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Honest Courage

An American In Switzerland

Welcome back to an ongoing series of weekly reflections on the tiny shifts that change everything It’s hot here in Geneva. To keep cool, I’ve been thinking of winter and reminiscing about a hut-to-hut ski trip last April through the Bernese Alps. We started in Grindelwald on the north side of our route with a gondola ride to a cog train that goes through a tunnel in the Eiger, ending at the highest train station in Europe at 11,332 ft. Completed in 1912, the train and tunnel offers access to Jungfrauloch, the lowest spot on the ridge between Mönch and Jungfrau, the two most easterly peaks in the Eiger massif.

The Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau

From Jungfrauloch we skied down the glacier on the south side of the pass toward Konkordiahutte located high above Konkordiaplatz where four glaciers flow together to form the longest glacier in the Alps. The hut was only 50 meters above the glacier when it was built in 1877, but 435 stairs hung off a sheer cliff are now needed to get down or up from the glacier due to glacial recession. My ski companions were all Brits, including the guide, four of whom were close friends who do a variety of outdoor adventures together. It was a pleasure to share new adventures with them, but the welcome and comradery they offered me was the best part of the experience. Sure, they called me septic yank and heckled me for being American whenever they could, but that just made me feel more accepted in a group of guys who really trusted and cared for each other.

On the stairs from the glacier to Konkordiahutte

A stunning example of that care and trust was shown by Scottie, whose is motivated to ski tour in the Alps to get more comfortable with heights in the supportive company of his friends. When asked why, his simple answer was he doesn’t like being limited by what scares him. Awed by his honesty and modest courage, what really opened my eyes was his open acceptance of a rope offered by our guide for the stair descent each morning. Moving towards what scares me seems hard enough but remembering or even thinking about asking for help seems impossible, since the very act of moving towards what scares me sends me into locked down, closed up, survival mode. But Scottie didn’t ask for help. “All” he did was be honest about being scared and the guide offered unsolicited help. "All" is in quotations because being honest with yourself about where you're at and what you're feeling is no small feat. Sharing it with others is a whole other step that requires feeling comfortable with yourself and in the group. If you'd like to move towards what scares you with caring support you can trust, or if you'd like to spend an hour together for any other reason, please take advantage of one or both of the discounted sessions I'm offering between July 25 and 29. If you’d like to explore one-on-one coaching, please schedule a time to connect here.

Thank you for reading! Steve Hindman +41 (0)79 796 08 97 Expand Your Experience! Au revoir for now!

From the deck of the Konkordiahütte


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