Thru-Hikes

All Thru-hikes in Europe and the USA.

Alta via 1 part 1: Biella–Scotoni

Alta via 1 part 1: Biella–Scotoni

The first three days of the Alta Via 1 started with a steep climb up to Rifugio Biella and continued along various mountain huts offering stunning views of the Dolomites. On the third night we slept at Rifugio Scotoni, just off the official Alta Via trail, avoiding the the defiantly high Lagazuoi hut.

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Alta Via 1 Prologue: Lago di Braies

Alta Via 1 Prologue: Lago di Braies

The Alta Via 1 is a 120 km (75 miles) hike through the South Tyrolean Dolomites. The trailhead to this hike happens to sit at one of the most beautiful lakes of Europe: the Lago di Braies. Before Christine and I started the Alta Via 1 we stayed in the magnificent Hotel at the lake. The 3 days at the trailhead became a fantastic holiday in itself.

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The Fishermen’s Trail

The Fishermen’s Trail

The Fishermen’s Trail is an impressive coastal path in the south of Portugal, especially suitable for winter hiking. I did a beautiful hike from Porto Covo to Odeceixe in four days, where I found steep cliffs, sand in all colors and the deep blue Atlantic Ocean on my side all the time. 

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Planning the Alta Via 1

Planning the Alta Via 1

In the summer of 2022 Christine and I will hike the Alta Via 1. The AV1 is one of the classic European thru hikes. Hiking this 120 km (75 miles) trail in twelve days, we will exclusively spend the nights in mountain refuges. After all, camping is not allowed nearly anywhere on this trail. The AV1 is traditionally meant to be experienced as a hut tour anyway.

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Kesch-Bergell Trek part 2: Kesch Trek

Kesch-Bergell Trek part 2: Kesch Trek

The Kesch-Bergell Trek part 2 consists of the spectacular Kesch Trek. A four day hut-to-hut mountain hike. Because the first hut on the route (the Grialetschhütte) was closed all season, I hiked the trek in 3 days. And I included the ascent of the 3.147 m high Flüela Schwarzhorn at the start.

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Kesch-Bergell Trek part 1: Vereina

Kesch-Bergell Trek part 1: Vereina

The Kesch-Bergell Trek is not one continuously marked trail, it is not even one trail! This year I built a 12 day route from various longer and shorter trails in the canton Graubunden, Switzerland. The core of my plan was the Kesch Trek, a 4-day hike to and from the famous Kesch Hütte.

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Tiveden National Park

Tiveden National Park

Tiveden is one of 30 National Parks in Sweden. An old growth forest, strewn with huge boulders and dotted with smaller and bigger lakes, it offers good hiking opportunities. I combined four shorter loop trails to one bigger day hike.

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Haute Route 10: Zermatt

Haute Route 10: Zermatt

The tenth and final day of the Haute Route started with the nerve wrecking Charles Kuonen suspension bridge and featured more sketchy passages along the trail to Zermatt, the end of the thru hike.

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Haute Route 9: Europahütte

Haute Route 9: Europahütte

On day 9 of the Haute route I hiked the valley bottom of the Mattertal to the village of Herbriggen, because the first half of Europaweg to Zermatt was closed. Then I climbed out of the valley again, up to the Europahütte, halfway the Europaweg trail.

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Haute Route 8: Sankt Niklaus

Haute Route 8: Sankt Niklaus

Day 8 on the Haute Route was a hot and very tough day. From the Meidsee down to Gruben, ascending again to the Augustbordpass and then all the way down to the village of Sankt Niklaus. A total of more than 2.600 meters of exhausting descent.

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Haute Route 7: Meidsee

Haute Route 7: Meidsee

A long and spectacular day 7 of the Haute Route brought a view of Val d’Anniviers with the Bernese Alps in the distance. Then the first view of the Matterhorn peak and excellent wild camping at the Meidsee at the end of the day.

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Trail Food: a Hiker’s Breakfast

Trail Food: a Hiker’s Breakfast

I have been buying different brands of trail food breakfasts for a few years.  But once I became aware that these expensive meals were not much different from what I make myself for breakfast at home, I started preparing my own hiker’s breakfast.

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Haute Route 6: Zinal

Haute Route 6: Zinal

A sunny sixth day on the Haute Route: I hiked along an incredibly blue lake to Col de Sorebois. Leaving the amazing view of the mountain range east I decended to the village of Zinal, where I found the first campsite of my thru hike.

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Haute Route 5: Cabane de Moiry

Haute Route 5: Cabane de Moiry

Day 5 on the Haute route was a day of rain, snow and mist. And because of poor visibility quite demanding. Especially the climb up to Cabane de Moiry on a rocky zig zag path with 29 turns in complete mist was exhausting – but beautiful.

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Haute Route 4: Les Haudères

Haute Route 4: Les Haudères

A demanding fourth day on the Haute Route. After an easy stroll along Lac des Dix, a steep ascent took me to rough and misty terrain full of rocks, under heavy clouds – with sometimes no trail at all. Halfway I encountered the challenging ladder section at Pas de Chèvres. After that, it was all the way down for hours.

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Haute Route 3: Lac des Dix

Haute Route 3: Lac des Dix

An amazing third day on the Haute Route. I climbed four mountain passes, sled down a snowfield and crossed glacial waters. On the way there were turqoise lakes, a herd of ibex and I reached the highest elevation of the entire Haute Route.

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Haute Route 2: Cabane du Mont Fort

Haute Route 2: Cabane du Mont Fort

My second day on the Haute Route was a full day of ascending, with exciting views of the Massif du Mont Blanc and the snowy peak of Le Grand Combin. Gaining more than 1.600 meter in elevation, I reached Cabane du Mont Fort early in the afternoon.

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Haute Route 1: Prologue

Haute Route 1: Prologue

The Haute Route, also known as the Chamonix-Zermatt Trail, shares the first 3 sections with the Tour du Mont Blanc, but then continues east into the high mountains. I started my thru-hike in a lovely quiet and green valley as a prologue to another 10 days of desolate fields of glacial rock, almost 3000 meter high alpine passes and stunning views. 

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Gearlist 2020

Gearlist 2020

When I first started backpacking, I had a heavy Fjalräven backpack and a total weight of about 25 kg on my back. Especially since my first major thru-hike in 2018 in the High Sierra, I have been lowering my pack weight significantly. For my last thru-hike on the Swiss Haute Route I brought my base weight down with another 700 grams, to just about 6,8  kg (15 pounds).

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Kings Canyon Sunset Trail

Kings Canyon Sunset Trail

Before I started my eight-day SEKI Loop trail, I spent two days in Kings Canyon National Park to acclimatize to the elevation and do some preliminary hiking. I combined the Sunset Trail with the General Grant Loop Trail, the North Grove Trail and the Dead Giant Loop to a beautiful half day hike.

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TMB Day 8: Up and Down Col de Balme

TMB Day 8: Up and Down Col de Balme

Day 8 of the Tour du Mont Blanc was wet, cold …and short. I hiked up to the Refuge du Col de Balme, where I  warmed up and made plans for the rest of this rainy day. Then I hiked down to the valley to the first hotel that had a room available. The day ended nicely though, with 4 fellow TMB hikers in an Argentière bar.

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