Did it get even more extreme?
JH: Yes, after the valley we climbed higher and higher up to the mountain and then at some point we hit the glacier, where at times we had to overcome extreme inclines using our crampons, in groups of five attached to the ropes and with the mountain guide in front. He always told us that we shouldn't stand still, and a couple of times we even heard the ice cracking in some places.
You shouldn't stand still, otherwise the ice might break?
JH: Yes, the last person in the group is always the most at risk as several people will already have walked over the area. One of our customers actually fell through into a glacier crevasse. But everyone was attached to the rope with crampons on their shoes and helmets on their heads, so this wasn't a major problem. The group were able to hold onto him, you could still see his upper body.
Oops! Were there any other highlights in terms of going to the limits?
JH: The last stretch also posed another challenge. Up to ten years ago, the Zuckerhütl was completely covered in snow and ice. Over the last few years, the glacier has melted a lot, so that you come across a pile of huge rocks over which we had to climb for the last 250 to 300 metres in altitude.
That sounds tiring.
JH: Tiring, because it is very high, but reaching the summit sapped most of our energy. We reached it after the glacier and were already already exhausted anyway. Then all of a sudden we saw this mountain, which was still 300 metres higher, and our guide said: "Now we are going up." A customer and I discussed with him for half an hour whether we should really do that. Finally, he put his foot down and said: "We're going up now. If you don't go up, you will regret it for the rest of your lives." And then we plucked up all our courage and went up.
And finally you managed it. What did it feel like?
CV: I only thought: Luckily, you managed it. Especially when the helicopter arrived with our cross, which now appears in all the walking maps, then I am pleased to have been a part of it. Also later when we were down again, a feeling of true happiness came over me. I was able to say, yes, you managed it, you overcame your fear.
Assignments like this really have quite extreme sides. Why do you do this to yourself?
JH: Because it bonds people. The best customer relationships are born from trips like these. When you are going over a glacier in a team of five and know that you have to trust the person in front of you and behind you, then this is an intense bonding experience; you don't forget something like that.