Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back to the Alpstein Day 2: Hundstein Hütte -> Rotsteinpass Hütte

We get a reasonably early start and set out under a cloudless sky just past 8. The path takes us down past Bollenwees, where we can admire the view up the valley and the mountains mirrored in the lake (big improvement from last time!) and then up the other side of the valley to the Saxerlücke. From there it's further up the valley to the Roslenalp where we turn off the main path to climb the 3rd Chrüzberg. We get a really nice surprise when someone at Roslenalp starts playing an Alphorn as we're climbing the trail leading steeply to the couloir between the 3rd and 4th peak; too bad they don't keep it up longer, it's nice. :-)
Steeply up through the couloir, with some scrambling along the way, until we reach the saddle. There's a family here climbing the "broad rib" to the peak, but our way leads up through the narrow chimney (no climbing equipment required). This is a nice scrambly climb through a chimney that's a bit wider than the one we climbed on El Yelmo, there's only one bit that requires more than scrambling. From the top of the chimney it's a short walk to the peak of the 3rd Chrüzberg where we enjoy the views and the solitude for a bit before heading back down the way we came up.
Once back in the valley, the path leads us through grass and stones up to the Mutschensattel. By now the temperature is starting to climb, but there's quite a nice breeze coming from the pass, so it's not too uncomfortable. From the pass we follow, along with larger numbers of people, the broad ridge towards the Zwinglipass. The views remain fantastic and the going is good for walk and gawk; ah! what a path! We do a quick beverage and sandwich break at the very basic, but nicely situated, Zwinglipasshütte, and then head onwards around the Altmann (very intimidating looking from this angle) towards the Altmannpass. The path leads us past a large colony of Steinbock and then into a nice "rock desert" bowl. As the path starts to climb towards the pass itself we detour off to the right and do a fun direttissima up to the saddle at P.2368 that is the starting point for last stretch to the Altmann.

This is a pretty straightforward scramble (most would actually be walking, but the rocks are smoothed by all the traffic, so traction isn't so great) with poles driven into the rocks where it gets steep. The last 10m requires a somewhat exposed traverse that gets the adrenaline flowing a bit and then we're up top. It's not too crowded (6 other people) and there's plenty of space to relax and enjoy the really fantastic views you get when you're on the highest point around.

Back down the way we came up, down to the Altmannpass, and then down the adventurous, but very well secured with steps and cables, route to the Rotsteinpass and the hut/hotel where we will spend the night.

A great day of walking with perfect weather and two peaks of very different character. We're happy hikers!

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