I am proud that I was able to remain calm in the minutes that seemed like eternity. When I knew that only focus and breathing will get me to the top alive and in one piece.
Some snow was falling the week before. And made mountains beautifully white on tops while the valleys and the lower hills were still all green.
I am still in love with Alpstein, my first Swiss mountain region. And Säntis is the king of Alpstein with its 2502m. I started my hiking in Wasserauen up to Ebenalp and on to Schäfler on 1924m. All good till here. The top of Schäfler offers one of the most beautiful views on the mountains I can imagine. Reminds a bit on Dolomiti peaks, proudly standing up towards the sky.
From that point my route was one to remember for life. I was on from there alone. As most of my path to Säntis is in the shade, it was covered in snow and ice. The trick was that under the snow water was still running as the mountain was not cold. So the part between the mountain stone and the snow was full of void and holes. I was only aware of this when I was far on already and was not sure of any single step. I was not sure if under the snow carpet a deep hole or void is waiting to swallow me in.
There was so much snow on the Northern side that no hiking signs were visible, no path, no ropes, nothing. I was not sure to return or not. Or will I reach a part on the sunny side where the snow melted already. I didn't. The 5 hour super dangerous winter hike was in front of me instead of 2 hour summer one.
As I had to climb a steep snowy part, I had to stop. My hands were freezing. I had no water anymore since I was counting on spring water to fill my bottle. I had to stop to think. And to take a deep breath, asked God and Angels to look after me. I was afraid. But I knew I have to go on. As soon as possible. Slowly and focused. My mobile was not working. No signal. Anyway I knew, I have to show my strength. Not physical, but psychical. As I came further on I was sure the hardest part is over. As I was looking at the Säntis already in front of me. But no. The hardest part was the last and the steepest part towards the top. Full in snow, full of holes, full of deep dangerous pockets between the snow, snow and unknown depths. I could see people on top enjoying who came with lift from the other side. They were enjoying the sun as I was in shadow under, in shadow of my dangerous hiking challenge.
Yes, I was afraid. I was scared. I realised people from the top can't see me. I was just a small dot in the middle of a steep wall where no one was coming up, except me. I did check the weather and the conditions and there was no warning or any special notice.
I was praying and breathing slowly. Step by step. Watching attentively every step I took. I was shaken and stirred. 7 hours were behind me. I was mentally exhausted. I slipped many times and caught myself on a stone or on a snow corner. There are no photos from the dangerous part. I didn't even touch my camera. I was only hoping for best.
Photos are form a beautiful parts. And the most beautiful part is that I ma her now, writing this. Alive and kicking. I always respected the mountains, but this experience gave me some extra lesson. A reminder that mountains are really precious and the nature is the goddess of the world.
As I came up, I was quietly in shock. I just stood there. Watching from 2500m the beauty around, the wonder of nature. Grateful and happy. I could only cry, fall on my knees, squeeze myself into a prayer of gratefulness and shake by experience.
On my way home and still now I am proud I made it. I was able to focus, stay calm, no panic. What a test! What a day! What a lesson!
Thank you, dear God! Thank you, my Angels! Thank you Nature, my goddess!