Today it was either going to be a climb up the Faulhorn 2,683m, or a run down the Eiger trail. Due to the thunderstorms rumbling all morning, I chose the latter. I Just hoped my slightly sore left knee would be o.k. surely it would this was the soft option, right....Wrong.
The start is tough from Grindelwald, you climb about a Scafell before you really get going on the trail. Most people start the trail at the Eigergletscher train station 2,320m run it in the opposite direction and finish in Alpiglen, a much shorter route starting at a good altitude. My route would include about 12 miles and about 4,600 feet of climb and descent. It proved to be a tough trail and one that was a bit scary with thunder rumbling all the time. There where the huge cliffs of the Eiger to the left and some big drops at times to the right. As I was traversing this area it dawned on me that heavy rain with snow melt equals potential land slip. I hurried across these parts.
Eventually as you start to round the north face the trail broadens out and becomes more rocky and barren, and there are few mini glacier ends to cross, as well as a few gushing steams. A nice English chap warned me of a river in about 20 minutes that was difficult to cross, and that he made a large detour up to an easier part. Then he started to mention about getting his boots wet. My trail shoes were wet anyway so as long as it wasn’t dangerous, wet feet weren’t going to bother me. It turned out that I hardly broke stride and carried on running.
This got me thinking about the other day on Monch.” Maybe I have a different level of acceptability of dangerous ground. Maybe they are trying to make it too safe. I still feel a little bitter about Monch, I think the conditions would have made it tougher but I am sure I would have made it. I would like to think that a fell runner’s fitness is superior to that of a guy that needs a mountain guide to make a
450 meter ascent from a hut on a perfect day. That is the comparison that the guide would have made, along with a snide “he doesn’t have a clue look what’s on his feet”. They should have seen Will and I in Scotland with no crampons or ice axes in winter on some slopes as steep as Monch!”
The best part of the trail was seeing where the climb of the Eiger starts from. A small sign marks this with the ascent line on it. After this the trail rounds a ridge and the Eigergletscher train station is just below. I decided that as it had rained a fair bit on the run, and the streams were already quite fast, that I would take the easy trail back to Gridelwald. This proved a nice gentle descent on easy fire trail. A good 4 and a half hour run and the knee feels o.k. too.