The Patrouille des Glaciers took place last week, with a record 5,400 participants, after some fears it might have to be cancelled like the previous race in 2012. Unstable weather and significant snowfalls at the beginning of the week delayed all departures by a day, but in the end everyone was able to compete.
The men’s favourites, a Swiss team, who set the patrol record in 2010, had to pull out when Florent Troillet fell and injured his knee. This gave an all-Italian team the opportunity to win in an impressive 6 hours and 1 minute (a mere 10 minutes more than the record). A Franco-Swiss team won the women’s race in 7 hours and 27 minutes, breaking the record by 14 minutes.
Daniel Ahlers, a co-founder of Le News, took part with his team mates Guy Wolfenberger and Andrew Spalding in the 26 km “petite” Patrouille, leaving from Arolla. He described the whole experience as a unique moment of team sharing, not only during the race but also during the training. “The race itself was quite uplifting. The sense of ritual contributed by the army’s organization of the event generated a gravitas that gives the Patrouille a special atmosphere.”
Photos courtesy of Team “Lavaux” 1469: Guy Wolfensberger, Andrew Spalding, Daniel Ahlers (click on ‘i’ when browsing photos, for more information)