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Friends in high places

The Dreiländerspitze was a beautiful little climb ...

... much more interesting and better quality than Piz Buin, proving once again that size isn't what matters in mountains.

Today is a rest day, which allowed me to take the time to edit this short video of our Dreilanderspitze ascent from two days ago, shortly before we met the border-hiking couple with the eagle feather. It was indeed a lucky day. Please forgive the video's crudeness, as this is the first time I have ever done such a thing. With luck they'll get better as the journey continues.

Yesterday, my partners left me one by one. First Richard peeled off on the Austrian side when we reached the ski areas above Samnaun. He had to return to work, poor fellow, but I was delighted by his good company in the previous days. Being on the Austrian mountain rescue team in Graz, he knew what he was doing in the hills as well as telling some good jokes. "Do you know why there is so little crime in Switzerland? ... Because it's illegal."

Dan and I walked the ridge between what must be fantastic skiing in the winter, but with so many lifts it is considerably less attractive in the summer. We'd planned to stick to the crest, but it turned extremely rocky and would have required a rope (which Richard took home) and in any case looked awful. The ridgeline we followed down into the Samnaun valley was narrow, steep, and gorgeous - though rather too steep toward the end.

We had a taste of the Romansch village of Campatsch before we met Dan's Swiss wife Janine, who offered that I could ride one of their mountain bikes down the paved border road with all its tunnels that otherwise I'd have to walk the next day (today). Without batting an eye, I hoped on Dan's fancy racing bike with my big mountain boots and did in an hour what would have taken many more on foot.

Then Dan sped off with his wife, leaving me to sleep alone by the side of the Inn River. Though originally from the States, Dan has just received his Swiss citizenship and feels proud to be Swiss. Not only is he an amazing photographer, but he's also one of the strongest and best mountaineers I've known. I hope he (and Janine) can join me again. Today I simply edited the video by the riverside, then walked a kilometer to the bio-farm (European for organic) where I am now, which I'll discuss in tomorrow's report.

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