Down in Town in Zermatt

Months ago, we had decided that we would visit Zermatt over the Jeune Genevois weekend.  Yay! Somehow, though, it was only about a week before the trip that I became fully aware of a salient detail: that the purpose of the trip was for my husband to climb Monte Rosa: 4,634 meters, second-highest peak in the Alps. Yes, I had been shown topographical maps periodically over the past few months, but that's a fairly regular thing at our house. And I knew vaguely of a reservation at a Monte Rosa Hütte and crampons and rope being packed, but it didn't really all gel in my mind until a week or so before departure. 

Not being the only one in the family to miss critical details, while reading news coverage about Monte Rosa in the days leading up to the trip and the climb, my husband learned that several people had recently died (!) on the climb (massive, tragic fall), and that he would probably need proper alpinist boots, and critically, a guide for the summit -- his original plan was to solo it in his day-hikers. Many calls to various mountaineering outfits later, a guide was booked, but for a day later than he had been hoping to summit. Fast forward to our arrival in Zermatt, and a casual conversation as to whether he should go up to the Hütte a day later, or to go as originally planned and spend the day reconnoitering and, as it turns out is useful in such situations, acclimatizing to the altitude.

This somewhat lengthy preface is all to explain how I ended up "down" in Zermatt for a few peaceful days, yes with the kids, but without my husband to engineer various mountain-related expeditions. Though lots of fun (I love you, hon!), they do tend to break up my drawing and painting sessions to a certain degree. 

With kids to herd, my prime painting and drawing times were early mornings, evenings, and various stolen chunks of time equivalent to the purchasing and eating of a delicious gelato. 

Maybe a bit misleading because of the complete absence of people-- even in the "off" season, Zermatt was teeming with tourists. But that's the beauty of getting up to draw in the early hours before the kids do. Here's one during the height of the tourist day. And yes, the rasta hat was for real.

During another gelato break:

Snuck out after lights-out for this one. The Julen family seems to be a particularly old and prominent one in Zermatt - saw their name all over the place: on gravestones, hotels, restaurants, physician directories...

Final day and we took the Gornegratbahn (far superior, in my opinion, to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise one that we took the day before) to meet Mik on his way back down - with a nice downhill hike as well :)

Off the mountain and back down in the valley, again, early morning and cold, squeezing in a few more sketches before the drive back to Geneva. Again, rotating on a single point in that lovely parking lot - one side a view of the Breithorn, the other, to "some peak" (as I called it, pre-coffee) in the Bernese Oberland.

Thanks for reading! Some Geneva sketches coming next week, meanwhile, I have cows on my mind - empimornart.com

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