized both buildings and combined them into one.

The common welfare is the scale,
Unity greater than two.
/Adam Mickiewicz, Song of the Philarets/

Transformations have been thought that the new Hörnlihutte meets modern requirements for environmental protection, safety, hygiene and functionality. Renovation has greatly contributed to reducing the impact of the building on the environment, in particular through the implementation of ecological water management, ecological waste management and improved energy balance. Roof surfaces are equipped with photovoltaic modules to produce electricity, while on the terrace are solar collectors for hot water production.

Hornlihutte shelter (lower left corner) on the background of the Matterhorn

Hornlihutte shelter (lower left corner) on the background of the Matterhorn

When the darkness has come, above us on the Hörnli ridge (Hörnligrat), the lamps have been turned on to indicate the route of the first ascent to the summit in 1865.

Hörnligrat by night

Hörnligrat by night

After dinner, Viktor Rothling talked about his races, trainings and nutrition, and wished all of us a good night…

…and I slept very well despite the height but… short. It was meant to be, so before dawn I went to the dining room for a nutritious breakfast, I suplemented reserves in water bottles and exactly at 6 am we set out for 24-hour hike.

The tour was extremely interesting. From the shelter we initially marched down our route from previous day and after some time headed toward the Zmutt Valley which in the middle of the nineteenth century was still filled by the glacier. To this day, forehead of the glacier retreated by as much as 2 km.

In the Stafelalp restaurant (2200 m) we ate second breakfast, completed inventories (supply on the entire route was excellent). Nourished and full of enthusiasm we moved up the valley, and after a few hundred meters we started climbing on it’s north wall.

Second breakfast time

Second breakfast time

I will not describe exactly the further route because, as you know, I still do not have a watch with GPS and besides of that, I remember the rest of the tour as a slideshow of postcards… kaleidoscope of images and emotions…, the fatigue mixed with endorphins.

The weather was sensational. Peaks, glaciers, forests and trails in and around Zermatt presented in all its scenic splendor and beauty. Among other things, we won Mettelhorn peak 3406 m. We climbed on it throught quite large expanses covered with snow and on the top a fabulous view was waiting for us.

We visited Hotel du Trift (2337) twice, which on that day was a nutritional point not only for the participants of Mammut 24 Hike, but also for the runners of Matterhorn Ultraks race.

In the evening we had dinner in the restaurant Edelweiss (1961 m) and set off for the night part of the expedition, lighting the way with Mammut T-Trail headlamp.

At the end of the hike I was falling asleep standing up and a couple of times staggered a bit but thanks to poles not landed on the ground. It did not happen to me last week in Davos. Maybe because for a short part of the night I slept comfortably at the point of accommodation.

The finish on the Gornergrat (3089 m) just before 6 am with the sounds of “We are the Champions” was the perfect crowning of 24-hour effort.

A view to the Gornergrat from Edelweiss restaurant

A view to the Gornergrat from Edelweiss restaurant

Then else we had a breakfast which put me on my feet and supplemented lost calories, official farewell, jubilee T-shirt Mammut (150 Years T-shirt) and a train ticket to Zermatt. In such a a nice way ended 24 hour hiking with Mammut.

Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who
travelled far and wide after he had sacked the
famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit,
and many were the nations with whose
manners and customs he was acquainted;
moreover he suffered much by sea while
trying to save his own life and bring his
men safely home.
/Homer, Odyssey/

The end of the odyssey

The end of the odyssey

 

 

DYPLOM

Return to Heidiland

It passed the time required for the Earth to come full circle around the sun since…

Heidi ran to the far edge of the slope and continued to wave her hand to Clara until the last glimpse of horse and rider had disappeared. /Johanna Spyri, Heidi/

I returned to Grisons, to take part again in the mountain race Swiss Irontrail, organized by my beloved Mammut. However, using the principle of “continuous improvement”, which was burned in my brain, but most of all in my heart during 17 years of working in some company (“Thank You for Smoking”), this time I chose distance of 91 kilometers, means more than twice long as last year, when as you remember, I ran 41 kilometres.

To the starting point in Bergün I reached by train. This time, there were no questionable “attractions” with the participation of bandits, which I described in previous article. On the route there were real attractions. Rhaetian Railway connecting two historic railway lines Albula and Bernina is the UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered one of the most spectacular rail routes in the world. The surrounding landscape with its quaint villages and romantic Alpine views is also the part of the World Heritage. The route was opened in 1904, it has almost 130 kilometres and runs through 55 tunnels and 196 bridges, of which the most famous is curved Landwasser viaduct.

In the sport hall I picked up the starting number with a chip to measure time and the GPS device allowing to locate me on the route. It was possible to eat bananas, chocolate bars, bouillon, Coca-Cola and water. For competitors running longer distances (121 km and 221 km) it was already another nutrition point.

Among people competing with me in T91 I saw Ildikó Wermescher and Csaba Nemeth, professional runners belonging to Mammut Pro Team Trail Running, who, as it turned out later, won in this category. We talked briefly about running, Mammut, last year’s impressions from the race (it turned out that together with Ildikó we ran T41), Nemeth highly praised competitions played in Poland in which he participated (Race of 7 Valleys). I made a picture with Ildikó but unfortunately the quality is not the best one, nevertheless, there is a souvenir from a nice meeting and conversations.

I must once again raise the matter which I have meditated and written about recently. With horror I have noticed that as well as I, Ildikó and Nemeth had no Mammut socks! We had everything “Mammut brand” but only this “sock’s crack” in the appearance…

The gun fired at 13:00. We moved initially on flat terrain (1373 m) and after a while started climbing to 2,831 m above sea level. As it is known, if for some time is uphill, then most likely later it is down. So it was this time.

