Arduous work after avalanche winter

Fri, 25. Jun. 2021

Daniel Welten tells of the chaos left behind by the avalanche on the Primelod of 3 February 2021, which was only slowly revealed as the snow melted, and the hard work it took to clean up the steep mountain pastures.

After the big snow- and rainfalls at the end of January and February, we looked anxiously in the direction of Primelod and Tschärzis, knowing only too well what it means to clean up the damage caused by an avalanche. Already in the winter of 2018, a large powder avalanche had covered a third of the pasture in the Mühlischüpfe and left behind a chaotic scene.

Only five metres from the cabin
It happened as we expected. The snow descended the entire Primelod flank to the Tschärzis and slid down into the valley. Pastures were buried by huge masses of snow, wood, dirt, and debris, in some cases right down to the bottom of the valley. In some parts, the Tschärzis road was deeply buried under the snow.

We made our way on foot across the avalanche debris to our medium pasture. We were thankful, the cabin was still intact. The avalanche had made its way past it in a distance of only five metres.

With kettle, rake, and verve
Thanks to the beautiful weather in March, we were able to start cleaning up at the end of that month. We set to work with kettles, rakes and a lot of enthusiasm. In many hours of work, the upper area of the avalanche, where the snow had already melted, was cleared of rocks and wood.

From week to week, the pasture transformed back into its original state. I was amazed when a large, long fir tree appeared from the melting avalanche debris, which had not been visible at all before. It illustrates the magnitude of the event in February.

Rocky memorials
Today, 18 May, the last little patch of avalanche snow is melting and we finish cleaning up. The arduous work should be a blessing for the next generation. Happy and satisfied, I sit on a rock and look over the neatly cleared pasture.

Looking to my right and left, I see old piles of stones and rocks that bear witness to past events. I recognise in these memorials the work and toil of previous generations. It is a coming and going, but the traces remain.

BASED ON AVS/DANIEL WELTEN

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Issue 6 | 2021

Wait, can this be the last editorial of this summer? Must be because of the relativity thing. Relativity of time – a wonderful concept to toy around with. Not as a theoretical physicist, way too complicated. No, I mean as a layman.