Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kandersteg -> Adelboden

The SAC Hochtour that was planned for this weekend was rearranged due to weather, so we did a mountain hike on our own.

After an early start it was tram-train-train to Kandersteg where we got off the train with a bunch of other people. Greg had fears of a very crowded day that were somewhat relieved when more than half of the crowd got on the bus to the gondola station at Sunnb├╝el (which we've also taken before). Almost all of the rest of the crowd turned off at the KIKA lift station, so after walking through the masses of kids at the scout center (luckily still preparing themselves for the day), we ended up having a quiet path.

After not too long we started the steep climb out of the valley along a very nice path under trees. About 2/3 up the path moved into a gorge along the river, unfortunately that bit was closed do to rock slides, so we had to do the last bit along the road. We ended up in a typical Alp hanging valley (whose name I can't find) full of farm houses, cows, and sheep. Along the valley a bit and then steeply up the valley wall through the rocks, flowers, and meadows, with excellent views towards the Altels, the Tatelishorns, the Balmhorn, the Gasteretal, Oeschinensee, and the Bluemlisalp group (including the amazingly situated Bluelmisalp SAC hut).

After about 500m of climb up the side of the valley we reach the Alpschele, where things flatten out for a bit. From here we can clearly see the ridge we're going to cross towards Adelboden, and it looks cloudy over there, so we opt for an early lunch to enjoy the last of the views and then continue on. Past more cows (including the famed Alp snow cows), up up towards the Alpschelegrat. About 20m below the edge of the ridge, we turn and cross the scree to do the last 100m up to the Bundnerchrinde. Memories of the Breche de Roland as we come to a break in the stone face inside a bunch of clouds, but luckily from the break itself we have clear views on the other side down to Adelboden.

Very entertaining first bit of descent along a quite steep scree slope (unusually "diretissima" for an Alp path), through a lovely green hanging valley, a quick break and snack in the green, and then onwards. The small Bergrestaurant along the way is just too tempting, so we stop for a refreshing beverage and enjoy the views down into the valley, back the way we came, and towards the very interesting looking Lonegroup (including the Lohnerh├╝tte from the SAC). Then down, down, down to the valley floor.

When we get to Oey, we'd have to wait 40 minutes for the next bus, so we do the 100m up to Adelboden itself, wander briefly around town, and then get on the bus for the trip home. The way back is the usual "Sunny Summer Sunday in Switzerland Situation" on the trains, but of course everything works and we make it back with no problems.

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