After part of the run in the vicinity of 2800 – 2600 meters above sea level, I went down from Pass digls Orgels (2699) to Savognin (1173). There was another nutrition point and the first night’s lodging. I noticed that some runners had help from families or friends who were waiting for them in main food / accommodation points and delivering fresh clothes for disguise, embrocating warming / analgesic ointments and feeding with delicacies. I had not thought about it and did not involved my family in helping on the route. My fans have only to greet me at the finish, as last year but it turned out that T91 is much more demanding than the T41. Another tip for the future.

Anyway, in Savognin I did not decided yet to sleep. I have just eaten and drunk and moved forward…

Nocturnal part of the route I recall with great fondness because it was an experience other than that with which man meets on a daily basis. Night chill, mysterious noises, crackling, voices of animals and werewolves and continuous focusing not to lose the route. Ah, something wonderful!

I decided to spend the night in Lenzerheide, the town where a year ago I started T41. I fell as dead and after a second (ah, this time dilation) I already stood up when the alarm clock rang in the watch. In the glow of the morning I set off on already known last year’s route but very different by the accumulation of fatigue. From Lenzerheide (1473) a way led up again above 2500 meters.

This time at Weisshorn (2653) there was not a snowstorm, but everywhere enveloped moist, dense fog. What made me wonder were screech of gulls and the salty smell of the sea. Something was wrong here…

Suddenly from the fog emerged a guy with a strange convex forehead and a funny mustache. He had matted hair, haggard and dirty face and eyes expressionless. He wore a stained faded, old bombazine coat, pantaloons of a similar character, a pair of worn-out shoes run down at the heels, and an old straw hat. It looked like individual pieces of clothing that he was wearing did not belong to him. He mumbled something unintelligible. When he saw me, he walked unsteadily in my direction. I was a little scared and squeezed harder poles, ready to defend. Strange guy asked in English:

- Is this Baltimore?
Then, I was already sure.
- Dear Edgar – I said – This is definitely not Baltimore, and it seems to me that you will not come back there. I think seraphim in heaven listened to you in the end and you will be able to meet with your beloved Anabel.
- Who are you? How do you know me? How do you know about Anabel?
- It may sound strange, but I read your stories and poems, as well as a description of… your mysterious death almost 170 years ago.
- You are saying that I am dead for 170 years?
- Well, I think you do not belong neither to the world of living nor the world of dead. You are suspended between them. And the time passes differently for you (ah, this time dilation).
- So this is Dream-Land?
- Not yet, but close.
Screeching seagulls and the sound of the sea has intensified …
- You have to go in the direction of the sounds. Anabel is already waiting on the beach.

He silently raised his hand for farewell, he turned and disappeared into the swirling mist. Running down towards Arosa and to the next nutrition point I have heard behind me a long restless roar like the sound of thousands seas. I have not stopped, I ran incessantly.

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
/Edgar Allan Poe, Annabel Lee/

In Arosa, I made a break for a meal and a short rest in fantastically equipped anti-atomic bunker. It was the third and last place where one could sleep, but I did not use this opportunity anymore. The pillbox was equipped with bunks, toilets, showers and a kitchen. But there are some people (especially in Geneva) who complain about the tragic conditions in this type of premises. This is not a villa with a garden of course, but for sure the place is safer than a mud hut in Eritrea being strafed with mortars.

The climb from Arosa was moderately mild but the rain pouring from the sky made it far more difficult and to the last nutrition point in Jatz (1831) I arrived terribly exhausted. When tired and sleepy, I was scrambling to the last pass on the route, leaned on the poles, I thought why am I overstraining myself so much? And the next step up… Why, at my own request I am undergoing such a torture? And the next step toward the finish line… This is the last time, never again! And the next step…

At the Strelapass I exchanged a few words with the person who kept the checkpoint and “ticked” from the list, I ran down having the last five kilometers of the route in front of me.

When reached Davos, people on the streets, despite the night, were applauding and greeting me. HAPPY I crossed the finish line!

According to Datasport I was the last ranked participant in my category; some people did not complete the race. This time I beat 90.2 km horizontally and + 5420m / – 5240m vertically.

When relaxed, happy and proud I calmly ate grilled sausages and drank beer in the middle of the night, my painful doubts from climbing to the Strelapass… vanished like mist. I have already begun to plan when and on what race I will go next time – am I normal?

I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule —
From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime,
Out of SPACE — Out of TIME
/E. A. Poe, Dream-Land/

You’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?

My family went on vacation to Poland and I, as a representative of “the working people of towns and villages”, have remained on the position and throughout the whole week worked efficiently. However, the weekend came and I had to plan something for the lonely two days. In the previous corporation I would not have a problem because “deadly deadlines” would force me to work during the days theoretically free from it.

Work is a right, a duty and a matter of honor for every citizen. By his work, observance of labor discipline, competition and improving its methods the working people of towns and villages reinforces the strength and power of the Fatherland, increases the prosperity of the nation and accelerates the overall realization of the socialist system. Work leaders are surrounded by widely respect of the nation.
/Article 14 of the Constitution of the Polish Republic from 1952; so called The Stalinist constitution/

Present company has not provided me the weekend overtime, so I had to come up with something myself. I thought and I came up with…

Meanwhile, Tytus... I thought and I came up with a "thoughtless". It will be placed ahead of a sentence having no sense. /H. J. Chmielewski, Tytus, Romek i A’Tomek, vol. XII

Meanwhile, Tytus…
I thought and I came up with a “thoughtless”. It will be placed ahead of a sentence having no sense.
/H. J. Chmielewski, Tytus, Romek i A’Tomek, vol. XII/

…the idea of crossing the Alps from the Rhone Valley on Swiss side until St-Gingolph in France and get back to Lausanne by boat cruising on Lake Geneva. I prepared quickly necessary equipment and moved forward to the dance!

