Mürren

As evidence of how little we did today, I never even put on my boots. We transferred to a room with a view and vegetated.

The best views of the day were early.

And

And

For the rest of the day, it was very cold and snowed intermittently.

The weather is supposed to be clear but cold tomorrow, which will be one of our major hikes.

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Rotstockhütte

We didn’t expect much of the weather today, but figured it would be decent enough for a hike to the Rotstockhütte, about 2,000 feet above Mürren. We did OK, with only brief spells of sleet and snow. The worst part was that we got only a few glimpses of amazing views.

We started the hike at about the time farmers were calling their cows. They enticed the cows by shaking bags of grain, but the cows were not always cooperative.

This barn, like several we passed, has a modern touch.

There was nothing modern about the piles of manure we maneuvered around.

After some woods,

the trail soon ascended sharply up the nose of a ridge. Fortunately, it was rocky, but there was also some exposure. Some switchbacks were only a few steps.

And

Balls of snow rolled downhill and fell onto the trail.

And

Sometimes near mountains cane into view

And we got occasional glimpses of the view we might have had.

And

And

At one point we glimpsed relief Roger estimated as about a mile from valley floor to peak, and these were not the tallest mountains.

Rotstockhütte is a small hut positioned below the pass to the next valley west.

We had our usual rösti, this one garnished with a purple flower.

We took a different path back to Mürren to avoid the ridge line. This path was much more benign.

And

These girls didn’t mind us a bit.

Tomorrow’s weather is supposed to be worse, so we probably won’t do much.

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Mürren, Allmendhubel

Mürren is on the west side of and about 2,500 feet above the Lauterbrunnen valley. In 2009, we stayed in Mürren and took lifts and trains to visit the Grindelwald area. Some of the best views are from the Mürren side, even in bad weather. Because Mürren has gotten more expensive, we had planned to stay only one night here, but with rain coming, we decided to stay longer in Mürren rather than have the extra cost and hassle of going elsewhere.

We took trains from Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen, then a lift to Mürren. From here, we better see the concavity that defines the Eiger’s north face.

As soon as we got rid of our packs, we headed uphill to Allmendhubel, which is a hill above Mürren on the edge of a large valley known as the Blumental (Flower Valley). It was a pleasant trail with great views back.

And

The Blumental is well-defined and has several small hotels.

From Allmendhubel, we could also see the Monk and the Jungfrau. The Monk stands between the Eiger and the Jungfrau, protecting the young woman from the ogre.

Part of the return trail was a muddy mess as they appear to be making a road of it,

but most of the trail was quite pleasant.

And

At one point, we were even “stilish.”

And, of course, mountains peeking through.

And

And

Tomorrow, we will explore more of the area above Mürren as the weather allows.

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Gletscherschlut

Otherwise known as a glacier canyon. This one is between the Schreckhorn and the Eiger.

Similarly to yesterday, our short hike seemed ordinary

until we gazed up at the Schreckhorn.

On the way, we realized we had found Grindelwald’s “wrong side of the tracks/river”, complete with a store that functioned as Walmart/Home Depot. True to the Swiss, everything still looked well-kept and clean.

The entrance to the canyon:

The canyon itself was quite bleak, though Roger found a lot of geology that interested him. We walked on catwalks

And through tunnels.

We even ventured onto the “spiderweb.”

The walls certainly had a story to tell.

And

And

And

And

And

On the way back, we saw strange “land art”

And

And some beautiful mushrooms we dared not touch.

We spent some time this morning adjusting our schedule to accommodate several days of rain coming our way in the next several days. We contemplated fleeing, but decided to spend the next several days in Mürren on the other side of the Lauterbrunnen valley. Yes, it will rain there, but it will be beautiful even in the rain.

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West from Schwartzwaldalp

Today, we took the bus east to Schwartzwaldalp, then hiked west to Grosse Scheidegg, First, and back to Grosse Scheidegg before taking the bus back to Grindelwald. Parts of today’s hike repeated hikes I remembered fondly from 2009.

The hike from Schwartzwaldalp is a steep climb through woods, pasture, and cow manure. I was reminded of the exhilaration I felt in 2009 that after all my dreaming and preparation, I was actually hiking in Switzerland. The trail could be anywhere

And

Until you look up and see this

And the Schreckhorn, whose lower portion reminded me of Monte Rosa (It has three tall peaks behind)

And the Wetterhorn

And the Eiger

As we entered the Grindelwald valley, the vista became so huge that our cameras could not capture the effect. It was as if the landscape had been stretched in all directions.

