Every day at the North Pole selection camp has begun unlike any other. But today proved that we could still be even further surprised by the physical challenges and natural beauty that Swtizerland has to offer.
Today was the day when we would tackle the Diablerets glacier, taking two cable-cars just to get there and then a further trek to reach our starting point. For some, it was our first time seeing snow, let alone hiking through it, and we could not have wished for a better way to come face-to-face with this natural element.
As we left so early, this meant no leg-aching morning run, much to our disappointment. Instead, we packed our bags with food and hot tea for the day, beanies, gloves, ice shoes, helmets and harnesses. Upon arrival we were split into two groups. The one was to be tied together as we hiked in single file up to the summit, reaching 3209.7 meters (to be precise). Feelings felt were those of dizziness, accomplishment, relief and pride at how we pulled together as a team to reach the fantastic view at the top. Once the cloud descended it felt as if we had entered the icy planet Hoth from Star Wars, not even able to see a few meters ahead of us.
Meanwhile, the second group was alternating between digging a snow pit (in order to measure and analyse the different snow layers with Dr Roswitha Stolz and Franziska Koch from the University of Munich) and running a mock crevice rescue. This rescue involved using basic equipment to pull out an the "victim" from the icy realms of the unknown.
After hiking back to the cable-car, we went to…the swimming pool!!! It was quite a contrast from our previous activities, but it turned out to be a fun relay challenge between the two teams.
After our much-needed nutritious dinner, we listened to a talk by John Ebert from the St Mary`s University of Minnesota about the practical application of the GIS (Geographical Information System).
As we speak, many previous Young Explorers have arrived to spend the next few evenings and to tell us about their previous expeditions. And so, sleep, socialising and good chocolate cake await us!