Patrouille des Glaciers (29.04.2014 - 03.05.2014)
Patrouille des Glaciers 2014 – the countdown started!
The planning phase for the next Patrouille des Glaciers (PDG) has been initiated. The Swiss Armed Forces will continue the tradition of carrying out the PDG every two years. The next edition of the PDG will be in spring 2014.
The course of the legendary teamcompetition PDG starts in Zermatt and leads through Arolla to Verbier. This mountaineering race was established during the times of World War II, when mountain specialists of the Swiss Armed Forces searched for ways to verify their physical preparedness and technical proficiency in harsh alpine terrain. The interest to compete in the race increased steadily during the years. Therefore the capacity of the race was doubled by carrying out the race twice on two different days. Despite this, usually there are not enough starting slots available for all athletes interested in participating in the race.
The 2012 edition of the PDG was shaped by difficult weather and snow conditions. The two short and two long races were finished completely in one occasion only. The short race from Arolla on 26th April could be carried out as planned and the athletes arrived in Verbier as expected. All other races had to be interrupted or completely cancelled due to hazardous wind and snow conditions.
Looking back at the PDG 2012 the commander, Ivo Burgener, notes, that the decisions to interrupt and cancel races due to hazardous conditions were accepted with sportsmanship. It is part of the myth of the PDG that the harsh alpine terrain on glaciers and around some of the highest peaks of the Alps, at times, can call for humans to give in.
Commander Burgener hopes that the 2014 edition of the PDG will meet the typical myth of the PDG, which is constituted by the challenge in harsh alpine terrain, the strenuous physical effort and the traditional connection to the Swiss Armed Forces. He wants to lay a special emphasis on environmental and climate issues. A first step to accomplish this was made by having the whole course checked for environmental pollution in summer by mountain special-ists of the Swiss Armed Forces.