Red Bull Der Lange Weg, the crossing of the Alps on skis ends in Nice

Yesterday, the Red Bull Der Lange Weg ended in Nice, France. Bernhard Hug, David Wallmann, Philipp Reiter and Janelle Smiley and Mark Smiley completed the long crossing of the Alps from Vienna to Nice after 1,721 kilometers and gained almost 90,000 vertical meters.

After all this bad weather, and having been in the mountains for so long, it seemed strange to me to see them walking on the sandy beach, basking in the sun and their skis still slung. However, they were there, yesterday morning, after 1,721 kilometers and 89,644 meters of elevation gain; Bernhard Hug, David Wallmann, Philipp Reiter and Janelle and Mark Smiley had successfully completed the Red Bull Der Lange Weg, the ski tour through the Alps that took them from the outskirts of Vienna to the golden beach of Nice in 36 days. .

The five skier-mountaineers left on March 17 with two other partners, the Spanish Núria Picas and the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger, two extremely strong athletes and mountaineers who, after having contributed significantly to the eventual success of the expedition, were both forced to abandon the crossing. Weather permitting, the purpose of the crossing was to follow in the footsteps of the historic Austrian team, consisting of Robert Kittl, Klaus Hoi, Hansjörg Farbmacher and Hans Mariacher who, in 1971, had completed this particular endeavor.

If the weather conditions allow it, this is obviously the watchword of this crossing, as it is anytime in the mountains, and it must be said that the 2018 team was forced to modify the route and to adapt several times as it did not seem for the most logical path from east to west, but also the safest. This meant that some peaks climbed in 71 were not reached now because the conditions were just too dangerous and prohibitive, like Mont Blanc. On the highest mountain in Europe, the team stopped about 100 meters of vertical drop below the summit because the visibility had been reduced to zero, the winds had intensified and the avalanche danger was too high; the group made the only right decision and turned around.

Comparing what has been achieved today with the 41 days of almost 50 years ago is difficult, and therefore practically impossible. What is true is that this fantastic adventure inspired the whole team of this modern Red Bull Der Lange Weg. And what is just as true is that at the end, as always, the most important meaning is found in the whole journey, experienced during these exhausting and incredible 36 days nonstop through the magnificent Alps.

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