Saturday, July 11, 2009

Around the Wildstrubel: Simmefaell -> Wildstrubelhuette

An unusual tour for us because Greg planned it. :-)

We started with an early train so that we made it to Lenk around 9; the bus took us to Simmefaell at the end of the valley and the beginning of our path. The way started with a relatively mild ascent under trees beside the Simme. At the Siebenbrunnen the warm up section ended and the real path started: up the valley wall. Along a great switchbacking path up the wall, sometimes under trees, sometimes exposed, beside the water, away from the water, sometimes scrambly, excellent views out over the valley. Things are pretty empty: we only see three other groups before we make the first shelf and the Flueseeli. The lake is wonderfully situated at the bottom of a scree slope and very inviting, so we take a food break.

After the lake we reach the second phase of the day's hike: high-mountain landscapes. Up to the lake most everything was green and growing; afterwards things got a lot more stony and gray. From the lake it's up up again, beside the scree slope, past the path turning off to the Wildstrubel, and into an excellent alpine bowl: a barren landscape with a beautiful lake in the middle (the Rezligletschersee) and high walls all around. Fantastic place. Further on to the next valley between the ridge connecting the Gletscherhore to the Wisshore and the Laufbodehore.
As we work our way to the Tierbergsattel we catch view of the military installation that is over the Wildstrubelhütte. Up the steep path along scree to the Tierbergsattel, from which we have great views down towards the Wildhorn (and day 2's route).
There's a big block of snow blocking the official route, so we do a bit of scrambling around it and take the very steep path down to the Rawilseeleni. A short food break and then the last push 300m straight up the valley wall to the Wildstrubelhütte.

The hut is really, really nice. When the weather is clear (which it wasn't this day), there are fantastic views and, apparently, amazing sunsets. The place is modern, well organized, and run with good humor, so despite being full it never seemed chaotic or hectic. As an added bonus, the food was good (the benefits of having resupply via gondola). Very different crowd from the previous weekend when everyone was there to climb a mountain. Here there were a few climbers and some serious hikers, but there were also a lot of people who don't spend much time in the mountains -- the routes from Iffigenalp and/or Crans Montana must be quite manageable. All in all a very positive hut experience.

Note: this was Greg's first day in his new hiking boots. Aside from the expected problems finding the proper lacing tension they were quite comfortable. It certainly was nice to have good traction.

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