At the Mammut Alpine Festival, 32 mountain sports enthusiasts from six countries had the opportunity to climb their first 4,000-m peak. On the weekend of September 14-16, 2018, participants learned key alpinism skills before they attempted the Breithorn (4,164 m). Find out more about the Mammut Alpine Festival in our journal:
32 lucky people were selected from over 2000 applications, to take part in the Mammut Alpine Festival. The time had come at last, and the first day of the festival was ready to go. On the afternoon of September 14, mountain sports enthusiasts from all over Europe met at the Bahnhofplatz station square in Zermatt and got to know each other better at a typical Swiss Apéro get-together. Following this, Markus Wey, the Technical Manager of the Mammut Alpine School, briefed participants on the equipment that would become trusted companions over the weekend. Picking up their ice picks, crampons, climbing harnesses, carabiners, Express sets and ropes, the climbers were then all set to go.
The cable car took the group up to the Trockener Steg station from where they tackled the short ascent to the Gandegghütte alpine hut. Against a stunning backdrop and with a breathtaking view of the imposing 4,000-m high Valais Alps, the festival participants were then able to enjoy an excellent gourmet menu prepared by famous chef Pascal Schmutz (who has been awarded 16 Gault-Millau points).After this delicious dinner, the guests got an exciting insight into the Mammut Eiger Extreme collection: How was it developed? Why is it specifically suitable for mountaineering? What features does this functional collection offer? All these questions were answered and, so they could form their own opinion over the weekend, the participants were allowed to test two jackets from the Eiger Extreme collection, the Nordwand Pro an the Nordwand Advanced. Before retiring for the night, the group exchanged their first-day impressions in the best of moods, in a hot tub under the stars.
Under the guidance of professionals, the festival participants were able to learn the key skills and knowledge needed for mountaineering.
On the second day of the Mammut Alpine Festival, the focus was on the best possible preparation for the Breithorn ascent on Sunday. Fortified by a hearty alpine brunch, the festival participants met at 9 a.m. in front of the Gandegghütte. There, mountain guides from the Mammut Alpine School as well as Mammut Pro Team athletes Dani Arnold and Stef Siegrist explained how to pack the equipment collected the day before. Then, the participants ventured in groups to the training area set up on the glacier. Various workshops awaited them there: Crevasse rescue using a pulley system, rappelling, crampon techniques and ice climbing. Under the guidance of professionals, the festival participants were hereby able to learn the key skills and knowledge needed for mountaineering. In the afternoon, participants put their learning into practice as part of a tour in the direction of the Furgghorn. Having gathered lots of experiences and full of anticipation for the following day, the group arrived back at the Gandegghütte at 5 p.m.
But the day was far from over. There were still exciting talks by the Mammut Pro Team athletes waiting for the Mammut Alpine Festival guests. Stef Siegrist reported on upcoming projects and gave inspiring insights into life as a professional alpinist. Dani Arnold, who set a new speed record this summer at the Grandes Jorasses north face (2 hours and 4 minutes), then told of his impressive experiences on the mountain.
Sunday was THE DAY: it was time to ascend the 4,164-meter high Breithorn.
Sunday was THE DAY: it was time to ascend the 4,164-meter high Breithorn. At 6 a.m., the festival participants, mountain guides and both Mammut Team Pro athletes started their day. After a good breakfast and in perfect weather conditions, they set off from the Gandegghütte to the Trockener Steg station and then continued onwards by train to the Klein Matterhorn. Once there, the weather suddenly changed without warning: Fog moved in and snow began to fall. But the changed weather conditions were not going to stop the group achieving their big goal to climb their first 4,000-meter peak. In their rope teams of the previous day, they made a start on their ascent of the Breithorn. Despite poor visibility, the participants mastered their task well. The last section was conquered using crampons and then they were there: The groups reached the summit and, for the first time in their lives, the festival participants stood on top of a 4,000-meter high mountain! What a feeling - congratulations!
Although the participants couldn't really enjoy the view from the Breithorn due to weather conditions, there was a huge sense of joy and emotions ran deep. Souvenir photos were taken, emotions were brought back under control and concentration was reestablished for the descent. Back at the Klein Matterhorn station, the train brought the group back to the Trockener Steg station where well-deserved alpine wine was ready waiting. So the festival participants and their mountain guides drank to their success before finding their way back to the Zermatt train station. There, the paths of the mountaineering enthusiasts parted again. Full of experiences, memories and emotions, the guests of the Mammut Alpine Festival headed home to Austria, Germany, France, Norway, Wales and various parts of Switzerland. What remains are a few sore muscles and lots of unforgettable memories climbing their first 4,000-meter peak.
Photos: Seya Eggler
Video: Maximilian Dreihann, Benedict Endler, Nagore Vidan