get away from the ferratas as quickly as possible.
The rain was so heavy that, in no time, we were all
completely drenched. We didn’t have time to put on our rain
gear. Luckily, I had decid ed to pack the drone in a dry bag
inside the backpack. So at least I knew that the Phantom 4
would stay dry.
The conditions got worse and worse. Fog started to
engulf the side of the mountain. We were rushing up the
mountainside, which had become increasingly slippery. The
rain not only turned the sheets of rock into a slippery mess but
also created waterfalls all around us. The water found every
possible way down the mountain, and so we got wet not only
from the falling rain but also from the water rushing down all
I started to get really exhausted, and my legs felt heavier
and heavier—not only because of the wet clothes, which
added even more weight, but also because of the lack of
breaks. Andrea, our mountain guide, kept pushing us and
did not let us slow down. We had to get up over this crest so
that we could get off the ferrata. At times, you could see the
flashes of lightning all around us, immediately followed by
incredibly loud thunder. The sound bounced off the walls like a
ball inside a pinball machine. We were inside this storm, and it
was a frightening one.
The temperature started to drop and the rain turned into
ice rain and then into hail. The falling hail hurt when it hit your
face. I tried to focus on keeping myself properly tethered to the
ferrata and kept pulling myself up higher and higher. I started
to get freezing cold; my gloves were completely wet, leaving
me with less and less feeling in my hands. My pants felt like
they were glued to my legs, and the cold wetness felt so
uncomfortable. My jacket was wet, my shirt under it was wet,
and my skin was wet. I became more and more aggravated as
the cold and wetness was getting to me.
I looked up and I could see another subgroup of ours about
20m above us. Their silhouettes were barely visible through
the fog; I was envious that they were already up there. At that
moment, I slipped on the rock and landed flat on the ground. I
cursed as the water rushing down the mountainside was going
into my layers of clothing—not that it made a difference; I was
already as wet as one can get. But it sure made me feel more
We managed to make it up to the crest and quickly got
off the ferrata. I could see the relief on Andrea’s face. He was
glad we had made it without having gotten hit by lightning.
While taking off our harness, I noticed the strong, cold wind,
and I immediately started to shiver. I had no control over it.
Andrea noticed how cold I was, and he ordered my fellow team
member Gloria and me to continue our ascent over the rocks.
The hard part was behind us, and the tongue of the glacier ice
was right next to us. I looked at the beginning of the glacier
and realized that’s why it was so much colder up here. The
wind was strong, and Gloria and I tried to move quickly to
warm up again. The rest of the team was still taking off all their
gear, and we quickly put some distance between them and us.
At some point, I just stopped and stood there, closing my eyes
The Terrain was difficul T wi Th big boulders, snowfields, and pre TTy s Teep ascen Ts. andrea
poin Ted To a ridge and informed us Tha T, once we go T To Tha T ridge, we would almos T be There.
panorama of the
taken with the DJI
Opposite page: Fog
and ice rain made the