Extended weekend at Arolla, Day 2 …

The next morning after a good breakfast, we got ready to do our second snowshoe excursion for the weekend. We decided to go back to the ski lift area … to try to find a way of going up the mountain slope from there … since the hubby believed this would be a shorter route to take to go up to the top of the mountain than the one we had taken during our earlier visit to Arolla (during our anniversary).

So we went back again to the ski lift area … and true enough, this time we saw that there were several other snowshoers who had decided to do the same. And so we did … although we had to be careful not to be in the way of the skiers and snowboarders coming down the slopes.

There were many people on the slopes that Sunday, I suppose, to take advantage of the beautiful weather to enjoy the last remaining days of snow to do some winter sports, like us. But unlike the walk that we did just a day earlier to the foot of the glacier of Arolla  … which was flatter with only a few gentle slopes along the way … the same could not be said of the trek that we did on the second day. It was tough going up the ski slope as it was quite steep … when many others were actually using it to slide down!! And unlike the hubby, I was not really in an excellent physical shape. But … I plodded on slowly and tried to push myself as much as I could … to try to get to the top.

Did we manage to get to the top? Well … if you had read the teaser entry that I wrote a few months ago, you would know the answer to that! 😉

(Just move the pointer of your mouse on any picture to display background information or click to enlarge.)

Going back to the ski lift … to start our trek up the mountain from there. Another beautiful morning and day … and a lovely start to spring!

Hubby applying the sun lotion (which together with a pair of sun glasses and a bonnet/cap is  a necessity when going on the mountains on a sunny day!) before starting our ascent … while looking at the skiers and snowboarders enjoying themselves at the bottom of the slope.

A trio of skiers who chose to go up the mountain the harder but healthier way … by climbing up with their skis rather than taking the ski lift! Bravo! [Hubby’s note: they are doing ski mountaineering, a combination of uphill cross-country skiing and normal downhill alpine skiing except that this activity is usually practised off piste and for several hours, hence the need for a rucksack in which one should normally carry a  snow spade, an ice axe and some rope for the crevasses.] 

And off we went … up the mountain slope on our raquettes … with the hubby leading the way.

Up …

… and up … making sure to steer clear of the skiers and snowboarders coming down the slope so as to avoid any accident.

At that time, I was thinking that it must be one of the toughest climbs that I had had to do on a snowshoe as it was quite a steep slope up (for me lah!) But I was thinking (to myself) too soon … as it was even worst the next day!

But no pain, no gain, right? Despite the hard climb, it was worth it … because I really loved the view of the snow-covered mountains and slopes as we got higher. And of course … I also wanted to try to see another glacier in the area. That was the whole purpose of the trip to Arolla that weekend … to find me one or two glaciers, since we had failed to do so during the earlier visit to the area! 🙂

View of Mont Collon and a small dam (just below us) … as we made our way up the slope.

A bridge spanning across the frozen river Tsijore Nouve on our left …

… as we made our way up along this track.

The standard sign in the form of a pink raquette used in French-speaking Switzerland … to indicate that this was a snowshoe track (in German-speaking Switzerland it is not in the shape of a snowshoe and it is blue …).

A small group of French (the hubby heard them speak) snowshoers taking cover in between big rocks (from the slight wind) … while taking their midday meal.

I was keen to stop and have my lunch too … but the hubby suggested going a little further up the slope before doing so. And so we did.

Another skier going up the slope the hard way. I really admire these skiers who did so … because they made it seems so easy … and they were trekking up even faster than us! I wish I had as much stamina as them!!

Two skiers coming down the slope. We had to be very careful walking here as there was quite a number of skiers going down this slope while we were trying to go up!

Not to mention some snow-covered holes which might suddenly caught us unaware. Here, the hubby was showing me his half-submerged walking stick … when he accidentally placed it into a snow-covered hole. The hubby later stepped onto such holes when we were going down … and had a difficult time trying to free his leg that was stucked in the hole. Fortunately, he did not sprain or break his leg as a result of this … unlike one unlucky skier we saw when we were having our lunch not far from the slope here.

