I still remember when I was a young boy every year spending my autumn holidays in Switzerland. Setting out early each day on the day’s hike and returning after dark, singing hiking songs along the way. I remember creeks which we could drink from, picnics with Swiss chocolate, and that satisfying feeling taking off my hiking boots at the end of the long day. It was these holidays that deepened my love of nature and awakened my passion for the great outdoors.
Which is why I was particularly excited to receive the invitation from Danner Boots to spend a weekend in Switzerland to celebrate the opening of the new Danner Store in Hotel Huus Gstaad. I hardly need to mention that the Huus Gstaad is a hotel of the finest quality where no wishes are left unfulfilled, including the best cheese fondue that I have ever had. It was the perfect base for the coming activities.
It was the ideal opportunity to christen my new Danner Mountain 600 Boots. For me, the 600 is the perfect fusion between heritage hiking boots and high top sneakers. So let’s find out how they perform in the field.
The program started on the neighbouring Hornberg with a hike peppered with tricky climbs. Then the second part of the trek got even more challenging with a 40 metre zip line and an abseil down a 15 metre rise that we first had to sweat our way up. It was a hot late-summer and the trees were displaying their most stunning autumn colours under a steel blue sky. Overall, the hike was pure joy.
Afterwards we were rewarded with a delicious BBQ on the banks of the Arnesee and a turn on the lake in a rowing boat.
I especially enjoyed the company of my fellow travellers Johannes Höhn and Hannes Becker from the German Roamers collective. I also seized the opportunity to go out with them on a photo tour the next morning before breakfast. Also with us was Quentin Strohmeier who was equally unable to let such an opportunity slip by. Together we drove to the nearby Lauensee with its breathtaking panorama of the mountains. Johannes had lent me his kayak and so I was able to enjoy a dream start to the day with a kayak upon the crystal clear lake.
Back at the hotel, we were whisked over to the airfield and aboard a helicopter which brought us to a nearby glacier. It was the absolute highlight of the weekend. On top of that, we were taken on a guided hike up the 3240 metre high summit. To be honest, our success was not completely deserved (what with the helicopter drop) but still it was a breathtaking experience.
And if all of that wasn’t exciting enough, we finished with another challenging hike up the Rellerligrat, on the mountain north of the Huus Gstaad. The weather was magnificent. I revelled in the hike and felt again what that young boy felt so many years ago. Except for the blisters that I always got on my feet back then. Because my Danner Mountain 600, even without a period of wearing them in, and despite the numerous demanding activities over rock and snow, never pinch or caused the slightest discomfort. And so my band-aids, which I had carefully packed, stayed unused and unnecessary in my pocket.
On the way back to the airport, looking across at the passing mountains, I suddenly fell into a heavy melancholy. The time at Huus Gstaad with Danner Boots had been too good. I could have easily stayed another week, gone on more hikes. I had met people who I hope to stay in touch with, and Gstaad itself was not lacking in charm, despite its popularity with tourists. I comforted myself with the thought that I will be back. And why not? Next autumn is just around the corner! Right now, staring out my office window at the grey city, I can think of nothing better.
Photos by Pascal Rohé
Photo summit: Fred Bschaden