Other circuits

Circuits by other people

I do not claim to be the first person to go round the Swiss frontiers, nor to have thought of it first. (I do claim to have thought of it independently.)

Here are some complete and partial circuits of which I am aware. There are certainly others.

Whole of Switzerland

1. Andrea Vogel.
http://www.engadinerpost.ch/2013/03/andrea-vogel-%C3%BCber-alle-grenzen-hinweg.html ; http://www.schweizamsonntag.ch/ressort/kinderseite/der_grenzgaenger and many other sites, in German.

1992.  First person ever to go round the frontiers of a country, in this case Switzerland, in 3 months, starting from Basle, a feat which earned him an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. He went on to other feats, e.g. 6 summits and 17’000 m vertical distance in one day in Switzerland (also in the Guinness Book of Records) or a traverse of the Sahara.

He did a lot by bicycle/mountain bike and Lake Geneva on a catamaran. He allowed himself a “corridor” of 1,5 km on either side of the frontier. For many sections he was accompanied by well-known partners, e.g. Erhard Loretan in the Monte Rosa group. Extensive logistical support team and media coverage.

The sites and his book mention 151 summits and a total of 148’000 m vertical distance uphill, including eleven 4000 m-peaks in 24 hours (which corresponds to the segment Breithorn to Signalkuppe/Punta Gnifetti, including the Balmenhorn and the Schwarzhorn, both entirely in Italian territory).

Book in German: Grenzen: Grenztour Schweiz by Carl Bieler, Andrea Vogel, Charly Bieler, published 1995.

2. Peter Müller.

Started in 1988, finished in 2011. Only on foot, only alone, only inside Switzerland, only on paths shown on the Swiss national maps 1:25,000. Clockwise, in 94 stages, from St. Antönien (Grisons), spread over 24 years. The website, in German, gives a picture for 77 of the stages, plus a final photo of Peter Müller himself at the end of his circuit; no other comment or details.

3. John Harlin.
http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng ; search for “border stories” (with the inverted commas)

2010 – 2011. John Harlin III started at St-Gingolph on June 24th 2010; he had an accident some 11 days later below the Mont Dolent, breaking bones in his feet; rescue by helicopter. By October his feet were sufficiently healed for him to cover the northern and western frontiers from Sargans to St-Gingolph by canoe and bicycle in one month. Then in 2011, starting July 5th, he covered the Alpine part from Liechtenstein to the Mont Dolent, reached on September 14th, missing out many important summits, partly because of bad weather. Extensive logistical and information technology support from swissinfo.ch (SWI) who put daily write-ups on line, in English. Well written, somewhat dramatic, but difficult to work out his exact itinerary.

Partial circuits

4. Sébastien Gay and Claude-Alain Gailland.
http://www.rts.ch/docs/expeditions/1129285-l-arete-valaisanne-un-documentaire-de-raphael-blanc.html ;

2002 – 2003. Two Valais guides covered the boundary of the canton Valais. They had an accident near the Furka pass in July 2002, so stopped there and finished the circuit in 2003. In total, 640 km were covered in 78 days. Sébastien Gay was killed in 2010 while practising “speedflying” above Verbier.

Websites in French; no details but a 1-hour DVD is for sale at CHF 35,-.

5. Norbert Joos and Peter Gujan.
http://www.bergsport.ch/vortrage/ ; http://www.feldschloesschen.com/Unternehmen/medien/Pages/Grenztour_Graubuenden_Pionierleistung_geschafft.aspx

Two mountaineers from the Grisons do the circuit of their canton on foot: 740 km in 77 days. Of this distance, 466 km represent part of the Swiss international frontier.

Book in German: Grenztour Graubünden by Andrea Badrutt and Peter Schmid, ISBN: 385637311X, published 2005.

6. Lionel Daudet (“Dod”).

2011 – 2012. He went round the whole perimeter of France in 15 months. Started climbing Mont Blanc on August 10th 2011, left the Mont Dolent on August 22nd, reached Basle on October 1st, on foot, by canoe and mountain bicycle. He finished on the summit of Mont Blanc on November 15th 2012.

Website in French. Extensive diary. Photos on Flickr; Facebook page, etc.