The famous steep face is reputed to be the resting place of the souls of more than 800 killed climbers. Placards at the base stand testimony to loved ones lost. I had seen them on a snowshoe trip there a few years ago, and my Japanese colleague was unnerved by his perception of the dead.
But on this sunny Sunday morning, life could not have been better. Thanks Wesu! The gravel service track under the cablecar was steep but fun, running up alongside the river of descending meltwater. Once past the cablecar, I joined a steady stream of photographers, picnickers and summit hikers, some with crampons and ice-axe, others in sneakers (really!). And they were right. Even the final snowfield up to the summit had a fixed rope handrail and cut-out steps. The summit rocks were occupied by happy groups basking in the sunshine, enjoying the spectacular 360 views, and cooking up lunch. Time to ditch the crampons. June 1. Summer has arrived.