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It was sad, after so many years as a team of four, for Es not be with us.
Covid in the family had led to a lot of agonising decision making, and with a heavy heart he had decided to stay away.
He didn't want to either be away with Covid, give it to us or to leave his unwell family in the lurch.
So we were, for this year, just a team of 3. We debated other possible routes but to make the fastest, furthest progress east it seemed to make sense to suck it up, shoulder our skis and commit to the 16k road walk up the Val Ferrera, to the remote hamlet of Juf.
At over 2100m it is one of the highest, remotest and permanently inhabited villlages in Switzerland.
It was clearly a great location for ski touring with lots of possibilities in all directions, fully off the radar.
One of the joys of our Transalp journey on skis was discovering places like this, which you'd simply never otherwise come across. We were happy to leave the valley though, on skis finally, following the route of the summer Stallerberg footpath, then a mellow descent to the small resort of Bivio.
From there we constructed a steady route parallel to the road, leading up the Gelgia stream, towards the Julierpass.
This is the traditional start point of the classic Albula Alps tour and our final third of the day was the standard first day of this route.
We followed the standard route up the Val d'Agnel and were pleased, quite late in the day, to get to our highpoint, the Fuorcla d'Agnel at 2982m.
A quick ski down took us to the Jenatsch Hut at 2653m, just in time for dinner.
It felt a little odd, post-Covid but not by much, to be in a packed and hot, stuffy unventilated hut, with the staff wearing masks.
This was to be our only crowded accommodation of the week as we increasingly quested into the back of beyond, well away from the vast majority of skiers.