Giving my best smile for the camera … even though I was actually feeling very hungry, very tired and a little chilly! 🙂 Thankfully, we were about to rest and have our lunch near a big rock.

And this was the view from where I was sitting and enjoying my cheese sandwich. Lovely was it not?

But not the next view … when we unwittingly saw a French lady skier took a fall three times …

… and unfortunately broke her ankle on the third fall … not far from where we were sitting down eating our lunch. We could hear her scream … and after realising that she was actually screaming in pain, the hubby quickly went over to try to offer assistance. He was the first to arrive at the scene as the skier’s husband was still struggling to get up the slope on his skis upon realising that his wife had had an accident.

Thankfully, a group of experience skiers later joined the hubby to offer their assistance, too … doing what they can to make the lady skier more comfortable and even arranging for medical help. One of them climbed up the slope on his skis …

… and I later saw him coming down the slope with the piste warden who was trailing a stretcher.

He later brought her down to a flatter area … to wait for the helicopter that would fly her to the hospital in Sion. I was happy to see her flashing a V sign as they went down the slope … as it meant that she was going to be okay.

After quickly finishing our lunch and packing our stuff … we then started on our ascent again. It was not far from we had stopped for lunch that we saw another glacier.

It might not looked like much of a glacier from where we were with everything covered in snow …

… until we looked very carefully and used the camera zoom function to have a closer look  …

… that we saw the thick wall of ice underneath the snow very clearly. My second glacier for the weekend! Nice … 🙂

After having our fill, looking and taking snapshots of the glacier … we started to climb again.

However … as we went higher and higher, I was finding it harder and harder to find my footing on the steep slope … and had problems trying to catch up with the hubby. And worse … I suddenly started to feel light-headed and had a panic attack! I could feel my heart starting to beat really fast … and seeing that I was actually standing on a steep slope (not the best of places to be having panic attack, for sure!) … I chose to do the only thing that I think would be safe for me to do …

I sat down and, for several minutes, I just closed my eyes to try to get my heart beat to slow down … and decided that I would not be going any higher!! Seeing that I did not move for quite some time, the hubby started walking down towards me. And after telling him that I was not feeling too well and that I would like to go back, the hubby agreed to call it a day … even though he felt that we were not that far away from the top. Oh well … we still have another day to try to get to the top.

And so with him leading the way down, we slowly made our way down after I feel well enough to move. But that was not the end of that day’s misadventures.

Not long after, while we were walking down the slope … the hubby accidentally stepped into a hidden hole and took a tumble! Oh no … Thankfully, he did not sprain his leg, as the hole was quite deep.

But to free his leg, he had to release his foot from his snowshoe as it was preventing him from getting his leg out of the hole. Haizzz … what a day it had been!

And like a good citizen …

… hubby made sure that we filled up the hole with snow to prevent anyone else from accidentally falling into it, using his snowshoe as a spade (he had left our snow spade at home, thinking we would not be needing it as the plan was that we would be walking mostly along the ski pistes) …

… before continuing with our way down the mountain slope.

There was hardly anybody down near the ski lift by the time we arrived … so that we were able to walk without fear of getting into the way of any skiers.

And so unlike the day before …

… we got back to our hotel while it was still light … and therefore got to enjoy the view from our balcony for a bit before it got dark, even though we did not reach the foot of the glacier of Tsijore Nouve.

At least, we were safe … and that was something to be thankful for, no?

Other entries related to Arolla:

Other entries related to our snowshoeing trips in 2012:

3 thoughts on “Extended weekend at Arolla, Day 2 …

  1. did you get any closer photos of the lady skier that fell? If so can you post them or can they be sent via email?


  2. Pingback: Running on ski slopes … part 1 | à la mode de chez nous

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