Skyrunning - Skyhiking - Mountain Running

Updated: Sep 28

Schönbielhorn with a view of the Dent Blanche. Skyrunning at it's best in Zermatt
Skyrunning Bliss

Skyrunning is a sport to basically move as fast as you can to the top, or peak of a mountain. The sport was founded by the Italian Marino Giacometti. Today, the 'International Skyrunning Federation' or ISF for short, oversees 200 races worldwide.

Their tagline is: Less cloud. More sky.

But you don't need to participate in organised races to experience this wild and challenging form of mountain running for yourself. This is a learning curve for most of us amateurs. Set yourself a target that you feel you can achieve. The choice is huge up to about 3000m in altitude. Many are just a little harder than a normal mountain hike. It needs planning, Check the weather conditions for the day you have chosen. The ground conditions - is there any special gear you need, for instance micro crampons if you have to traverse hard snow or even glaciers. Layers of clothing, it can get very cold at these altitudes.

Sky running will challenge your own judgement and safety must always be your first priority! You may need to scramble in places. Are you up to it? Do you need to acquire other skills? And yes, there is also the time to consider. Even though you are not in a competition, you may need to move as fast as possible to beat weather conditions or fading day light. Study the map of the chosen peak. Read reports of others and get to know the challenges laying ahead.

But, don't be put off by these challenges. Because the rewards can be life changing with a satisfaction of experiencing nature at it's most beautiful and wildest and a sense of accomplishment few others will experience.

I, for one have set myself the target of a 4000m peak. I know of the challenge ahead. There is of course the difficulty of the altitude itself. The breathing will be much more challenging at these heights. And technically, there will not be a peak in the Swiss Alps with a trail leading to the top. So, no marked trails and you may need to scramble and climb in places. I have yet to choose a 4000m peak, I will feel comfortable to conquer in skyrunning, or in my case sky hiking mode.

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