Sunday, August 03, 2008

Four days in the Rätikon: Totalphütte -> Lindauerhütte

We woke up Sunday morning in a cloud: visibility around the hut was down to around 10-20m. After breakfast we decided to hope that the clouds would be hung up on the next ridge and set out. By the time we made it to the ascent to the Gamsluggen we had seen occasional signs that things were improving but it was still pretty clouded up, so we took a break and had a snack. Eventually Greg's patience ran out, so we convinced ourselves that conditions were getting better and headed up to the pass. The last 20 or so meters up to the Gamsluggen (2378m) were pretty scrambly because too many people had passed over an insufficiently developed path.
From the pass nothing was to be seen, so we started the descent to the other side, scrambling down using chains and cables. This was not Greg's favorite part of the trip: not being able to see how big/steep the drop was allowed him to imagine somethig really scary. Still, we eventually made it down to the valley floor and continued along towards Lüneregg. At some point the sun came out and we were able to appreciate how really beautiful the valley was: grass, flowers, steep rock sides, etc.
looking back down the valley

After tramping through some marsh and scaring some marmots we climbed up to the Lüneregg (2297m) and had our first nice panoramic view of the day. From there it was around the bowl to the Cavelljoch (2239m) from which we had a great view down onto the Lünersee underneath Totalphütte (though the hut itself wasn't visible). Basically following the contour lines along the valley walls under the Kirchlispitzen, the very nice path led us to an apparently unnamed saddle (2263m) from which we had our first view of the Schweizertor.
Schweizertor from one side
The path led down, down, next to the sheer rock faces (complete with climbers!) until crossing under the Schweizertor at about 1960m. About halfway down we have a quick break, watch the clouds play in the spikes of the Drusenfluh, and admire the very long switchback on the other side of the valley that we're going to have to take to get up to the Schweizertor.
Working our way back towards the Schweizertor on the switchback
Further, along the switchback, scrambling up through the rocks, we reach the Schweizertor (2139m) and stop to have lunch on a nearby knoll. From here we have a nice view of three pairs of climbers on the Drusenfluh. Crazy stuff.

Onwards the path leads, past an old customs house, then up and over the Öfapass (2291m) and finally down through a really pretty flower-filled valley under the Drusenfluh, behind the Dri Türm, and down to the Lindauer Hütte (1720m).

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