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Summiting the Matterhorn

(9/25/09) Logistically it was quite a challenge squeezing the Matterhorn backpack into a 4 day trip, which typically takes 5-7 days to complete, and that's without the actual Matterhorn peak ascent. We had to cover so much distance each day that I didn't get a chance to even take out my fishing pole, which was ashame because the fish in these lakes we're HUGE.

It easily earned the 'Very Strenuous' rating as it kicked a few arses that weekend. On top of that I had to worry about my own condition as well, as I attempted to do the whole thing barefooted with Vibram Five Finger support. My left pinky snagged on something on the way down from the Matterhorn. Although I dreaded it might be broken, it fortunately healed in a couple weeks.

Despite the strenuous nature of the trip, I have to honestly say that of all the backpacks that I've been on, I found this one to be the most beautiful. The pictures did not do justice to the many pockets of paradise that mother nature created in this area -- all different with their own signature beauty trademark. The occasional thorn that I stepped on reminded that I wasn't dreaming, as I pranced barefoot across the many gorgeous meadows.

And as the guide book indicated, although it was Labor Day Weekend, there was barely a soul in this amazing Yosemite wilderness.

The actual climb up to Matterhorn summit seemed impossible at first, but after completing technical scrambles such as Wonderland of Rocks, how could we not reach the top. Navigating over the top of Sawtooth Ridge on route to the summit was like trekking on a dragon's back... no trail, many precarious spots including the summit itself, which was an overhanging ledge with a 1-2k free-fall drop.

The evenings we're fabulous (when we didn't pass out from exhaustion) with toasty campfires and great company. The last night we celebrated Erez' birthday with fabulous wine, absolutely-to-die-for Paella, and a fun round of Perfect Pace questions.

Will this trip be repeated? Absolutely! Except maybe making it a 5-6 day trip instead so this time I can catch a few of the huge fishes in these pristine alpine lakes. As far as this year's fast-pack journey, all I can say is that its a true honor to associate with such a hardcore group of experienced and athletic adventurists.