GORE-TEX Experience-Tour: AlpCross 2012

Cross the Alps with Bernd Ritschel and Hans Kammerlander. Apply now and learn from professional mountain athletes

The Alps: home the highest and wildest mountains in Europe and one of the most divers mountain ranges in the world. Crossing these mountains by fair means, on foot, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience most outdoor enthusiasts only get to dream about! For eight European hiking enthusiasts this dream could come true during the AlpCross event of the GORE-TEX Experience Tour. And that’s not all: this unique tour is being led by professional photographer Bernd Ritschel and accompanied by leading mountain-experts such as climbing legend Hans Kammerlander and weather expert Karl Gabl and Guide de Chamonix Yann Delevaux.

For hundreds of years, crossing the Alps was a dangerous and extremely challenging journey. Nowadays, streets, railways and lifts make it easy to reach most alpine destinations between France and Slovenia. But imagine to do this journey completely on foot, using only the most basic and natural infrastructure like paths and (sometimes) huts! Starting in a deep valley in the northern Alps and end up in Italy seven days later, after having climbed several peaks up to 3770 m and having slept in remote huts and in a sleeping bag under the stars!

The AlpCross 2012 project
will follow a magnificent alpine trekking route in the company of experienced, internationally renowned mountain athletes – this unique combination makes the AlpCross such an appealing prospect. From 25th August to 1st September, starting in the Ötztal in Austria and heading to the South Tyrolean village of Schnalstal. A spectacular route has been chosen covering a distance of approximately 75 km and ascents and descents totalling 7,000 metres. The participants will be on their feet between 4 and 9 hours a day. The alpine highlights of the tour are a trek across the Taschach glacier, an ascent to the summit of the Wildspitze (at 3770 metres the second highest peak in Austria) and a night spent sleeping under the stars in a bivouac. But what makes this tour so very special and exclusive is the people who will be accompanying it. Between them, internationally renowned experts Bernd Ritschel, Hans Kammerlander, Yann Delevaux and Karl Gabl cover the full range of mountain activities.

The AlpCross event targets fit mountain sports enthusiasts. You don’t need to be a skilled climber, have experience on glaciers or know about rope techniques, etc. We are looking for outdoor enthusiasts who have always dreamed about crossing the Alps and are eager to learn more about the mountains, the weather and alpine sports. The participants will be equipped with GORE-TEX trekking boots and GORE-TEX jackets. The equipment required for the climb over the Taschach glacier and the night in the bivouac (crampons, ice axes, sleeping bags and bivy sacks) will be provided for the duration of the event.
The experts
Bernd Ritschel is an eminent outdoor and mountain photographer. He has not only made a name for himself as a photographer but also as an author and alpine expert. With his two three-week projects “Skitransalp” and “Dolomiten-cross” he has also built up an excellent reputation as a tour guide. In addition to leading the AlpCross team he will also be conducting a photography workshop in which he will be giving the participants practical tips on how to take excellent outdoor photos with a small and light camera equipment. After all, for a good photo creativity is usually more important that sophisticated and expensive technology!

Hans Kammerlander is one of the best known climbers in the world. Of South Tyrolean origin, he has made a name for himself with a series of pioneering ascents. His achievements include numerous first ascents of major routes worldwide and he and Reinhold Messner were the first to scale two separate 8000 metre peaks during one combined climb. He was the first person to make a ski descent from an 8000 metre mountain, the Nanga Parbat. Kammerlander will accompany the group on the first two days. He will be giving the participants useful tips on mountain safety, including route planning and recognising and assessing alpine dangers.

Karl Gabl must be one of the best-known weather experts for mountain expeditions. For decades expeditions to Patagonia, the Himalayas and other mountain regions in the world have relied on his weather forecasts. Issued from Innsbruck and transmitted by satellite telephone, his forecasts significantly enhanced the safety and the chance of success of many of these climbing expeditions. Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner says that much of her success in recent years can be attributed to the support of Karl Gabl. After a long and successful career Gabl officially retired at the beginning of this year. Nevertheless, he wants to continue to share his know-how and experience with people who want his advice. He will be revealing the secrets of mountain weather to the participants in the AlpCross event and giving them tips on how to “read” the weather

Frenchman Yann Delevaux is high mountain guide at the “Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix”, the oldest and more prestigious mountain guide company worldwide. He is also the director of “La Chamoniarde”, a company specialized in mountain safety prevention and rescue. As they make their way over the Similaun glacier he will be explaining to the participants how to cross a glacier safely. The topics covered by his alpine workshop include walking techniques, risk assessment and mountain rescue.
The applicants
The eight participants in the AlpCross 2012 come from different European countries. You can apply exclusively through our media partners:
•    in Italy: “National Geographic“ magazine; alpcross2012.gore-tex@nationalgeographic.it
•    in Germany, Switzerland, Austria: Globetrotter’s customer magazine “4 Seasons”;
•    in France: “National Geographic” magazine; nationalgeographic@ngm-f.com
•    or from all over Europe through the central web platform of the GORE-TEX Experience Tour.
Two participants will be chosen through each of these channels.

The partners
The AlpCross is being supported by our manufacturing partners Millet, Aku, Scarpa and Lowa. The participants will be equipped with GORE-TEX trekking boots and GORE-TEX jackets. The equipment required for the climb over the Similaun glacier and the night in the bivouac (crampons, ice axes, sleeping bags and bivy sacks) will be provided for the duration of the event.

Location and date: 25 August to 1 September 2012
Meeting place: Bernd Ritschel will meet up with the participants at 11.00 am in Oberried in Ötztal. More detailed information will be provided in good time. The participants are expected to travel directly to this location. If necessary, Gore will organise a transfer.

Route description:
Day 1: Oberried in Längenfeld in Ötztal to Hauerseehütte 2383 m.
1180 m ascent, distance 6 km, time: 4 h

Day 2: Hauerseehütte –Rüsselsheimerhütte 2323 m.
1300 m up, 1200 m down, distance: 14 km, 8 h

Day 3: Rüsselsheimerhütte –Taschachhaus 2432 m.
800 m ascent, 700 m down, distance 14 km;  5 h

Day 4: Taschachhaus –Rofenhöfe 2000 m
1400 m ascent; 770 m down; distance 14 km, 9 h

Day 5: Rofenhöfe –Similaunhütte 3016 m (either to the place that Ötzi the Iceman was found or to the summit of Similaun 3600 m)
1100 m ascent, distance 14 km, 5 h

Day 6: Similaunhütte –bivouac site at Schröfenwandsattel 2809 m.
1100 m ascent, 1300 m down, distance 13 Km, 6 h

Day 7: Bivouac site at Schröfenwandsattel – Karthaus in Schnalstal 1300 m.
1500 m down, distance: 10 km, 4 h