So this gentleman, dismal gentleman
Has upset himself awfully, my ladies and gentlemen.
He realized that he
Can sit all his life by the window.
Suddenly he stood up, walked dance,
Spanish waltz add him the courage.
/Jerzy Połomski, Whole audience is singing with us/

I boarded the train at the main station in Lausanne, where an adventure has happened to me, which I would like to describe as a warning. In the train, going through the compartment, I was looking for a place to sit. Most of the them were occupied, but I saw a favorable location, where only one man was sitting by the window, with the backpack next to him and the other three seats were vacant. Therefore, I sat opposite to him, but from the aisle to be able to stretch the legs. I put the backpack on the window’s side.

Suddenly, quite loud group of black men started to squeeze through the compartment. When passing next to me and my neighbor, a fistful of small coins fell from one’s hand and showered on us and on the floor. Mumbling “excusez-moi,” one of the black men bent down and has begun collecting coins.

Already I was bending down to help him, when my exuberant imagination reminded me the films about ninjas who turn away the attention by throwing coins into the crowd. When people were busy collecting the scattered money, ninja could kill, kidnap, perform other tasks or simply run away. In a split second, I realized that here the same method has been used! I straightened up and hug the backpack to my chest! My neighbor did not watch films about Japanese assassins because he eagerly began to collect coins from the floor, while the second of black men was already reaching for his backpack lying on the seat. I shouted in English: “Watch out your backpack!” (because in French I have not gathered thoughts so fast).

Firstly, the man understood what I said, secondly he reacted and in addition showed reflexes, because in the last moments grab his backpack and pulled it out from the Negro’s hand. The robbers quickly understood that this time they failed and ran out of the train. A side effect of the incident was that I earned 50 centimes (in 10 and 5 cents), which the bandits did not manage to gather together with the wallets of passengers. Grateful tourist, as it turned from Scotland, thanked me several times for saving his belongings and was surprised that such things happen in Switzerland, normally considered as the safe country.

Oh, yes, it is not the same Switzerland as at the time of “Goldfinger” and “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. Even James Bond sees the difference and choose Austria as a place of his new adventures in the movie “Spectre”. Therefore, remember dear readers, if the rain of small coins start to fall on you, it is not a miracle – it’s an attack and not always inspector Harry Callahan can be close to you .

I know what you’re thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?
/Dirty Harry/

***

I got off at the Aigle station at 12:20, being warmly farewell by the Scotchman, who was going to Chamonix. At once I moved on by tourist route along the railway, backing up initially in the direction of Lausanne. After a while (as we know from the comic books about Tytus, one while = three moments) I reached the lane of trees among which flowed Grande Eau (it appeared not too big). I turned left on the floodbank, ran under the highway and along the stream I reached the Rhone (Le Rhône).

I turned left again, into an asphalt road, which is also a bicycle and roller route. Through the bridge I crossed the Rhone and just after it I ran down the shaft to the left to the asphalt road, being again bicycle and roller route, parallel to the route from the opposite shore.

Following a flat path I ran into the village of Vouvry, over which, 450 meters above dominates Chavalon powerhouse.

The plant was commissioned in 1965 and was burning heavy fuel oil (mazut), which was created as a by-product of fuel production in a nearby oil refinery in Collombey. For ecological reasons was closed in 1999. However, in connection with the proposed exclusion of all nuclear power plants in Switzerland to 2034, will be re-launched, this time using natural gas to produce electricity.

I started to climb up the tourist trail, repeatedly cutting the serpentine roads for cars.

The heat was unmerciful… but with backpack Mammut Lithium Z 20 I was secured. I was drinking both from a tank in a backpack (about the advantages of this method I wrote in the articles Mammut in the Heidiland and Aim for the moon), as well as from water bottle placed in the holder attached by the Velcro straps to the backpack’s braces. It is a new piece of equipment that I decided to test.

With water, or rather with the lack of it, is no laughing matter on long journeys. After several hours of slow-run in the mountains in hot weather, every sip is at a premium, so the additional supply is very useful. I harnessed stock to the bottom and therefore I can confirm that Add-on bottle holder has proven itself. Additionally, it is lightweight (60 grams) and adjustable, depending on the diameter of the bottle. A small thing, but a nice one.

To see how much happiness,
Hides every little thing.
Let’s rejoice in small things, because
formula for happiness is written in them!
/Sylwia Grzeszczak, Little things/

Truly I say to you, taste of H20 varies depending on the fatigue of the organism and the greater the fatigue, the better the taste.

A rose in red, a lilac in white is blooming,
None of us is cracking though badly it is.
We will cross the hills, we will sip the water,
Where are the field kitchens only God knows.
Who would have worried that dust covers the roads
And snow, and rain – this we know already .
We will cross the hills, we will sip the water,
The water left after the battle has the flavor like wine.
/How I Unleashed World War II/

I reached the Max village and for a while I was running again on the asphalt road leading cars to Lac de Taney (for motorists, let me add that the last section is allowed only for cars with four-wheel drive and the lock of differential, so the cars with so-called intelligent drive 4×4 switchable by computer can not drive there). Behind the chapel at the end of the village I turned right, went back to the wild trail and continue up my tour also towards Lac de Taney but in a much longer version.

The heat was unmerciful… but with Mammut MTR 141 Shorts Long Men I was running at these conditions quite well. Because I will describe the short pants, the matter of what in those short pants is hidden I just clearly describe with below joke:

A guy comes to the doctor and exhibits his penis on doctor’s desk.
The doctor looks up and asks:
- Too short?
- No!
- Too thin?
- No!
- What’s it like?
- It’s great! Isn’t it?!

Shorts are so short that there is not too much to describe. The fabric is a blend of polyamide and elastane. From inside the shorts features mesh. They are sooooo lightweight, they weigh 150 grams (on kitchen weight of my wife does not weight at all) and therefore running is very comfortable. They are breathable, dries quickly and in general very good for me for running. Own feelings in the end are the best adviser when choosing clothes and sports equipment.

