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Titlis Bergtrophy - Up the Titlis on my own two feet!

I can see the Titlis out of my kitchen window every day, and I’ve been up Klein Titlis too many times to count – the ascent in a cable car, and the descent usually on skis. This time I decided to join in the Titlis Mountain Trophy and finally take on Gross Titlis, covering the 2,200 metres of ascent on foot for the very first time!


5:45 a.m.:
My alarm rings. I drag myself out of bed and sit down to a good, hearty breakfast. I have to admit I’m feeling nervous. Can I manage it? Will I be able to cope in the thin air up there?


6:30 a.m.:
I meet up with my colleague, and we gaze up reverently at our goal for the day – the Gross Titlis, 3,239 metres above sea level. 


7:00 a.m.: After buying our tickets, receiving our provisions, and chatting briefly with some acquaintances, we set off. The first stage is the hike up to the Gerschnialp – a nice, easy beginning.


7:30 a.m.: We reach our first waypoint, the Gerschnialp, which is 1,262 metres above sea level. Now things start to get a little tougher as we take on the Pfaffenwand. We had been chatting animatedly, but now we lapse into concentrated silence and focus on the climb. Shortly before Trübsee (1,800 a.s.l.) I have to fight down a rising sense of panic. How am I supposed to make it up to the Titlis when I’m already chuffing like an old steam train?


8:30 a.m.: Our break on Trübsee, complete with refreshments, comes just at the right time. From now on we take our time, giving one another the necessary encouragement.


9:15 a.m.: The upward journey continues. I take it nice and slow, and everything goes well. The next 600 metres of ascent to the Laubersgrat are hard work, but I never feel like giving up. I enjoy the peace and tranquillity, even though we are regularly overtaken by some of the 1,000 other Mountain Trophy participants. (Sometimes, we’re the ones doing the overtaking!) 


10:45 a.m.: When we arrive at the Laubersgrat I’m really looking forward to my mug of broth. I also allow myself a piece of the chocolate I’ve brought along. I’m excited to see what awaits me on this Alpine hiking trail – it’s a panoramic route that I have never taken before.


11:00 a.m.: We set off again. The stony path demands skill and concentration. We come across one Mountain Trophy participant perched anxiously on a rock, her face drained of colour. We lend her a hand, and are pleased that we are not crippled by fear ourselves and able to enjoy the walk. 


11:40 a.m.: For the first time, we become aware of what a mass event the Mountain Trophy is. Shortly before the downhill section that leads to the glacier ski lift, via a ladder or a short climb, we run into a bottleneck. We wait our turn in the cool breeze, chatting to other participants. No one seems to mind the delay. 

12:25 p.m.:
At last, it’s my turn. I choose to descend via the ladder. I get a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach and force myself to think of something else. I refuse to look down, telling myself that I’m just climbing down a ladder; it’s really nothing to get excited about. 


12:30 p.m.:
We make our way across the Titlis glacier step by step, and get to see for ourselves the impact the hot summer has had on our glacier. My colleague and I have found a great rhythm and are harmonising perfectly. I keep worrying that the air will get too thin for me, but it doesn’t turn out to be a problem. I am really enjoying the hike and I feel energised.


1:20 p.m.:
The last waypoint is Klein Titlis, and we take a break here. I drink another mug of broth, eat another piece of chocolate, and we set off again, full of determination to conquer the Gross Titlis. I’m looking forward to taking on the remaining 211 metres of ascent. Here, too, the thin air doesn’t bother me – even though some others are gasping for breath. 


2:15 p.m.:
We’ve done it! My colleague and I embrace, exuberant. We snap the obligatory peak photos and don’t even mind that cloud has obliterated much of the view. All that matters right now is our tremendous sense of exhilaration and achievement. Despite everything, however, I am keen to embark on the homeward journey – my tummy is rumbling and I have a blister on my heel.


2:30 p.m.:
We head back to Klein Titlis and take the cable car to the Stand, where we enjoy a well-earned lunch. Spaghetti has never tasted so good!


4:30 p.m.:
We arrive back in Engelberg. I am tired, happy and proud all at the same time. And I am left with a wonderful sense of fulfilment, which I am keen to experience again sometime soon. 
The next day: My muscles are much less sore than I had been expecting. But I do have one painful memento: with every step I take, my blister reminds me of my peak performance! 


The next day:
My muscles are much less sore than I had been expecting. But I do have one painful memento: with every step I take, my blister reminds me of my peak performance! 

 

Text & Images: Andrea Hurschler
Engelberg native Andrea Hurschler knows the Titlis like the back of her hand, as she has skied on it many times, and she even worked there during the holidays for several years. However, she had never climbed the 2,200 metres of ascent up to Gross Titlis. She did that for the first time this summer, at the age of 31.
 


 This year's Titlis Bergtrophy will take place on 10 August 2019. Register now and experience the adventure for yourself!