Day 5/6

Morning

This morning I do not get up too late. The guys of yesterday are already at their breakfast. They will visit the base for another day. I am currently having different ideas. Outside it is completely fogged. Immediately after dinner I go to the lovely lady and tell her that I am leaving. Luckily she doesn’t charge me the two days I had already reserved.

I intend to go to the Furka Pass and the Rhone Glacier. After only a few hundred meters, that idea is smashed to pieces because there are signs that the pass is closed. The same applies for the alternative, the Susten Pass. Hmmm time for plan B. Let’s get back to the base first and see if that brings something.

Barely out of the valley, all fog is gone and the weather is beautiful. What a surprise!

At the base it is already very crowdy. It seems like everyone who came originally for Axalp, now has come here. I drive along the whole runway and find a quiet little road at the head of the runway in the west. After a while I see two F/A-18’s take off to the east. Soon after that, another one departs. What a shame they fly away into that direction. But most probably this means they will return within the hour and land in the same direction. I decide to wait in nice warm sunlight.

After a while, a Pilatus PC-7 reports in for landing.

Pilatus PC-7 during landing

After a small hour waiting I notice the first F/A-18 flying overhead that turns in for landing, an F/A-18D.

F/A-18D Hornet during landing

F/A-18D Hornet during landing

Then a Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter turns in for the landing.

Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter during landing

Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter during landing

Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter during landing

Somewhat later the other F/A-18C’s come in one by one.

F/A-18C Hornet during landing

F/A-18C Hornet during landing

F/A-18C Hornet during landing

This is really very closeby. Again nice photographs. You can’t get them this way in The Netherlands.

Shortly after lots of aircraft take off: Pilatus Porter, Pilates PC-21, a couple of F/A-18’s and some F-5’s.

F/A-18C Hornet tijdens opstijgen

F-5E Tiger II tijdens opstijgen

These all take off in the opposite direction and fly by very closely. Somewhat later the wind picks up and the fog is blown in from the lake. I suspect they have turned the landing direction and they will come in from the other side on return. I decide to gamble and drive back to the other side of the runway and find again a little road, but this time it is a lot further away from the runway. The Pilatus Porter lands from this side, so it seems I have gambled right. But soon after I see two Hornets coming in and a long stream of lights in the air, all coming in from the other side.

Afternoon

Hereafter I continue to Brienz.and try to return the parkingtickets I bought yesterday. But this is not possible. I really wonder why this is not possible but no stays no. I am really irritated and leave.

Meanwhile another plan has formed: Wengen. That is situated above Lauterbrunnen and I have been there before. Nice panoramic possibilities pop up in my mind.

I park the car in the same garage as yesterday and take the train up. Once in the train I see that I am wrong. Last time I have been in Mnrren. From there, all mountains were visible. I suspect that that is not going to be the case in Wengen.

And indeed, from Wengen only the Jungfrau is visible. The others are hidden behind a rockwall. But now I am here I better stay here. Another point of view is always nice to check out. Via the tourist office I quickly find a motel and reserve another one for tomorrow in Mnrren.

Somewhat later I take the gondola to Mannlichen. That is at around the same altitude as Kleine Scheidegg but much farther away. Shooting a panorama should but easier from there. Compared to the train (6 CHF oneway) this is quite expensive (41 CHF both ways). I have only one and a half hour left, before the last one goes back down (17:00). A little bit too early for my taste but there is no alternative. Almost at the top, a big black pyramid dooms up and now I start to doubt whether I will see all mountains from up here or not. During the last 100 meters, they all come in sight.

Here I see left a trail that takes 20 minutes to a viewpoint. I follow this 2/3 up and find a nice spot clear from wind to shoot the pano. It has been a while since I shot a pano and a lot goes wrong. Meanwhile the clock is pressing. On top of that, the panobot also indicates that the batteries are almost empty. In the end I shoot three panorama’s and a few photographs of the summits and the Silver Dome.

This first one shows the summits of Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, a 59 megapixel photo (12685 * 4678).

Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau from Mannlichen

These are the Wetterhorn and Schreckhorn. The base of these mountains was completely in shade and I left it out. Not sure whether that was a good decision.

Wetterhorn and Schreckhorn from Mannlichen

This is a 95 megapixel photo (20720 * 4591). Compare that to the 12 megapixel sensor size (4256 * 2832).With current software and the help of a panoramarobot, it is not difficult to create large photographs. This is the primary reason I am not very interested to buy a 36 megapixel Nikon D800 or D800E. It takes more effort and in some circumstances where there is a lot of movement, stitching becomes more difficult. But quality of the pixels is the most important part. The amount is only handy, not more than that. If it is proven, that pixel quality of the D800 is at least the same as that of the D700 I might be tempted. Something else to consider is the smallest aperture with which you can photography without visible quality loss (F/11 for the D700) and the difficult choice between a D800 and a D800E. So far on camera’s, back to the beautiful mountains of Zwitserland.

The light is far from superb but it is better than nothing.

Eiger

Eiger from Mannlichen

Monch

Monch from Mannlichen

Silverhorn

Silverhorn from Mannlichen

I pack everything quickly and run down back to the cableway. Missing that one is not an option, because there are very few alternatives. There is a trail down but that seems to be too dangerous now because of recent rainfall.

Luckily I am in time.

Back in the village I drop my photostuff and go for a walk. I follow a path in south direction, where there must be a good viewpoint. Maybe this is something for tonight or tomorrow morning. The view is nice indeed, but also from here it is limited to the Jungfrau only. I return via another higher trail.

Back in my motel I notice that I have a perfect view from my balcony. I wait until sunset and am able to shoot really beautiful images of the summits. Nice warm sunlight on the snow under a blue sky. Later when the sun has already set for half an hour I shoot some other photographs. Wonderful colours appear on my screen!

Here is a series of the Jungfrau from before sunset to well into darkness.

Jungfrau from Wengen

Jungfrau from Wengen

Jungfrau from Wengen

Jungfrau from Wengen

Jungfrau from Wengen

Jungfrau from Wengen

And another series of the Silverhorn.

Silberhorn from Wengen

Silberhorn from Wengen

Silberhorn from Wengen

Silberhorn from Wengen

Silberhorn from Wengen

Silberhorn from Wengen

Silberhorn from Wengen

Silberhorn from Wengen

In total I have shot 1400 photographs today.

Then it is time for dinner. A Cordon Bleu this time. I would expect it to be very expensive here, but prices are normal. On top of that the meals are really large here. You can live on one of these for today easily, and that is exactly what I am going to do.

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, Switzerland Autumn - Day 5

Download the original gpx file here.

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