Sunday, July 12, 2009

Around the Wildstrubel: Wildstrubelhuette -> Leiterli

This was really two separate hikes with very different character combined into one: Wildstrubelhütte -> Wildhornhütte and then Wildhornhütte -> Leiterli.

After a really nice breakfast, we set off relatively early (7:15). The morning is clear: there is a cloud layer at around 4000m (we confirmed this later when we couldn't see the tops of the 4000m mountains in Wallis), but below the clouds we have excellent visibility out over the Wildhorn and its chain, down the valley, and out towards the Voralpen.
Back down towards the lakes and then a turn off along the side of the valley about 100m before the bottom. At some point back into some green (it's amazing where grass and flowers will grow) and along to the Rawilpass. Further along above Alpage du Rawil (the plain of a river that wasn't really there) and the Plan des Roses, past another small lake, and then off into a fantastic landscape of water shaped rock. This was great walking: at coarse scale the rock was a smooth plain, but closer in there were holes and ridges and cuts and spikes and and and. Just fantastic. Here we started to get a nice view down into the Wallis and some of the 4000ers there. The tops of the mountains were in clouds, so identification was hard. We also see the telltale signs of ants working their way up the Wildhorn.

After a quick food break to enjoy the views, off again where we join the path up from the Lac de Tseuzier and see the first other groups of the day. Up a bit and then we traverse a steep scree slope above the beautiful Lac de Tenehet. This traverse is very entertaining: the path is narrow but mostly quite good. Along the way a few rocks start coming down from above; not so nice... there's not really anywhere to retreat to in case of a rockslide. Then Andrea notices the mountain goats on the wall above us; they've knocked the rocks loose. After a joke about the goats defending their domain from the invading hikers, we continue on our way. A bit later we cross paths with a large group of French speakers (the solitude is really over) and then continue up to the Schnidejoch with its great views to both the Wallis and the Voralpen, and, of course, its wind. brrr...

On the other side of the Schnidejoch we work down around the end of the glacier and then further down along a moraine (great views to the West to the seemingly unnamed lake at the bottom of the Pfaffehore; wonder if it's possible to snowshoe or hike that bit of valley) to the Wildhornhütte. Along the way we get five minutes of rain; just enough to test how quickly we could break out the rain jackets and get the covers on our packs: well less than two minutes. :-)

At the hut we have the second part of our lunch and a liter of tea and decide we're fit enough for a few more hours, so we opt for the longer route for the second half of the day. It's up and around the Stierenberg, back behind and under the Stigelschafberg on a nice mountain trail then down a steep few hundred meters to the Stieretungel. From this point on it's no longer mountain walking: now we're on paths through grassy fields. Along a panorama path with fantastic views out onto the Wildstrubel area (including the hut!),
past wild limestone mountain features: holes, weird rock formations, etc. We see lots of nice snowshoeing terrain and a couple of tempting looking ridges (particularly the Wasserngrat->Lauenenhore->Giferspitz->Berzgum). Eventually we reach the lift station at Leiterli. From there it's a lift trip down to Lenk and the trains back home.

Another really nice (and long) day.

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