On Saturday morning we took a (two minute) bus ride to the Sunnbüel gondola, taking us up to the top of one of the many mountains that overlook Kandersteg International Scout Centre (KISC).
We were all set for a morning of snowshoeing and avalanche training amongst the snow that had helpfully fallen overnight. Everyone got a quick introduction to using snowshoes before we had a short energiser to warm us up. We then headed out for a walk along the trails. Along the way we paused for a moment’s reflection at the rock which had been the cause for one of our fellow camp staff, Patrick’s, broken arm a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully no more arms were broken in the process!
After another few hundred metres, in two separate groups we stopped for some avalanche training. Pete and Alex, Programming staff from KISC, had brought along some avalanche transmitters and probes, with which we took turns learning how to find each other should we be buried by an avalanche (and were carrying a transmitter at the time, of course…). Some of us began to wander back to the gondola station, while the rest of us pushed on a little further to stop at a local farmhouse (still closed for the winter) for lunch and the opportunity to build snowcaves. Thanks to some well-placed air pockets beneath the snow, the resulting caves were multi-storey and pretty successful – not that any of us chose to stay the night in them!
With the snow coming down around us, though, it was time to head back to camp – another 20 minutes walking back, followed by a trip back down the mountain in the gondola. A nice little journey through the mountains!