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August 2020
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Sports Programs

Hiking in the Swiss Alps

Clariden, Switzerland - "The dwelling of God is with men” (Revelations 21:3) was the motto of this year’s hiking tour at the beginning of August in the Glarus Alps, Switzerland, a long‐standing tradi­tional summer event that my wife Yoshiko and I organize for UPF and Ambassadors for Peace.

After meeting at our starting point, the Urnerboden guest house, our group took time to pray and reflect on the tour motto, invit­ing our Heavenly Father to accompany us on our four‐hut circuit in northeastern Switzerland. Planura is the name of the hut situated at 2950m, right above Clariden glacier, which was our destination on our fourth day.

After some preliminary mountaineering training with climbing spurs and harnesses, our group of ten took the mountain train up to Fisetenpass (2000 m) and enjoyed the most beautiful flowers and panoramas along our trail under a fine blue sky. When we reached our destiny, Clariden Hut at 2460 m, we were able to buy some new hiking shoes for one person whose shoes had dissolved into pieces. We were surprised to find a Nepalese couple taking care of the hut, along with five yaks, too! Tired but happy, we concluded the day with some songs accompanied by ukulele and prayers and reflections in the beautiful setting surrounded by 3000m peaks.

Sunrise with alpenglow on the morning of the third day promised another perfect day. Soon we had to put on our spurs and har­nesses and spent a few hours walking up the Clariden glacier, in the direction of Clariden Peak (3265m) towards our destiny, Planura Hut.

While the temperature increased, the crevasses and holes mali­ciously hidden under old snow layers became more numerous. Suddenly, the front man of the rope team (me!) disappeared from sight. My slump into an 8‐10 m deep crevasse ended after 4 meters thanks to my rucksack and my belly; I found myself sticking between the ice like a fish stick in the freezer.

To calm myself, I made a quick health check and took a few shots with my camera. This helped, and so I could reassure my friends up there that I was alright and they did not need to make an emergency call. Using my ice pick and my broken hiking stick, I made a stable footing and soon my comrades could pull up first my rucksack and then me into safety. I felt reborn and gratefully embraced each one of them. While falling down, I had imagined my time had come to leave this world…

But, thanks to God, the equipment was reliable and my rescue successful. After taking a rest, we continued our walk in the di­rection of Planura Hut. However, I soon realized that my right knee hurt (the inner meniscus), and so after reaching the hut I was flown by a Rega helicopter to Glarus Kanton Hospital, a 20 minute flight. Sadly, I could not continue the tour with an injured knee.

The weather forecast for the next day was bad, and my moun­tain comrades decided to take the direct and easy way down to Hintersand/Lindt. During their taxi ride to Urnerboden, the guest house from where we had started our tour, heavy rain and hail pured down accompanied by torrents flowing down 1500m precipices. I could only glare at the gloomy sky full of thunder and lightning and pray that my friends would come back safe and sound.

Despite my accident, our tour was a wonderful adventure, full of lessons, beautiful and dangerous moments. All this is part of life. Our equipment was good and I thank God and my rescuers from the bottom of my heart. Clariden, we will come again.

 

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