The Altitude that changed his life – 08.09.2015
The Mont Blanc © Roger Goovaerts | 14.07.2012
It was the third time I would hike the high mountains with the same group as in 2010 & 2012, where we topped the Alphubel, Dome, Weismiess & Allalinhorn mountains in Switzerland. All reaching an altitude of 4000 metres above sealevel, with the highest among them being the Dom mountain lurking a shy 4545 metres into the sky. Ultimately we topped this one in a timespan of a mere 7 hours climb starting from the Domhütte at 2940 metres altitude.
Now, as we speak it was September 2015 when me and the group of 3 others would climb the Italian Gran Paradiso mountain and so we succeeded our goal. For me, it was tough, at least for my knees it was. It was the weight of the 16 kilos backpack and climbing rope on top on my back that was the killer of the trip. Another mistake of mine was not using walking sticks, but soon after I told my fellow colleagues about it, they gave me one to further support my right knee. I had lost a bit of hope on the day before our ultimate climb to the top of the Gran Paradiso, but after all I managed to reach the top with all of them, although at a slow pace when going down. I succeeded the climb but they had to operate my right knee on 10 November of 2015.
The operation wasn’t actually that bad, it just made me a bit more cautious when doing long hikes, putting too much force on them, among other things.
The cross at the top of the Allalinhorn © Marc Deschryver | 18.07.2012
Let’s rewind to 2010, me counting 20 years of age, young and fearless, young and loving the high Alps, like a lot of us do, waiting for the moment of joy when reaching the highest point of the mountain covered in a white carpet of snow. Trust me, it’s truly asthonishing to actually stand above that thick layer of clouds hanging down below, and actually waiting just for you after finishing your exhausting yet beautiful adventure… Let’s hope they’re gone by then!
The Dom mountain top © Marc Deschryver | 06.08.2010
Below picture was taken on the first of August of 2010 with from left to right, me (Alan), Marijke, Roger, Marc & Johan. All wonderful people with the love for climbing in their hearts. Me being clearly the youngest of them all going sharing the same goal as theirs, reaching every top on our list.
But first we have to reach the Fluhalp Hütte at a height of 2620 metres.
The Group – Day 1 | 01.08.2010
Refilling my water bottle | 01.08.2010
Reaching the Fluhalp Hütte | 01.08.2010
First time sleeping in a hut
I remember very well how it was, it was nice, at least this one. It’s big, comfortable, there are many rooms with different floors and the food is more than great. On these trips I always used to say: “the food’s more delicious over here than at home”, but nowadays I take back my words and I must say that mama’s cooking is still the best in the world. The experience I had was great and the view outside as spectacular as it could ever possibly get. White mountain tops all around us and a sweet view of the valley below us. There’s more adventure awaiting us the next day…
Taking a rest at the Fluhalp Hütte | 01.08.2010
Me looking out of a window in the Fluhalp Hütte | 01.08.2010
Posing in front of the Matterhorn mountain | 02.08.2010
Marc compairing the expanded Bifi Roll with his 2 fingers | 02.08.2010
The Glacier is melting | 02.08.2010
Täsch-Hütte this way… 1,30h? | 02.08.2010
Belaying my group over the pool passage | 02.08.2010
We’ve arrived at the Täsch-Hütte | 02.08.2010
How common is it to see photos of a dinner at the Täsch-Hütte? | 02.08.2010
Look at that view! | 03.08.2010
Look up, Alan! We’re reaching the Bivac. | 03.08.2010
The only picture I have from the Bivac of the outside. | 03.08.2010
View from the Bivac. | 04.08.2010
Above the cloud deck at the Bivac. | 04.08.2010
At the top of the Alphubel. | 04.08.2010
And then came September 2015 with a new mountain top to accomplish called the Gran Paradiso located in the Graian Alps in Italy between the Aosta Valley and Piedmont regions, reaching a height of 4.061 metres above the sea.
All of which isn’t a huge height to climb, but It’ll make the long story short…
It was the heavy weight on my knees and the rough terrain we had to endure in between the mountain refuges that became just a little too much for me. Also a bummer is that not using walking sticks whenever possible, is going to put too much force on your ligaments and therefor damage everything.
The Gran Paradiso as seen from the valley – 5 days before Gran Paradiso © Alan Cuypers | 04.09.2015
The beginning of the end – 1 day before Gran Paradiso | 08.09.2015
Refuge Frédéric Chabod – 1 day before Gran Paradiso | 08.09.2015