I arrived finally to the Lac de Taney from the north east. This charming little lake is located at an altitude of 1408 m above sea level. Close to the lake there is a camping site, a small hamlet of cottages and a restaurant. I ran through the hamlet, by the fountain complemented the supply of water and headed up to the left, traversing the slope. The trail led straight west initially, and after a while, turned slightly to the north and through the Pas de Lovenex reached the Col de la Croix.

Being so high in the mountains, man mutes himself, ponders, wonders about the most important things in life, looking for the absolute… I was bothered only by one thought – why Mammut does not produce socks!? This negligence has repeatedly been spotted and expostulated by my friends, as it was creating a rift in my perfect Mammut image. I have to write to the marketing department in Seon, when this reprehensible situation will change. It would be a great complement to the collection of shoes (trail, alpine and trekking).

Shoes, by the way. The heat was unmerciful… but described some time ago MTR 201 Mammut Pro Low cooperated with me very well. Feet were breathing freely, had no abrasions and adhesion to the substrate was fantastic what turned out particularly useful on the next stage of the expedition.

From the mountain pass, the route led steeply down on the loose stones, towards French border. I ran down to the bottom of the valley and along the cross-border creek of La Morge I reached St-Gingolph.

And the problem appeared here. None bus nor ship were shuttling to Evian at that hour. I did not have strength, nor time to run on the asphalt road together with cars. What could I do? I haven’t had a long gray rain-coat, like Rotger Hauer, only a magnificent orange Mammut t-shirt, so I assumed that I should not raise too much fear as “The Hitcher”. I was right. After about 10 minutes of waving a hand at the oncoming traffic, a car stopped beside me.

Inside a young girl was sitting, dressed…, I would say, boldly. It turned out that she was going to Casino Evian to… work. So, I got into the car. First, politely and briefly I explained whence I appeared on the road, what route today I went through and why do I need transportation. Then, the rest of the way she was speaking. It turned out that she is… a doctor of psychology and along with other graduate students from both psychology and sociology describe the phenomenon of addiction to gambling. Currently, they are visiting different casinos and conducting researches. Her dress turned out to be… a camouflage needed for studies.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
/Luke 6:37/

We arrived to Evian. The doctor dropped me off at the port, while she went to her “laboratorium” to conduct researches. I entered the ship at 20:45. Sitting during the cruise on the bench at the stern I could quietly enjoy the views. On the larboard side, face of the Sun slowly but inexorably was falling down towards the dark Jura foothills, to hide behind the black peaks exactly at the moment when the ship berthed in the port of Ouchy in Lausanne.

The mist that came from the Mediterranean sea blotted out the city that Pilate so detested.  The suspension bridges connecting the temple with the grim fortress of Antonia vanished, the murk descended from the sky and drowned the winged gods above the hippodrome, the crenellated Hasmonaean palace, the bazaars, the caravanserai, the alleyways, the pools…  Jerusalem, the great city, vanished as though it had never been. The mist devoured everything, frightening every living creature in Jerusalem and its surroundings. The city was engulfed by a strange cloud which had crept over it from the sea towards the end of that day, the fourteenth of the month of Nisan.
/Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita/

 

Matterhorncalling

The Call of Matterhorn

That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons, even Death may die.
/H. P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu/

Long time ago in Poland when my parents were buying me from time to time Toblerone chocolate in Pewex using dollar vouchers (as real dollars were illegal in Poland during communism time), I did not know that the logo and the box of this delicious Swiss chocolate are inspired by the shape of a lonely mountain in the Valais Alps (Pennine). What counted then, were the unique taste and the unavailability of chocolate pleasure, which unwittingly alluded also to one of the latest conquered alpine peaks. For Polish citizens to buy this chocolate (and other products commonly available in the West) was at that times similar effort as the climb to Deer Mountain. Matterhorn (in German) or Monte Cervino (in Italian), because it is about that mountain, rises to a height of 4478 meters above sea level on the border of Italy and Switzerland, what gives twelfth position among the alpine summits.

 No. Peak’s name Height above sea level (meters) Massif
1 Mont Blanc 4810 Mont Blanc
2 Mont Blanc de Courmayeur 4748 Mont Blanc
3 Dufurspitze 4634 Monte Rosa
4 Nordend 4609 Monte Rosa
5 Zumsteinspitze 4563 Monte Rosa
6 Signalkuppe 4554 Monte Rosa
7 Dom 4545
8 Liskamm, eastern peak 4527
9 Weisshorn 4506
10 Täschhorn 4491
11 Liskamm, western peak 4479
12 Matterhorn 4478

In this area there is the largest concentration of peaks with the height above 4000 meters, that in the Alps are 82, however the Matterhorn in a contrast to most of them, stands alone, fully exposing its perfect pyramid shape.

View of the Matterhorn from the trail above Zermatt

View of the Matterhorn from the trail above Zermatt

It is the sixth highest independent alpine peak, which is not part of a larger mountain range. E.g. Dufurspitze (4634 m) – the highest peak in Switzerland, lies in the massif of Monte Rosa, where are located close to each other 10 four-thousand peaks, which in this crowd do not look quite as impressive as Monte Cervino. The summit was conquered by the British mountaineers and their Swiss guides in 1855. The member of the winning group of climbers was Charles Hudson, who 10 years later will be one of the tragic heroes of the first ascent of the Matterhorn.

Matterhorn seen from Grächen

Matterhorn seen from Grächen

Majestic and causing respect the shapes of the Matterhorn and fragile rock forming the peak make climbing on it extremely difficult. Probably because of that it was conquered as the last of the Alpine giants. Years 1854-1865 are the time of the The Golden Age of Mountaineering, when exploration of the Alps has become enormously accelerated and these mountains have become an arena of struggle between climbing elite.

