They started on this venture in fine weather shortly after breakfast one day early in March. They carried their skis on their shoulders until they had left the base of the mountain.
"Once in the open we made splendid progress," Doyle recalled. "We had the satisfaction of seeing the flags in the village dipped in our honour when we reached the summit. But it was only in returning that we got the full flavor of skiing. In ascending you shuffle up by long zigzags, the only advantage of your footgear being that it is carrying you over snow which would engulf you without it. But coming back you simply turn your long toes and let yourself go, gliding delightfully over the gentle slopes, flying down the steeper ones, taking an occasional cropper, but getting as near to flying as any earthbound man can. In that glorious air it is a delightful experience."
Doyle's wife and their children were among the many spectators who observed from balconies and other vantage points the progress of the three men. Their safe return was roundly cheered.
Encouraged by this success, the trio decided its next goal would be the Davos to Arosa pass, a much tougher proposition than the Jacobshorn. Doyle says they wanted "'to show the utility" of their Jacobshorn achievement by opening up communications with a village on the other side of the pass.
Arosa lies in a valley parallel to that in which Davos is located. It could be reached during winter months only by a very long and roundabout railway journey. No one had ever tried to cross the pass on foot in wintertime.
Doyle and his friends started out shortly after 4 a.m. one day in late March, with knapsacks containing food on their backs. Maps were not necessary since the Branger brothers knew the topography of the area well. All had adequate winter clothing, for the air was biting. The brothers wore simple woolen caps, sweaters and thick trousers. Their lower legs were encased in puttees and their feet in heavy socks and boots. Doyle was more sartorially impressive, wearing, in addition to his sweater, an expensive jacket of the finest Harris tweed and baggy knickerbockers of the same material, topped by a flat cap and a colorful plaid scarf. As usual, he brought along one of his favorite curved pipes and a pouch filled with tobacco.
"A great pale moon hung in the violet sky overhead," he wrote, "brilliant with such a canopy of stars as can be seen only in the tropics or the higher Alps. I have no doubt that what we did would seem absurdly simple to Norwegians or others who were apt at the game, but we had to find things out for ourselves and it was sometimes rather terrifying."
By 7:30 in the morning the trio was slowly zigzagging upward in the lower area of the pass, moving through shadow areas not yet touched by the sun as it tinted the summits. Ahead of them was a 60-degree slope ending in a 1,000-foot perpendicular precipice. The slope was ice, but it had to be crossed. They could not wait for the sun to soften it. Each man had to advance very cautiously, stamping down hard with his skis and planting his poles carefully.
"On our left the snow slope ended in this chasm from which a blue smoke or fog rose in the morning air," Doyle wrote. "I hardly dared look in that direction, but from the corner of my eye I saw the vapour of the abyss. I stamped along and the two gallant Switzers got on my left, so that if I slipped the shock would come upon them. We had no rope by which we could link up."
Reaching the highest point in the pass, they halted briefly. Warmed by a bright sun, they munched on bread, cheese and chocolate bars, washed down by some kirsch that Tobias carried in a small canteen. All were elated. From here on it would be downhill. They took off happily in the direction of Arosa, whose toylike hotels and chalets could be seen in the fir woods below. The going was generally smooth in fine powder until they reached the crest of a slope just outside the village. At a warning gesture from Tobias, who was in front, all came to an abrupt halt. It was lucky they did, for ahead was an appallingly steep slope, its base close to the outer fringe of the village.