The Matterhorn is the icon of icons – easily the most photographed and recognizable mountain on Earth. While I normally try to resist photographing the most iconic, oft-photographed landscapes, the Matterhorn’s magnetic pull is too much for any photographer to resist, especially me!
With a full moon and hopes for a clearing storm, this last weekend Claudia and I splurged for a one-night vacation to Gornergrat, a hotel perched on a high ridgeline nearly 5,000 feet above the town of Zermatt, with an incredible view of the Matterhorn. Though it was snowing as we rode up on the Gornergratbahn rack train, the storm broke shortly after sunset and I was super stoked to catch some photos of the iconic peak in the moonlight!
Still scoring powder in Engelberg! Monday offered an alltime powder day, with 30cm of fresh and bluebird skies above the inversion clouds. Tuesday offered more fresh tracks for those of us willing to hike a bit above the ski area lifts. I’m loving it here lately!
At the top of the line, with an impressive spire overhead.
Yesterday I hiked up to the Griessental valley, a photogenic alpine valley that I vowed to return to after seeing it the first time during the Brunistock traverse a few weeks ago. This valley is directly above the town of Engelberg; in fact you can see the Rugghubelhütte (above) from town!
Today I met up with a skier from Montana for a ski/splitboard tour near Engelberg. I had scoped some north facing lines during Sunday’s hike up the Surenen valley, and I thought they would offer the best potential for any remaining powder after nearly three weeks of blue skies since the last storm.
Skier: Sam Cox.
We skinned up the valley and of course we chose to go for the highest couloir there! The snow was promising on the way up, but as we got higher into the couloir it turned to hard icy snow. After pounding steps into the slope for a few hundred feet, without crampons or ice axes, we decided that it just wasn’t happening! A crusty descent took us back down out of the couloir, and then we scored some nice turns down the open slope of smooth old wind-rippled powder.
Looking back up at our carves down the nice section. We had come out of the couloir at top right. All in all it was about an 1800′ descent, with probably the best (or should I say “most decent”) snow left around here.
Claudia and I took a hike up the Surenen valley on Sunday. This is the main valley that continues past Engelberg, quickly becoming deeply entrenched amongst towering glaciated mountain walls, eventually culminating in the massively broad cloverleaf basin of Blacken.
Here’s a panoramic view of the west side of Blacken, as seen from a small chapel in the center of the basin where we spent an hour or so eating lunch and relaxing in the sun. Titlis is peeking out at the far left.