Mountains have always been fascinated by the human spirit, so much so that the Bible considers them as the privileged place of encounter with God.
/John Paul II/

In 1865, they made 65 first ascents in the Alps, 7 in the Mont Blanc massif. Winning the Matterhorn July 14 of that year and the tragic events during the descent from the summit became a symbolic end of the Golden Age.

The tip of the Matterhorn sticking out from behind the Dent Blanche (view from Grimentz)

The tip of the Matterhorn sticking out from behind the Dent Blanche (view from Grimentz)

The struggle for the conquest of the Matterhorn was fought mainly, sometimes together, between Londoner Edward Whymper and Italian Jean-Antoine Carrel. In 1865 Whymper came to Zermatt to attack the Matterhorn for the eighth time. Also in that year Carrel should accompanied him. Meanwhile, the newly formed Italian Mountaineering Association, has set itself the goal to conquer the Matterhorn by the Italians. In 1865, Quintino Sella, a professor at the University of Turin, the Minister of Finance and professor Felice Giordano, a geologist studying the structure of the Alps, organized an Italian expedition to Monte Cervino to overtake Whymper almost at any cost. The management of the expedition had been proposed to Carrel, and he accepted because he wanted to win Matterhorn to strengthen his position of the best mountains expert in the region, and that with whom he gets it was for him indifferent. So, he chose his rich and well-connected fellow countrymen and not ambitious but not very wealthy Englishman. In addition, the aim of Italians was to get the summit from the south (from Valtournenche valley) and not from the side of Zermatt, as planned by Whymper.

Drawing of the Matterhorn made by Edward Whymper

Drawing of the Matterhorn made by Edward Whymper

When Whymper arrived for the appointment with the Italian, he lied to him, apologizing that they have to postpone their joint expedition for a few days. Whymper dismissed his guides and was calmly waiting for Carrel. The next day, however, he learned that Italian already went to his team and launches an attack on the Matterhorn. Outraged by the fraud he did not give up. He went down quickly to Zermatt, where he managed to form a team with which he hit the road by the razor-sharp Hörnli ridge towards the top.

Matterhorn and Hörnli ridge seen from the Gornergrat

Matterhorn and Hörnli ridge seen from the Gornergrat

The group was consisted of:

  • Edward Whymper (25 years) – one of the greatest British mountaineers who came to the Alps for the first time in 1860 to perform sketches commissioned by the Longman publishing house,
  • Michel Croz (35 years) – outstanding alpine guide from Chamonix,
  • Lord Francis Douglas (18 years) – son of the Marquis Queensberry,
  • ks. Charles Hudson (37 years) – a very experienced mountaineer,
  • Douglas Hadow (19 years) – little is known about him except that it was his first season of climbing,
  • Peter Taugwalder father (45 years) – outstanding Swiss alpine guide,
  • Peter Taugwalder son (22 years) – also guide.

Fierce fighting broke out, which was fought not only about who will win the top, but from which side. Behind Giordano’s nationalistic grounds were hidden just the money. The side from which the top will be reached will attract more tourists, who will be hosted and guided by the local highlanders. On the slopes of the Matterhorn it lasted the fight for the future of the tourism industry in the sunny Valtournenche and in Zermatt, hidden in the deep valley.

Matterhorn seen from Zermatt

Matterhorn seen from Zermatt

We who go mountain-scrambling have constantly set before us the superiority of fixed purpose or perseverance to brute force. We know that each height, each step, must be gained by patient, laborious toil, and that wishing cannot take the place of working.
/Edward Whymper, Scrambles Amongst the Alps In the years 1860-69/

Whymper won as involuntary ally of the Swiss. On July 14, 1865 he and his team first reached the summit and made Zermatt, one of the most visited places in the world.

We remained on the summit for one hour—
One crowded hour of glorious life.
It passed away too quickly, and we began to prepare for the descent.
/Edward Whymper, Scrambles Amongst the Alps In the years 1860-69/

The victory was, however, dearly paid because during descent four people died falling into the abyss. Only Whymper and Taugwalders returned from the top. The accident was caused by the least experienced climber, Douglas Hadow, who fell during the descent and hit on the leading Michel Croze, and when both of them began to slide into the abyss, pulled behind them connected by rope Charles Hudson and Francis Douglas. The other three climbers survived, as weaker rope linking Douglas to Peter Taugwalder father fractured. As often happens in such cases, there were suspicions that the rope was cut. The formal investigation has not found any evidence to support this thesis. The broken line is now exhibited in the museum in Zermatt.

Rope broken while descending from the Matterhorn (drawing by Edward Whymper)

Rope broken while descending from the Matterhorn (drawing by Edward Whymper)

Three days later, on July 17, 1865 after traveling the Italian ridge, Antoine Carrel’s team he stood on the top.

Seven failed attempts to enter the top of Deer Mountain, memorable climbing of July 1865, and other alpine expeditions, Whymper described with details in the book “Scrambles Amongst the Alps In the years 1860-1869 “, to which he also made illustrations.

Edward Whymper was climbing yet in South America and Canada making several first ascents. During the expedition to Ecuador he gathered substantial material to the study of altitude sickness and the influence of reduced pressure on the human body. He explored Greenland, as one of the first, using the sleds, which contributed to a significant acceleration in the researches of the Arctic.

Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are naught without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.
/Edward Whymper, Scrambles Amongst the Alps In the years 1860-69/

He died in 1911 in Chamonix, shortly after returning from another Alpine expedition and was buried in this city on the English cemetery.

The first women’s entrance took place in July 1871, when Whymper’s countrywoman, Lucy Walker stood on the top of Matterhorn – climbing in a long flannel skirt, which was appropriate for a Victorian lady. First Polish ascent was made in 1894 by Marian Smoluchowski – pioneer of statical physics, climber and mountaineer. Albert Einstein used results of his researches in formulating a theory which explains the chaotic movements of the particles. One of the equations of diffusion theory is known as the Smoluchowski equation.

