Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hiking above Engelberg, Engelberger Rotstock

Unstable weather and work related travel had kept us out of the mountains for a few weeks, but this was perfect-weather day.

We left Basel quite early and headed to Engelberg. From there we, along with a bunch of other people, took the gondola up to Ristis. There was one of those magic moments as the gondola cleared the clouds above Engelberg and the views of the Titlis chain and the whole region opened up. From Ristis we followed the road (most of the other people then headed up to the next lift), enjoying the fantastic views, to Rigidalstafel where the path proper started. Along the really nice path, basically by ourselves, up 600m to the Rugghubelhuette. The plan was to stop for a cold drink and then continue on, but the fruit pies looked too good for Greg to resist, so we had cold drinks and peach pie (mmm, peach pie). A couple other groups catch up to us at the hut, but it's still not really crowded.
Onwards from the hut, further up the valley on the path to the Rot Grätli with the Engelberger Rotstock looming nicely pyramidal ahead. After a bit we take the blue-white path off towards the Engelbergerlücke. The walking is a bit more challenging here, but nothing dramatic. Up, up to the saddle, where we have new great views: the Uri Rotstock is particularly nice looking from here. Then up the faint path to the peak of the Engelberger Rotstock. Here's it's definitely not lonely: we pass a couple of groups coming down and see another ahead of us. The way is steep, but the footing is good, so it's pretty easy. From the top we get the expected amazing views in all directions. This includes, among other things, the Glattigrat, which looks totally different (though equally exposed) in the summer time.
After a food break and some pictures, we head back down to the saddle and then off along the somewhat "airy" path to the Rot Grätli. There's a nice bit of scrambling along the way that the people behind us demonstrate to be completely avoidable, doh!

From the pass it's down the other side, around the corner, then up a bit to the Schoneggeli, where we have a second sandwich break while admiring a different view (the back side of the Ruchstock, the Walenstöcke, and the very flat-topped Chaiserstuel). Finally we head around the bowl and down to the gondola at Chrüzhütte.

A very nice hike on a day with essentially perfect weather. Ahhh....