When our friend Rickey Gates, a professional runner on the international circuit told us that Sierre-Zinal, a 31km trail running race in Switzerland, was among his most favorite and most beautiful races in the whole world – we listened.
When he said that they encourage Americans to come over and participate in this internationally recognized trail race that is part of the World Sky Running series, and that we should go run it- we decided to see what this race was all about.
And he was right. Sierre-Zinal, located in Switzerland’s Valais Alps, was one of the most incredible running experiences we have ever had in the mountains. It was such a special opportunity to run amongst the world’s elite running community on a spectacular course called the “La Course des Cinq 4000” – the “Race of the Five 4,000 meter peaks”.
But it was even more than that. It was the celebratory feel that encompassed our entire time there. It was the wood carved runners that stand up all year in town with the words Sierre-Zinal underneath them, it was the legendary tales told over meals, it was the past winner’s footsteps forever impressed into the sidewalks, it was a feeling of deep love and commitment to the mountains that this small Swiss town of Zinal is all about. In addition to being considered one of the most beautiful races, some say that Sierre-Zinal is one of the most competitive as well. It’s a real crossroads of runners from all different disciplines and backgrounds. This year the historic race celebrated 41 years and a record 4,500 participants. read more>>>
Descending from Castor’s summit. The route started all the way out on the snowy plateau in the distance.
With the race behind us, we made our way from Zinal to Zermatt where we would finally be able to make use of the 40 lb. duffel of climbing gear we had been carting around with us. read more>>>
We recently ran Sierre Zinal, a historic and super-competitive 31 km (18 mile) town-to-town trail race in the Swiss Alps. The race was impressive– in its scale (4500 people), its pace, and the local enthusiasm before, during, and after. It was our first race overseas and an incredible introduction to the European scene. read more>>>
The summer wouldn’t be complete without getting out on the Four Pass Loop. There was actually a good amount of snow on the peaks after a recent round of cold, bad weather– kind of unusual for this time of year. It sure made for a pretty day and a great run. read more>>>
Looking over to South Maroon Peak, 14,156 ft., from the summit of the North Maroon. The broken ridge goes from the lower right towards the center of the photo. The less technical ledge system is on the right side and below the ridge.
The 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act was this past weekend. The local papers have been covering the “news” that more people than ever have been cramming into certain wilderness areas around Aspen, and the local authorities seem surprised. One ranger went so far as to blame the increased popularity in Colorado on the legalization of marijuana– read the story here. I tend to think it’s a bit simpler. People need to get out in nature, and there aren’t enough places to go. read more>>>
After cresting treeline we had a long way to go on the ridge. We first had to go over the two Twin Peaks before getting to Rinker. You can see Twin Lakes out in the distance.
We wanted to go climb a mountain this past weekend, and we were unsure of where to go. We were looking for something that was tall, nearby, and was a summit we hadn’t yet climbed. It was actually kind of hard to find a mountain that fit that description. read more>>>