In 2015, Zermatt is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first ascent of the Matterhorn. Numerous events are held in the town throughout the year. I encourage you to glance at the website of the resort and choose something for yourself from the rich offer. Among the organizers and sponsors could not miss the Mammut company, which is “absolutely alpine” and which on the occasion of this historic alpine events prepared, inter alia, limited edition of products. Watchword of the celebrations is #Matterhorncalling.

Also this year, Mammut together with Ochsner company organizes 24-hour mountain hike. This time, however, you guessed, it will be connected with the jubilee of the Matterhorn. I chose exactly this way to celebrate the first ascent of the Matterhorn, and I became the happy member of the Mammut 24h Hike team, which in August will move on to the mountain trails around Zermatt and Matterhorn.

Should also be noted that both Chamonix and Valtournenche did not want to perform worse and also decided to celebrate the “good old days”, when The Golden Age of Mountaineering reached its climax.

Into the mountains! into the mountains, nice brother!
Over there, the freedom is waiting for you.
To the chalets of the shepherds,
Where water rushing from the source,
Where the heart with the heart copes
And the man believes in the freedom!
Here the world breathes stronger,
Here a sincere man smiles,
When the mountains laugh in the spring.
/Wincent Pol, The Song of Our Land/

Mammut SIGG Thermo Mug

Attentive readers of my blog probably noticed in the article Mammut Lithium Z20 multiple pictures made with the camera Zorka Five (quote from the cult Polish film “The Cruise” which can be understand only by someone who grown up in Poland controlled by communist party and Soviet Union). On the photos there was a black thermos with a gold logo of Mammut. Thermos eagerly accepted invitation of the backpack who was the main character of that post. Now is the time for a brief description of the black bottle (black color supposedly shapes up).

This thermos is the effect of cooperation between old and respected Swiss company SIGG with an even older and more respected Swiss company Mammut and in the background of this cooperation rises to a height of 4478 m above sea level the majestic summit of the Matterhorn, which was first conquered 150 years ago (14 July 1865). This important historic event will be remembered and celebrated in 2015 by various persons and institutions. Mammut company is one of the organizers and sponsors of a whole range of events related to the anniversary of conquering the Matterhorn and the host of celebrations is the Swiss town of Zermatt.

Mammut prepared a wide range of products on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the first ascent to the summit. Limited collection called Mammut Matterhorn consists of jackets, trousers, hats, sweatshirts, backpacks, bags, shoes and vacuum flasks. The dominant color of the series is gold, so you already know dear readers, why Mammut logo on the thermos is gold and not red as usual.

I feel however that you should get to know more details of the first ascent to the Matterhorn, find out why Zermatt is associated with this event and what Mammut has to do with all of that. I am writing about Mammut already for some time, and have not written yet how, when and by whom the company was founded. These topics are so extensive therefore I will elaborate them in the next article but in the meantime I will finish thermos description…

Thermos, which came from the SIGG factory belongs to series HOT & COLD offering 4 volumes in two different types: mug 0.3 and 0.5 liter and bottle 0.75 and 1 liter. I have the pleasure to be the owner of a half-liter version.

Mug is made of 18/8 stainless steel, which means containing 18% chromium and 8% nickel and other alloying additions. It is one of the most popular grades of stainless steel widely used in almost all industries, especially in the food industry.

There is non-slip silicone pad at the bottom of the thermos and at the top the cap with a handle that allows attaching the mug to a backpack. When unscrew a cap, cup opening is finished with an extra nut serving as a convenient mouthpiece for drinking. The manufacturer warns that drinking a hot drink, you can get burned because the hot drink can be… hot! As you can see, it had its influence the crazy American legal system, through which you can win a lot of money in court for injury or loss of life as a result of idiotic behavior about which European would not even have thought, and which was not listed on the long list of product’s warnings.

One of the most famous unusual compensation in the world won American Stella Liebeck in 1994. The court awarded her 2.9 million dollars in damages from McDonald’s, because she burned herself with a coffee bought in one of its bars. Sitting in a car she stuck her cup between her knees and tried to open it to add cream and sugar, but poured the entire contents on her feet and… other parts of the body. The final amount paid as a result of a settlement is not known. Since the award of damages, McDonald’s puts on cups of coffee phrase: Caution, content is hot.

An interesting idea is the strainer, where can be brew original leaf tea, whether black or green or another and then easily remove the grounds. The taste and quality of the beverage are then far better than in the case of express tea bags, which consists of a tea dust instead of whole or crushed leaves of Camellia sinensis.

I have felt already for some time that the companies Mammut and SIGG fit together and I was instinctively linking them together in my sport adventures. I see that Mammut marketing specialists came up with the same idea. Cheers!

 

Mammut Lithium Z 20

Already in a couple of days, a few days
You will take your backpack and the guitar
Few words goodbye
Pythagoras, farewell
Goodbye to you canto, cantare
/Halina Kunicka, Summer, summer is waiting; Polish song/

Basic protection and support of my foot driving force, I described vividly in the first test of sport equipment, means in the article entitled Mammut MTR Pro Low, where the heroes were shoes for running in the terrain.

Since the drive transmission is protected, I can take a closer look at a warehouse facility, in other words at the backpack Mammut Lithium Z 20 (mentioned loosely at the occasion of my aiming for the Moon).

I start with the most important matter, namely the color. The backpack is green-gray (code named dark spring-iron). I like very much these sophisticated color names that are used by Mammut. Just like in the American movie about commandos rescueing the world from the overwhelming forces of the communists, terrorists or aliens (Alpha Romeo Mike Yankee Alpha Lima Papa Hotel Alpha Bravo Echo Tango). On a green fabric red Mammut logo looks fantastic! Backpack Lithium Z 20 can be aquired in two more colors (dark orange-iron and smoke-iron). I like the most version with the green. Over!

