Snow, snow, and more snow…

It snowed for nearly two days… There was snow everywhere. Snow covered the trees and the lawn, and we even had some on the balcony. Snow covered the streets and the sidewalks disappeared. Uetliberg, our local mountain, turned into a winter wonderland.

Saturday morning. We decided to play it by ear today. Which meant, that if travelling on the somewhat disrupted rail service seemed practical, we may go to Flumserberg, or wherever the weather looked okay. In the end we decided not to travel, and settled for a walk to the top of Uetliberg.

After a cup of coffee and a biscuit we get some real winter climbing gear on. I’m wearing four layers, and have a padded jacket and hard shell which I can add if its gets colder, or the wind is blowing. Underneath my soft shell pants, I’ve got long johns. No sense in getting cold. All that does is take away from the enjoyment of being out in the winter wonderland. We strap our snowshoes on to our packs and put our winter mountain boots on – the ones with more padding to stave off the cold; stiff soles to take crampons, and extra waterproofing to make sure our toes don’t get wet. Gaiters next to make sure no snow gets into our boots.

We set off. Across the Allmend (common) from where we will pick up one of the many paths that lead to the top of Uetliberg. We meet up with a primary school friend of Barbara’s, who is going in the same direction.

The winter wonderland starts as we cross the common. Everywhere around us, trees are draped in thick coatings of snow creating sculpt-like structures. Others look like they’ve been covered in a thin layer of ice. Here and there we have to climb over or under trees, brought down by the weight of the snow, that have fallen across the path. In some places the path is completely obscured by the fallen branches and debris covering it, and we have to guess which way to go. But, overall, it’s not too difficult to find our way. Round every bend there’s a fascinating new view of trees and plants covered in snow.

About two-thirds of the way up we get into deeper and softer snow. We decide it’s time to put snowshoes on. To avoid slipping, and to prevent constantly sinking into the snow. Both of which uses up unnecessary energy. Near the top, Priska says goodbye and heads off in a different direction. She is planning on following the ridge for some way, before she makes her way back down. Barbara and I are heading off toward the ‘kulm’ (the summit) where we hope to find hot drinks and something warm to eat.

Barbara and I are both quite hungry after our walk. We both opt for a bratwurst with bread. I wash mine down with a radler. A cup of coffee finishes it off nicely. A light wind is blowing, which makes it a few degrees cooler, forcing us to add extra layers to keep warm. We decide not to go back down the steep stairway, which was treacherous enough coming up. Instead, we take the slightly longer way back, where we have a more gradual descent.

On our way down we discover even more fascinating snowscapes. We make our way back home via the local supermarket where we pick up a few items of groceries for our dinner. After a day out in below freezing temperatures we deserve a warm and hearty meal…

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