Dramatis personae:
Adrian - on parental leave, Saarbrücken
Carsten - aspirant mountain guide, Lausanne
Nicolas - PhD student, Paris

On the first day we discovered the fantastic setting of the Oeschinen lake (UNESCO World Heritage Site), a crystalline lake with a unique tint of blue, surrounded on every side by cliffs, cascades, glaciers and summits, save for a narrow opening in the West, in the direction of Kandersteg. We hiked up to the Fründen hut on an easy hiking trail while marvelling at this new landscape.

Starting at 5am on the next day, we walked up the Fründen glacier in the pitch-dark night, our path only lit by the meager light of our headlamps. Slowly as the sun was rising, the highest peaks started to stand out from the sky in the East, progressively revealing the splendid surroundings and the countless summits of the Bernese Oberland. Finally as the day rose, we could shortly distinguish the Oeschinen lake deep down in the valley, before snow started to fall. At 7:30 we reached the Fründenjoch (2984m), and after a break which we had to keep short because of the snow, we decided to go for an easy climb up to a nearby summit at 3193m. We reached it two hours later after a beautiful way on the ridge, and could finally enjoy a well-deserved meal while admiring the nearby summits, the Blüemlisalp, the Fründenhorn, and the majestic Doldenhorn. One the way down to the hut, we practiced cramponing technique and crevasse rescue for a few hours under the challenging guidance of Carsten.

After a fortifying dinner and a good night’s sleep, we headed off again at 5am on the next day, in the direction of the Doldenhorn. After crossing the bergschrund of the Fründen glacier, Carsten probably thought that the normal route was not enough of an adventure for us, and we had to traverse a wall in the dark before reaching the path leading to the Gallet ridge. This part was definitely a challenge for us, not being regular rock climbers! We then hiked up this ridge, the terrain alternating between icy plates, moraine, glacier, snow fields, short rock and ice walls. Time passing quickly, we stopped due to difficult conditions on the path ahead of us. We hence turned around at 3200m after about 5 hours, enjoying the view on the nearby Doldenhorn. On the way down, we made an important detour through the Doldenhorn glacier to avoid a plate which had become icy since we went up. After resting for a short while at the hut, we proceeded to walk down to Kandersteg, grasping again views of the Bernese Oberland and of the sumptuous Oeschinen lake, enjoying the return of vegetation. As we were about to exit the trail and return to civilization, we came face to face with two ibex guarding the path that led us to so many wonders.