Extreme Glacial Geocache

by lincolnshirepeasant

Nowadays it seems every man and his dog knows about geocaching. Its a great pastime; it gets families outdoors and exploring, and adds a twist for people that already do a lot of walking. But while this is all very jovial and pleasant, there are a few caches out there that are rather different.

In the winter of 2010 I went skiing on the border between Switzerland and Italy, at Cervinia, a ski resort at the foot of the Matterhorn. While I was there, I searched for nearby caches, and stumbled upon a rather different one. Planted just a few months before was a cache of legendary difficulty. To this day, it has only been found 32 times, and I hope to one day reach it myself.

The geocache is located at N 45° 57.406 E 007° 40.881, in an abandoned cableway station know as the Furggenbahn, 3,478 metres up the Matterhorn; a notoriously treacherous summit. Upon closer inspection, it becomes obvious as to why it was deserted. It is a seven hour trek from the nearest operating cable station, and crampons and an ice axe are required to scale several vertical sections of rock, and 50 metres of rope for the descent. The final section is a steep slope of snow and ice, over the remnants of an ancient glacier. It is a bleak and desolate environment, and the highlight of the trek is said to be the overnight stay in the Furggenbahn, towering above the clouds.

One day, a long way off yet, I will go back to Cervinia with the experience and equipment necessary to reach this geocache. And when I do, I will be sure to blog about it!

Image courtesy of www.geocaching.com