Before you read

What is important to you if you go for a trip to the mountains? Check three of the boxes

  • very good weather conditions
  • good company
  • comfortable and cheap rooms
  • well-equipped campsites.
  • easy and not tiring trips
  • comfortable shoes
  • a good guide

Look at the key words in bold in the text and underline the correct definition.

To wander is to walk from one place to another without purpose / to ask yourself questions about something / to dream about something unreal

Convenient means suitable for your purposes / extremely difficult / causing problems

A glacier is somebody who climbs regularly / large mass of ice which moves slowly / an area of low land between the mountains often with a river running through it.

A down sleeping bad is too thin for winter nights / very heavy / very thick and light

A mixed double climbing always involves climbing during the day and night / a rock and ice climbing / climbing with a partner

A cableway is a chain attached to the mountain wall to help you go through the narrow pass / means of transport which uses thick and strong wires / type of mountain climbing gear

When you feel perplexed you are worried and confused about something / calm and relaxed / surprised about something

                         

 

 


 

Switzerland is like a magnet – on the one hand it is a Mecca for mountain climbers and wanderers, but on the other hand its exorbitant prices may discourage many people from visiting it. However, we strongly believe that it is possible to save some Swiss francs throughout the whole year and treat yourself to wonderful seven days.

What was it like in our case? At 4.45, packed up in everything that is necessary in the Alps, we headed towards Zermatt (a town in Switzerland at 1600m above the sea level). We reached our destination at 9 o’clock in the evening as we had chosen a slower means of transport – by car on a train platform. Thanks to that we could visit a ski-tour binding factory in Diamira (kind of skiing equipment which attaches the skiing boots to the skis), which are so close to our hearts. The closeness of the mountain trails, rail and buses gave us much room to manoeuvre. Everyday trips to mountain hostels like Kinhutte, Eurohutte and Domhutte at 3000m above the sea level are an absolute must. Another very convenient option is to travel light without an unnecessary tent on your back. We strongly recommend outings to those hostels not only to catch breath at higher altitudes, but also because the trails are virtually empty and the views really alpine, especially if you want to relax on the hostel’s terrace, or actually in the eagle’s nest – fabulous. 

A day of sightseeing in Täsch and Zermatt is an absolute must. It’s really worthy of wandering around Zermatt where the age-old tumbledown cottages are guarded by the majestic mountain of Matterhorn.

DUFOURSPITZE 4634

 

The plan was clear – reaching Dufourspitze from the side of Monte Rosa mountain hostel. Except for four-thousandth views to admire we had to confront ourselves with one of the highest elevations in the Alps (3500 m above the sea level). After a few days of acclimatization, packed light, we started ascending Rotenboden using the cableway. Here’s a quick question – which is better – to save 36 francs on the cableway and climb the whole day from Zermatt to Monte Rosa, or to pay and after six hours take great delight in the views from the hostel’s terrace? If you have an OAV insurance, you can save up to 40 percent for the night in the alpine hostels. To sum up – after an eleven-hour climb no one would be happy to get up at 2 o’clock in the morning to climb horrendous 3500 meters. We took the cableway which shortened our stay in the hostel by one day. Of course we strongly recommend a longer stay in this lovely place, however we had to remember about the seven days we had to reach the summit. And again here’s a little piece of advice – a small “Frühstück” is worth ordering before attacking the mountain. It’s not expensive and it saves your time and energy on irritating at that time food provisions.

One thing only made us a bit perplexed – it was Friday the thirteenth when we were supposed to reach the summit. The weather was wonderful – cloudless sky, a light frost (15°C), virtually no wind until we got to the ridge. It was no sooner than on the mountain pass when we realized that the majority of people had turned back due to harsh weather conditions (total number 27). It was quite strange as most of them went out with the guides and the three of us were way behind them. Eventually, we were the ones who followed them back with our eyes. Was it really that windy? Most probably these were the guides who had set the pace in order to get rid of the weakest ones on the mountain pass. And they did. As a matter of fact, it was really windy – putting on a jacket was a huge problem. Though to be frank, there are worse things in life than the high wind. A quick examination of conscience, a situation assessment and we are going into another world. That is exactly what it’s all about – a sharp ridge, mixed double climbing problems, a great chasm under your feet; all that at the very end of the trip – 4500 m above the sea level. As for safety measures, just a good rope is enough for rock climbing, so you don’t have to take more than the gear necessary on the mountain glacier. When we were crossing the ridge, we met two people only. It’s not many in our opinion.

 

 

As far as the gear is concerned, Primaloft® remains unbeaten. Even in such weather conditions, it resisted strong wind and frost. Light mountain trainers, which we used wherever possible, provided a real delight to our feet. To prepare yourself physically, we strongly recommend running in the mountains. September mornings and evenings are not the warmest moments of the day, so taking a down sleeping bag along is a good idea – all the more so because the campsite is at the same height as Morskie Oko. However, do not take it to the Monte Rosa hostel. It is a very comfortable, well-equipped place.

Tick the sentences True (T) or False (F)

According to the author the Alps are very expensive                                     T          F

The author of the text isn’t very fond of skiing                                                 T          F

The author strongly recommends visiting nearby hostels                             T          F

The author believes it is better to order food than take it along                   T          F

The day when they were to reach the summit

is considered to bring bad luck                                                                          T          F

 

The polish group was discouraged by the harsh weather conditions          T          F

 

The author does not mind putting their life at risk                                          T          F

 

Read the text again and answer the questions

 

Outings to Kinhutte, Eurohutte and Domhutte allows you to:

-acclimatize to alpine weather conditions

-practice climbing with a tent on your back

-meet many new people on the trail

 

Rotenboden marks:

-a halfway point of their journey

-one-third of their journey

-their final destination point

 

To feel save on the trail you only need to take:

-a climbing rope

-the gear needed on a mountain glacier

-Primaloft® gear

 

If you have an OAV insurance it is:

-easier to hire a guide who can help you climb the mountain

-easier to get a room at a cheaper price in the hostel

-easier to reach Rotenboden at a cheaper price

 

One thing you do not have to take with you to Monte Rosa is:

-light mountain trainers

-a sleeping bag

-a climbing gear

 

Probably the majority of climbers turned back due to:

-the guides’ advice

-the difficult weather conditions

-the lack of wind-proof jackets

 

Fill in the missing blanks with the words from the text

 

That wine stain on my shirt has v____________y disappeared.

There is still a vast economic ch_________m between developed and developing countries.

World leaders will meet next week for their annual economic s____________t.

You didn’t do anything wrong – you should have a clear c_____________e.

If you go to the mountains, you need to take care of the p____________s for the journey.

We were walking along the narrow mountain r_____________e when we spotted Tom few steps ahead of us.

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