Monthly Archives: September 2015

Visit to the doctor

September 29th

My bladder is still not completely satisfactory; I have another appointment in one week.  There is no restriction on walking – the doctor even advised some physical exercise – conditions and the weather forecast are quite good, so I will try to do something over the weekend.

More appointments

September 18th

After examining me today, the urologist in Lausanne concluded that we should try to solve the bladder issue using medication and that an operation should not be necessary.  He will see me again on September 29th for a (final?) decision, so there will be nothing new until then.

Frustrating delays

September 16th

I saw a urologist in Chur on Monday afternoon (14th).  He was recommended by the Samedan hospital and I got an appointment very rapidly.  He confirmed there is no problem with the kidneys.  The problem is with the bladder and sooner or later I will need some sort of intervention (operation?) on the prostate.  This will have to be in Lausanne which means more delays for appointments, etc.

But this is not all bad news:  in the meantime I am able to rest properly, eat a lot and put on some of the weight I lost over the last weeks.  Another consolation is that the weather forecast is fairly bad for the next week.

Better, but still medical problems

September 10th

Sally came by train last night and was able to visit me twice yesterday, a lovely surprise!  Many, many thanks to Fritz and Ursulina who have been a great help to me and Sally over the last few days, also to all those who have sent me messages of encouragement, all much appreciated!

Without going into too much detail: yesterday’s interventions were very successful – the fever has gone, my appetite has returned and I feel fine.  I can go home tomorrow.

But I still have to see another specialist next Monday to discuss further treatments.  And it is not clear if I can finish the circuit this year or even continue a little later this year, for medical or weather reasons.

Giving up on Piz Palü

September 7th

At 4h00 I had to tell the guide I would have to give up – I slept very badly and felt weak and lethargic, even having trouble climbing stairs.  I drank tea and we agreed to meet again at 7h00 for a second breakfast.  Then we took the first cabin down at 8:30.  It was a beautiful day. Pity!  Went to the guides’ office and gave them a lot of money.  I ended up at Ursulina’s (Fritz was absent) and she immediately took me to a doctor.  After a thorough examination and several tests the lady diagnosed a kidney infection and prescribed an antibiotic and rest. I slept all afternoon, swallowed some soup (still no appetite) and went to bed early.

Not feeling well

September 6th

A relaxed day.  I had a fit of shivering the evening before, which soon stopped.  I took the cable car up to the Diavolezza in the afternoon and waited to meet the guide.  By supper time I had a slight temperature, no appetite and had to go to the toilet too often.  The “hotel” (Berghaus) had no first aid kit and none of the guides had any aspirins.  Breakfast due at 4 a.m.


Piz Palü and Bellavista, the evening before


Fresh snow – and a short day

September 5th

Itinerary:  Alp Somdoss – Pass da Canfinal (2628 m) and back
Distance:  9,2 km
Time taken: 3 hours 30 minutes (plus 50 minutes for the stops)
Vertical distance:  730 m uphill and downhill

It had rained hard most of the night and in the morning the main peaks were either hidden in cloud or covered in fresh snow down to about 2400 metres.  I chose the Canfinal pass because it had a marked trail to it and because one could drive up to 2080 metres!  This in itself was quite an adventure and  many a local farmer or herdsman might have wondered where I would find some white water for the kayak!  The weather was satisfactory and there was even a bit of sun – until it started raining and snowing again by 3 p.m. but by then I was down again.  There was quite some snow on the col, hiding all paths and markings, so I decided not to do any summits.  Two hours later, most of the snow below about 2600 m was gone.

Again I met two hunters – I was going down then and they were going up, and Fritz confirmed it is the hunting season and they have to shoot a female chamois first before attempting anything else.  Shortly after I passed them a shot rang out and echoed round the valley.  The hunters have to be within 100 m of their target, so I must have passed quite close to it without seeing anything.  On the other hand, the whole area was teeming with marmots – I heard many of their warning signals and even glimpsed one or two scurrying into their holes.

After 4 nights in hotels in Pontresina and Poschiavo, I was again welcomed by Fritz and Ursulina.  And the good news:  the weather will be fine on Monday 7th, so the ascent and traverse of Piz Palü is confirmed!


Canfinal Pass at midday, showing why conditions were not ideal for attempting a summit.


Traverse of l’Om

September 4th

Itinerary:  Motta (1700 m, above Poschiavo) – Alp Braga – Bocchetta di Braga – l’Om (2789 m) – Pass da l’Om – Alp Albertüsc – Motta.
Distance:  14,4 km (1,5 km along the frontier)
Time: 5 hours 15 minutes (plus 50 minutes for the stops)
Vertical distance:  1190 m uphill and downhill

The weather was reasonable all day, clouds and some sun but no rain.  I had a problem getting away, then drove up as high as I could along tracks leading to mountain dairy farms, and had to stop at just over 1700 m by a sign only allowing agricultural traffic beyond that point.

An interesting incident:  about half an hour above Alp Braga I met two hunters, each of them dragging a dead chamois behind them, head first, down the long grass that covered the path at that point.  Presumably they would carry their prizes over their shoulder when the path was stony.  They greeted me “Bon di” but otherwise ignored me, and I did not dare take a photo.  Was this the hunting season?  Were they poachers?  Down at Alp Braga there had been two men drinking wine (at midday) and I wondered if they were waiting for the hunters.

According to the guide book, l’Om is derived from the Italian “uomo”, meaning “man”.

Night: Hotel Posta, Prese