Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Good Air Day in the Alps; It's Time to Inject a Little Adrenaline into Your Weekends, Swiss-Style

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Good Air Day in the Alps; It's Time to Inject a Little Adrenaline into Your Weekends, Swiss-Style

Article excerpt

Byline: MARCUS WARING

Good air day in the Alps It's time to inject a little adrenaline into your weekends, Swiss-style by Marcus Waring SO what is the secret ingredient?" I asked Roger, a local in the Rialto Bar. He studied my unnaturally blue foamy cocktail for a moment. "Washing-up liquid?"

he suggested. A Gstaad-by-Night turned out to be a Friday-night powder keg of gin, Triple Sec, Malibu, Blue Curacao, jus de citron and possibly amnesia.

The latter because, after drinking it, the three-hour flight and train from Heathrow to Gstaad seemed a long time ago. Even my reason for being in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland became pleasantly uncertain. Ah yes.

Three days of cleansing the lungs and introducing my cowardly self to glacier hiking, white-water rafting and fondue (all that cheese must be dangerous).

Ruth, our guide for Saturday, brought me to earth with a bump in the morning. There's nothing like an alpine hike to clear the head. We rode a small cable-car up to Rellerli, the local peak, at 1,837m. The infinite blue sky and five valleys made by the hand of God (an oft-repeated story the locals adore) created swooning panoramas.

Sunday had the makings of an epic introduction to adrenaline sports. The rapid cable-car ascent to the Glacier Diableret - the Devil's Glacier - soaring above us at 3,000m, was something of a wakeup call. I was soon fiddling with the safety rope binding myself and five comrades to our glacier guide.

He led us towards a crevasse.

"You'd have a bloody job falling down that," echoed Tom, a 70-year old mountaineer, more accustomed to the peaks and pitfalls of the Karakorum in Pakistan.

The air was thin, and views of the Matterhorn and its snow-clad brethren were stunning. But the hike was short and stayed close to other tours and people on husky rides. We still had the rafting - a brief lesson sitting in the raft on dry land prepared me for trouble. …

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