Gear Junkie AWOL in Switzerland

A quick trip this week to Switzerland and the Alps. Hey, it’s summer break time in Europe, and I’m celebrating with a visit to Engelberg, an alpine valley two train rides south (about 1.5 hours) from Zurich and then, later this week, a meeting with Victorinox AG, the gear company that makes the original Swiss Army Knife.

Videographer Diego Defilla high on the Furenwand cliff

Today, I climbed the Furenwand wall in Engelberg, a 2,000-foot limestone face. The goal was to test some via ferrata gear from Petzl and Black Diamond as well as film an episode of the new “Gear Junkie Show” for Demand Media and Trails.com. I was testing a new helmet camera, the ContourHD, as well. Hope to get some of the footage online soon!

Gear Junkie Stephen Regenold clipped in and recording

Our Swiss guide on Furenwand called the (pretty sick) exposure a “good view.” My vertigo on the slippery ladder rungs with a few hundred feet of air beneath disagreed. Despite admittedly awesome views — including paragliders cutting swoops in midair beneath our feet — I was more concerned for a pitch or two here with just what was in front of my face. Reach. Pull. Step. Don’t look down!

A peek over the edge; for scale, the small red spec below near the structures is a car

Overall, it was a great time on the rock today climbing “Euro style” on the via ferrata. A couple more images below. Now, back to relaxing on “summer break” here in the Alps. —Stephen Regenold

Diego on a ladder three-fourths of the way up

Group traverse

View across the valley

Near the top

Swiss guide Albin “Bini” Amstutz, a lifelong Engelbergian

Matilda Rapaport on top

Lunch spot after the climb

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