Sunday, June 29, 2008

A day in the Voralpen

The weather forecast was promising, so we set off to the mountains for a nice Gratwanderung.
When we got on the bus in Thurnen it was clear that we weren't the only ones with this idea: The first bus was full and the extra second bus (which we were on) was also pretty much full.
After getting off the bus (along with about 100 other people) at Wasserscheidi (1584m, 9:15am), we got a bit of a jump on the crowd and headed off towards the Leiterpass. On the way up we passed two good-sized parking lots, also completely full, and saw loads and loads of people.

We made the Leiterpass (1905m) in the middle of a crowd, had a quick snack while admiring the view out over the Alps, and then headed off along the Chrummifadeflue. Luckily for us at this point a large portion of the crowd was turning the other way and another large portion took the route up through the Schwalmere. By the time we made it up to the Homadsattel (1960m) we were alone. It seems like everyone else stayed down on the panoramaweg. After another quick snack, we followed the ridge up to the Homad (2076m), where the Gratwanderung portion of the program began.
looking back towards Leiternpass

From here we followed the ridge along past the Möntschelespitz (2021m) and a couple other minor view points. Up on the ridge the number of people was much more reasonable: smaller groups and not as many of them.

View along the ridge to the Stockhorn, Thunersee and Bernese Alps in the back.

We made it to the end of the ridge ahead of the oncoming clouds and then headed down to Oberi Walalp (1714m). The plan from here was to head up to the Stockhorn and take the gondola down, but the peak itself was inside a cloud and the weather was starting to look a bit iffy, so we took the low route and walked around the corner to the Oberstocksee (1665m) and then up a bit to the Berggasthaus Oberstocke (1776m) where we had cool drinks and a snack. A bit of descent to the Hinderstocksee (1592m) and then we were at the lower gondola station: Chrindi (1637m, 3:30pm). We took the gondola down to Erlenbach (722m) and made it to the train station just as the rain started.

By the time we changed trains in Spiez the sky had really cracked open and rain was coming down like crazy.

This was a really nice hike, with lots of variation and a good portion along the ridge.

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