|On the first day of the course, we went to a glacier to practice moving around with crampons and ice axes, and stuff like that.
I was delighted to find, that all my equipment worked perfectly.
|Everyone puts on their equipment.
|Phil instructs in the use of ice axes, and moving accross uneven ground.
|The group practice ice climbing on a conveniently sized ice wall.
|That evening, the lads I was sharing an apartment with, decided to practice crevasse rescue (a key technique in Alpine mountaineering) in the living room !.
|The following day, we set off, for a 2 day excursion to the Dix Alpine hut. This is a picture of the hut in the distance, as we walked up from Arolla.
Although I was much fitter than before, everyone else had been getting fitter as well, and I quickly found myself at the back.
The walking poles I bought were really useful, and I reminded myself of the Brian Tracey quote “by the yard its hard, but by the inch its a synch”.
|The Dix hut from outside.
It was a beautiful hut, and all the more beautiful for being so isolated.
A few of the locals had brought 3 generations of their family up for dinner, and the evening out.
They even had Swiss army knives with the hut name and logo on them (I bought one for Sarah).
|The cost of drinks in the hut, was a little expensive, but I had a few beers and wine, and the evening was quite fun.
The first night, couldn’t sleep due to the altitude, but by the 2nd night, I was fine.
|It’s very hard to get an Alpine guide to pose seriously for a picture.
|In the hut during the evening, the mountain rescue helicopter landed outside and many of the Children (and me) all went outside to watch it take off.
|In the morning, we got up to do various activities. The view from the hut was impressive.
In the bottom left of the picture is a PYB instructor called Martin, who had been to the top of Everest.
|This mountain was the first thing you could see, when you walked out of the front door, of the hut.
I could hardly believe the angle of this mountain, the sides formed almost a perfect triangle.
|A glacier up towards the Pign D Arrola.
A few of the lads actually got to climb this, but although I was much fitter than previous trips, the blisters on my feet limited me a bit.
|Instead, I walked back from the hut with Phil a qualified Alpine guide (it is illegal to guide or lead in France or Switzerland without this qualification).
|Phil showed me this mountain, and with his help I got to the top. At 3015 metres it is the highest I have ever climbed.
I ended up going home, the following day, but I had a brilliant time.
I would like to thank Twid and Martin, and especially Phil from PYB for an amazing trip and for all their help and assistance.