"We all know there are two types of riding days, the first is the bike park day without too much thinking required, and the second is the ride that has to be earned, bound to the risk of disappointment or complete failure.
My trip to the stunning Rosenlaui Glacier
with Anders Würsten and Ramon Hunziker was definitely one of those days that had to be earned, but it left us with new experiences, not only from mountain biking but also from the awe inspiring nature around us.
Deep down, every mountain biker has a spirit of adventure and discovery (some deeper than others), and with these sentiments motivating us, we were not going to be deterred by the hard work that would be required for this adventure. Safe in the knowledge that we would be the first mountain bikers in this area, we were eager to see what terrain and photo opportunities would open up for us.
With world famous tourist magnets like Eiger, Jungfrau Joch and Grindelwald just around the corner, the Rosenlaui Glacier, like the rough diamond that it is, remains almost forgotten. The natural surroundings here are more pristine and untouched, maybe just because there is no easy way up, no chairlifts to get you there. This is exactly what makes this location stunning, with the added bonus that there isn't another soul here to disturb this incredible location."
The Engelhorner or 'Angels Horns', with the sun rising over it to illuminate the valley below...only to disappear a few hours later.
The walking trail was rocky, steep and exhausting, with some sections being more tricky than others. We ascended over 1000 vertical meters, carrying bikes and bags.
There's a shortcut through the Rosenlauischlucht, with waterfalls in the cliffs. A small walking trail winds its way through this tight but very deep gorge.
"Stop. Danger. No thoroughfare. Falling ice". This sign used to be located right on the edge of the glacier, so it's amazing how far the ice has retreated. In the last 150 years, the glacier has shrunk to roughly 1/3 of its original size.
The bottom of the glacier and the glacier water... What the locals call 'glacier milk'.
Small characters amid the mighty mountain scenery.
In the not too distant past, these rocks were covered by a thick layer of ice which flowed and shaped the rocks over thousands of years to the smooth 'moulin' or glacier mill that can now be seen. Ramon and Anders take a closer look at the river that now flows 500 meters inside the rock form, exiting further below.
Not the Swiss Army Knife, but the Swiss army shovel. It won't fit in your pocket but it's still a universal tool for the mountain biker.
Anders and Ramon utilise the natural terrain to build a small take off. With terrain this rocky, there's not many possibilities for shaping.
Hiking. A big part of the day's game.
After all the preparation, the fun begins...
Really rough terrain and forget soft landings like in the sands of Utah.
Two silhouettes with a sea of fog in the background, somewhere below is our home town of Thun.
The Rosenlaui glacier now covers an area of 6km2 and stretches down the north east shoulder of the Wetterhorn mountain chain, at an elevation of 3200 meters above sea level. The glacier stretches a total of 600 vertical meters down the valley, which is still pretty impressive. This large vertical drop causes some very spectacular ice falls, generating a thundering sound that reverberates throughout the valley below.
Enough ice for 4,897,692,102 cold drinks...
From this vantage point the glacier shows its true size and only half of the glacier's face is visible in this photo.
Ramon's bike spent more time on his shoulders than beneath him.
Ramon with a magic mountain back drop.
Anders using the last of the sunlight.
Steep rocky run with line selection very important!
Sunset at 3pm. Good conditions for the ice, but a really short day for a photographer.
- Anders Wursten, Ramon Hunziker
- Words & Photos
- Hansueli Spitznagel
- geebeebee media