All theory, dear friend, is gray,
But the golden tree of life springs ever green.
Grau, teurer Freund, ist al­le Theorie
Und grün des Le­bens gol­dner Baum.
/Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Faust/

It is a backpack designed primarily for trail running but fits to all outdoor activities. It weighs only 630 grams according to the manufacturer. Me, on the kitchen scale (which my wife uses to prepare delicious cakes), came out a little more, because about 670 grams. Its dimensions are 48x26x19 centimeters. Name Lithium in the designers concept comes probably from lithium, which is the lightest metal known, with the atomic number 3. This element is highly reactive and flammable, so must be kept it in mineral oils or in an inert atmosphere. I remember from chemistry class, like a piece of lithium pulled out from the kerosene and thrown into the water was going round on the surface and was dissolving, fuming a huge amount of bubbles (hydrogen).

The zipper of the main compartment unzips below the half the height of the backpack, thanks to that can be easily pack from the front, which certainly would be appreciated by Jason Bourne looking for his identity:

He opened the knapsack and took out a pair of boots and heavy socks along with rolledup trousers and a coarse denim shirt. Somewhere in his past he had learned to pack with an economy of space; the knapsack contained far more than an observer might think. Where had he learned that? Why? The questions never stopped.
/Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Identity/

Backpack is compatible with a hydration system – a water tank with a pipe transferring water to the mouth. From the main backpack chamber, tube can be lead out through the holes on shoulder straps, on the left or on the right side and attached under rubber grips.

The hydration system is a fantastic assistance during long runs when at any time it is possible to drink without stopping and taking off the backpack. It is also important that when you insert the mouthpiece into the mouth, hands are free. The first time I used the hydration system in a backpack Mammut Lithium Z 20 was on Trail du Dents du Midi and as I said, I was delighted.

This backpack has additionally at the top a small pocket with handle with a piton (eg. to attach the keys)…

… and larger one, occupying more or less the entire front wall of the backpack (eg. for documents, maps).

On both sides there are two flexible pockets (eg. for a spare water bottles, glove or cap), which can be further tighten and secured by means of straps.

The suspension system consists of elastic shoulder straps with a soft mesh on the side of the back that dries quickly and allows the body to breathe (3-D Air-Mesh). From the outside, shoulder straps are reinforced with nylon mesh. As I said, on shoulder straps there are elastics sewn to attach the hydration tube, as well as reflective elements. Chest strap with a clip and whistle can be adjusted up and down, and of course wide. It prevents the shoulder straps from sliding sideways and prevents repositioning of the backpack during the run.

Innovative hip belt (designed for direct body contact and good ventilation) has the same role and also relieves the shoulders (weight, thanks to it is based largely on the hips). It is also made from 3-D Air-Mesh and on its left side is another pocket. In my opinion, the pocket is too much on the back and during the race it is hard to reach (eg. the phone, which is a mandatory equipment part in long distance mountain running). It is the only minus I have found in this backpack and I believe that the company Mammut will take to heart my constructive criticism and will make a slight facelifting. I hope that in the next version of the backpack Lithium Z 20, pocket will be more accessible, which means shifted toward the front. Could also add, by the way, another one, for symmetry – the ideal storage for a little something at eleven o’clock in the morning…

On the back side of the backpack being in contact with the back, there are soft mesh padding supports (made from 3-D EVA foam) with ventilation channels and between them “a chimney” allowing air circulation.

This backpack for my own needs is perfect. It stick to the back ideally, it is very comfortable, does not cause abrasions and allows back to breathe. And, of course, it is green.

The Blue said: Waste of breath.
Everybode will discolor with time.
But the Green just added:
– I hope… I hope…
/Jan Brzechwa, The Colors/

It ran with me already some kilometers, therefore I know what I write. What is more, my previous trail backpack from another company was not so comfortable and slightly rubbed the skin (seams were made from something that looked like a fishing line and in places where this line jutted from the fabric, it made a fakir from me).

I highly recommend the use of poles during long mountain runs. They help to maintain balance, relieve the knees and can lean on them, when majority of the race is done and legs barely dragging one by one. But the poles are not needed all the time and then it would be nice to have a place for their transportation. In my green backpack…

Because I am liege lord, because I am king,
Among green fields and soil!
/Edmund Wasilewski, Krakowiak/

…it is resolved in a very interesting way. At the bottom part of the backpack there is a retractable metal cable which can be pull out and slip back. One end of a pole is to be insert into the cable and the other is fastened on top of the backpack with a strip closing.
Theoretically to this backpack can be still attached various items which are considered to be necessary during competition, training or trip (eg. cup). This is done with 4 very strong hooks on the front of the pack and 2 on shoulder straps.

In practice, the extra things dangling by a backpack during the competition only disturb the balance and cause unnecessary noise but on a calm trip with the family or friends it is possible to hang there all Needful Things.

MTR 201 Pro Low

Mammut MTR 201 Pro Low

Recently I was writing less and running more, what has resulted from the task I undertook – I can proudly say that I was running and… testing. Testing is a new matter for me and the challenge is even greater because I have chosen as the test object, running shoes of my beloved Mammut (sorry for that intimate statement). Love is a beautiful feeling but it becomes even more beautiful, when has been tested in extreme conditions.

Love is a very beautiful flower but you have to have the courage to go look for it at the edge of an abyss.
/Henri Stendhal/

znak

As it is usually happens with… the first time, I wanted to approach it in a special way. I was thinking long how to perform such a test in order to show in subjective and at the same time objective manner all the characteristics of mountain racing shoes Mammut MTR 201 Pro Low. I thought, and I came up with – the best to do it is my own way.

