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Breathing in the crisp air, feeling the warm sun kiss our skin, being with friends and colleagues… Many of us have taken these things for granted, until two years ago, when we were forced to stay mostly inside, confined to our homes and the odd visit to the supermarket. However, times are changing, and last month from July 20 - 23rd, 13 employees at Seibert Media took to the great outdoors, to hike through the Austrian Alps!
This hiking event is one of many examples of events that employees at Seibert Media self-organize. We love enriching our company culture so that everyone has the chance to mingle outside of work and get to know personally who we work with day in and day out.
Hearing about this event, I really wanted to tell you about it! Mountains have always fascinated me, especially since I myself only started hiking when I moved to Germany 5 years ago. Originally from Florida, I am used to everything being flat - I mean the highest point you see is likely a palm tree. When I first visited the Starnberger See in Bavaria, I marveled at the mountains which seemed to sprout from the lake in the far distance. I didn't know at the time that I was looking at the Alps!
Humans and the Alps
For thousands of years the Alps have fascinated humans. Human activity in the Alps dates back to the Paleolithic era (think caveman times, kind of). Legend has it that during the times of kings and mystical creatures, the mountain peaks were the breeding place of dragons and demons. People were so terrified, that they blindfolded themselves to cross the Alpine passes. Nowadays, this mountain range is far more peaceful (maybe less eventful than the ideas of dragons flying around), and alpine culture includes cattle farming, cheese-making and woodwork.
The Alps are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, recording over 120 million visitors a year. Have you been before? - If not, no worries (check out how we explored it); and if yes, awesome (get inspired for round 2)!
Everyone enjoys the Alps, and Seibert Media employees are no exception
Knowing this would be a long weekend trip, our Seibert Media crew planned ahead of time coordinating who could make the trip, their travel arrangements to the Alps, a packing list (with over 30 items) and a tentative itinerary.
It was no surprise for our employees on the day of the hike to have to get up bright and early at 5:30am. I'm sure they were tired, but full of energetic anticipation of the adventure to come! They took their cars (or carpooled) 2000 meters up to the mountain pass, Bieler Höhe, next to the Silvretta reservoir. From there, the real hike on foot began as our Seibert media crew met their guides, Karl and Mareike from the Deutscher Alpenverein (German Alpine Association, DAV). Interestingly, Karl actually was the same guide from Seibert Media’s last hiking trip in the Alps.
From the mountain pass, our hikers trekked about 3 hours or roughly 7km (4.3 miles) to a height of 660m and their first destination - the Saarbrucken Shelter (Saarbrücker Hütte). Now that already is quite a bit of hiking if you ask me, but that wasn’t all…. Summer rain is definity in season as within the first 30 mins it poured down on everyone! When I asked Babak, one of our hikers, he said that the storm was definitely the most memorable moment of the trip for him. He said everyone was dressed in their summer clothes so they were not ready for the heavy rain and before they could even get their ponchos out of their bags they were soaked. With lightning and thunder, and no place to take cover, they fearlessly continued their trek (just wetter than expected).
After staying overnight and trying to dry their things at the Saarbrucken Shelter, everyone headed out to their second destination - the Wiesbadener Shelter (Wiesbadener Hütte) for the next two days. Another massive 11 km (6.8 miles) and roughly 6 hour-trek from shelter to shelter, wow. There, guide (and trained yoga instructor) Mareike led a yoga session! She gave helpful instructions on breathing techniques that were much needed and appreciated (we work in an office… not all of us exercise in the mountains everyday, where air is in short supply).
At one point in time, the group split into two. Some people decided to go to the mountain lake and others scaled the icy glaciers.
The mountain lake was definitely the less extraneous activity of the day. Only 3km (1.8 miles) from the shelter with only a 450m further incline. Reaching 2800 meters in altitude, the lake provided a great panoramic view of the Silvretta glaciers. Either getting their feet wet or jumping right in to swim, our employees had a fun time at the lake.
Armed with an ice axe, helmet, climbing harness and crampons aka glacier boots (which have sharp spikes on the sole), our adventurous hikers ascended the Silverettahorn. It took them 6 hours and a whopping 10km to climb! When we asked one of our hikers, Samuel Lerch, he said it was an obvious highlight for him.
Ending the trip after three full days, some employees returned to the good old home base of Wiesbaden (well done ladies and gents!) Others hadn't had enough yet and pushed forward for one more hike.
Takeaways from our mountainous adventure
Now, I can’t possibly put into words how much fun and hard work that must have been. But, the Alps is a great place to push your limits and see communication shine. The circumstances are tough sometimes (for instance, just look at those slippery icy glaciers or unexpected buckets of rain!), so being able to rely on each other and work together with colleagues is very important, and at at Seibert Media we do this outside and inside the office.
But, not only was this journey a great experience for team building,but for character building as well. Our Seibert Media hikers didn’t walk the path of least resistance. Along with rain and glaciers, our hikers trekked higher and higher altitudes. There were also changes that they had to adapt to. For example, switching their original trails due to the rainy weather or walking in soggy hiking boots. As the saying goes, it's the journey not the destination.
Would you like to be a part of Seibert Media?
You can check out our German or English job openings here. You can also send us an open application on our job portal in English or German. See you in our next adventure!
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