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Summiting the Dents du Midi

Kate Bush's hit song, Running Up That Hill, is yet another manifestation of the ancient philosophy that one must overcome their personal obstacles by climbing their own mountain in life. At Leysin American School, climbing your personal mountains is more than a metaphor; we embrace the actual challenge of climbing many of the peaks that our students can see from their dorm windows. The Skyline Challenge is our way of helping our students develop a growth mindset that will help them develop grit, perseverance and determination for years to come. We also help foster a love for the environment, which is so critical right now and has been brilliantly illustrated by Yvon Chouinard's recent decision to put all of his company's profits into a trust for the environment.

To those noble ends, we embarked on a wonderful weekend trek up the Dents du Midi a few days ago. The Dents du Midi is a perfect proving ground for young LASers: its profile dominates our view to the southwest, the hike itself requires determination and endurance, but the peak is not so technical that it is out of reach of the mere mortal. Five young men, three teachers and a couple of intrepid Swiss guides undertook this hike on a cool Saturday morning. Overcast skies allowed the group to hike in relative comfort until we stopped for the night at La Cabane de Susanfe, a cozy mountain hut where we played Monopoly and had a traditional hiker's meal before getting some sleep for the summit attempt. 

The Dents du Midi (upper right mountain range) as viewed from the LAS campus.

We awoke on Summit Sunday to clear skies and cool temperatures. It was a perfect day to get to the top of a Swiss mountain. Everyone performed brilliantly, and we ascended the mountain like a group of seasoned veterans. After a couple of hours of vigorous hiking, the entire group was enjoying 360 degree views that took in Lake Geneva, Leysin and its surrounding towers, and we had a terrific view of such classic peaks as Mount Blanc and the Matterhorn.

After a long walk down to the valley, we were greeted by the ever-cheerful driver, Vinny, and he brought us safely back to Leysin. Everyone was tired after over thirty kilometers of walking for the weekend, but it could not dampen our spirits. We had faced a challenge and overcome it brilliantly. We got to spend a couple of beautiful days in a stunning natural environment, and we can look out of our windows at the Dents du Midi and smile. We climbed that mountain, and we are all the better for it!

Eric Turner
Director of Residential Life

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Leysin American School

For almost 60 years, we have nurtured the talent of our students, motivating them to reach their highest potential in education, sports, and the arts. Our success stems from the vision of founders Fred and Sigrid Ott—to create an international high school in a secure, inspiring location, where young people can reach their goals and become true “citizens of the world.”

 

 

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