***

Shoes Mammut Pro Low MTR 201 appeared in my life in a black box with a red Mammut logo. They were additionally wrapped in original paper covered with the inscriptions MAMMUT. For running it does not have any meaning, of course, but it testifies to the quality of a product. Swiss watches have also couple of layers of packaging, through which you have to get through before the moment of putting the watch on the wrist. Out of the box and paper I quickly put shoes on my feet and went for a run… Oh, and I cut labels.

Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still,
Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will.
/William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet/

Just in case, I remind that the first run in new shoes should be short to avoid abrasions and blisters that often occur when changing running shoes to new ones. Is it due to the short 10 kilometers distance or maybe due to the resistance of my graceful feet or finally maybe thanks to the quality of shoes, nothing bad happened, and the first attempt was successfull.

It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.
/Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita/

But one after another. Tested model has rave green-red color with a technical name spring-inferno; other available colors are inferno-black, dark cyan-sunglow and light gray-imperial. Shoes weigh 742 grams (UK size 10.5) what probably fits in with the manufacturer’s data, who declares 676 grams in specifications for UK size 8.5.

DSC_5493

MTR 201 Pro Low are not waterproof, which can be a disadvantage when running in the rain, but thanks to that are lighter than models with GORE-TEX (they have an additional three letters GTX in the name) with more than 100 grams, which in turn can be important in long-distance races, when at the end of the route, each additional gram is felt in the legs. Instead of heavier waterproof membrane in this model was used lightweight mesh that dries quickly when soaked and allows feet to breathe.

Mokry-Mammut

I was running a lot on wet, muddy roads, in the rain, and after the rain, near rivers and streams. The mesh get drenched quickly, but… as soon as the contact with water ends, it begins to dry quickly and if I am lucky enough that eventually the sun comes out, I return home with dry shoes. In addition, the lightweight mesh construction has good permeability and draws heat away from the feet. Why this happens is seen sharply when looking “through the shoe” against the light.

There should be laughter after pain There should be sunshine after rain /Mark Knopfler, Why Worry/

There should be laughter after pain
There should be sunshine after rain
/Mark Knopfler, Why Worry/

Fabrics used inside the shoe are soft to the touch and cause the foot feels comfortable. Outside, in contrast, in sensitive areas rubber reinforcements were used (Rubber toe cap) and heel support system (360 Heel Support). As described by Viktor Suvorov, the former soldier of Specnaz (Soviet special forces), in the book “Aquarium”, materials used in commando’s clothing should be from the lining side soft like woman’s skin, and from the outside rough as leather of rhinoceros. Mammut MTR 201 Pro Low shoes meet these requirements.

Mokry-Mammut-2

Now disputable case of laces or rather MTR Speed Lace System, which may but not have to please. As the name suggests, thanks to this system shoes can be quicker laced. With that point, I totally agree – this is done instantly. But then, the remaining “excess” of laces needs to be hidden somewhere. To do so, a special pocket in the shoe tongue is prepared but because it is already located under tied laces, it’s hard to pack the endings. But when it’s done, they seat there and not fall out. If needed, the laces can also be… just laced.

Aggressive bi-directional tread pattern holds up well (I would even say perfectly) on almost all types of surface. Mammut gave it the code name Sonar, because his form was modeled on the shape of sonar waves, spreading in all directions; in other words… “The hunt for Red October”. I tested it on a muddy forest trails, sharp mountain boulders, gravel paths, and even in the snow.

DSC_5126

In bounce, as well as in acceleration and uphill running, shoes stick to the pavement as if they were glued. They behave the same way during the rapid run downwards combined even with jumps and provide excellent friction when braking in case slowing down is needed. There is almost no slip when landing on loose gravel and can quickly run further.

poslizg

The only one dangerous adventure associated with shoes Mammut Pro Low MTR 201 I experienced on the banks of the river La Venoge. It was a one-off case, but it is my duty to inform about it. It is like with the side effects of medication – one patient out of a hundred will report pimples on… but it is necessary to write in the information leaflet that the medicine can cause a rash. Thus, I was running a beautiful route along the river La Venoge, to the north of its confluence to Lake Geneva in Preverenges. I was running and admiring the wild countryside, additionally wilder due to high water level in the river.

2015-04-01-15.15.23

Was drizzling lightly. Suddenly, when I was looking to the side of the impressive waterfall, I ran on flat wet stones lying just off the coast and started dancing like mad cartoon characters who step on a banana peel. And, like cartoon characters, I was able to regain balance at the last moment. I was so surprised by the complete lack of grip, that I turned back and looked at the stones. They were, as I said, flat and covered with a green coating (moss?). I touched them with the shoe a few times and it was like on the ice rink. I went back to the same place some time later during fine weather and with some kind of shyness I ran on the rocks. This time they were dry and my feet have not moved even a millimeter. From this adventure I extrapolated such a request, that a wet moss on the stones is not a good ground for Mammut MTR 201 Pro Low shoes (for each shoes, I suppose).

To sum up, shoes Mammut Pro Low MTR 201 perform the job very well. The legs do not tire in them, adhesion to the substrate (except wet moss) is sensational, dry quickly, allow the foot to breathe and… they are pretty. It seems that we will run together for a very loooong time, especially that Swiss Irontrail (91 km) is approaching.

Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.
/Antoine de Saint-Exupéry/

P.S. On the back of the shoe, on the handle helping to put them on the leg, there is a mysterious latitude and longitude… My natural curiosity forced me to check which point on the surface of the Earth represent the coordinates of 47 36° N and 08 16° E. I had to first understand in what format latitude and longitude is given:

  • degrees, minutes, seconds (DMS),
  • degrees and minutes (DM),
  • decimal degrees (DD).

After attempts in the converter of geographic coordinates, I came at last to the result, which indicated a point in Switzerland, in the canton of Aargau, in the district of Lenzburg in city of Seon, at Birren street, where exists… the factory and headquarter of Mammut. A real fantastic bull’s eye!

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