And

And

And

And

And

And

And

And

And

Of course, it wouldn’t be Switzerland without cows.

And

And it wouldn’t be Grindelwald without paragliders.

In sum, it was simply a glorious day. Great weather, great trail, great views, and we felt great.

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Grindelwald: 14 September

Today was a lazy rainy day. We were feeling a bit allergic to cold, so we just puttered in downtown Grindelwald, which consists primarily of souvenir shops, outdoor clothing stores and restaurants. Most of the day, mountains were hardly even visible.

As evening approached, the views got better.

And

And

Yesterday, we were hiking along the right side of this high ridge.

And as the sun began to set,

And

And

And

We are facing more bad weather, so plans may need to change. Tomorrow may be our only good hiking day left in this region.

[caregory switzerland]

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Grindelwald

During the night at Faulhorn, I thought I was hearing airplanes, but it was the howling wind. At least the wind shooed away some of the clouds. We got up early to take some photos from the clerestory windows of the matratzenlager.

And

After breakfast, we bundled up and charged into the wind, which was brutal until we got off the mountain. Roger managed a few photos with freezing fingers.

And

And

Suddenly, we were out of the wind with only a slight drizzle. It was almost warm, and we were on a highway of a path surrounded by tennis shoes and yoga pants. A completely different world in which we were the odd balls with our muddy boots.

There were still views to be had, though.

And

And


Someone took our photo near the spot it was taken in 2009. I look forward to comparing them.

In Grindelwald, we have a private room in a hostel. We had dinner, washed clothes, and petted the cat that likes our laps.

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Faulhorn: 12 September

Faulhorn is the oldest mountain hut in Switzerland, dating from the 1820’s. the hike to it from the west is considered the best in the area because of the view of the Eiger. We didn’t get the view in 2009 because it rained. This time, it rained, sleeted and snowed.

The day began with a trip on the cog train up the steep mountainside to Schynige Platte. The engine was built on 1914.

Instead of the anticipated view into the Lauterbrunnen valley, we were serenaded by these fellows.

The hike began in thick fog along a ridge.

More trail photos:

And

And a turnstile.

At one point where we stopped to snack, the clouds cleared, and there was Faulhorn above us.

And

And

The exciting part was just beginning. First came the slick limestone that had petrified me in 2009. This time, I needed only a couple of assists from Roger.

Next came a couple of steep rocky slopes, the first with serious drop-off.

And

Then we were in snow. Roger seemed to be in a hurry. I’m glad he didn’t tell me until we got to Faulhorn that he was concerned the snow would glaze over. This was the first time I have ever scrambled over rocks sticking out of snow.

And

At one point, we got a brief glimpse of the view we were missing.

As we approached Faulhorn, Roger decided the switchback up its near side was too dangerous, so we went right around to the other side.

We still had no view, but at least we were finally out of the weather. There are 81 beds at Faulhorn with one inside toilet, but there were only 10 guests. I wish I could say we slept warm, but even with thermals, two thick wool blankets, and each other, we still struggled to get warm.

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Faulhorn: 12-13 September

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Schönbielhütte to Lauterbrunnen

What better way to start our 35th anniversary than alpen glow on the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa?

And

And

As we left the hut, clouds in the valley were constantly moving.

After so long above tree line, I welcomed the forest.

The Matterhorn was still with us, though

Monte Rosa was ahead,

And high above us to our left, the plateau of the Höhenweg we traversed several days ago.

According to signage, there has been a village here since the 1200’s.

We also passed through the compact village of Zmutt.

There were carved memorials to early explorers.

And

And pretty scenery.

And

As we approached Zermatt, we saw above us the bench where we hiked our first day at Trift–just below the light-colored band near the clouds.

In Zermatt, we bought salads, milk and tomatoes and caught the train to Lauterbrunnen. We had to change trains three times, but in Switzerland, this is not an issue. Trains really do run precisely on time, so the connecting train is always there, often on the next track.

As we changed trains, though, we realized how much our legs had suffered from the 3,500-foot descent. We had dinner, bought more milk, and headed to bed.

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