Sunday, July 14, 2013

Climbing the Grassen

We start Sunday with breakfast at 6:00; we are underway by around 6:45.

Up we go on the blue-white path. Of course we aren't the only ones out there; most everyone from the hut is there for this tour. After a bit we hit a quite steep snow field that is still frozen hard: the ice axes come out, but we opt to not go for crampons yet because there is still a ways on rock ahead. There are some dodgy bits, but we make it across a few fields without problems and then hit the glacier. On with all the equipment and then onwards and upwards we go, a bit behind two other groups of two. Nice easy glacier traverse with a bit of climbing until we hit the end of the valley. Here we shorten the rope and then climb up to the ridge behind one if the other groups (the second is still getting ready). 

The ridge is quite broad and comfy to walk. We head onwards, climbing gently toward the peak. At some point we pass the other group, then a pair who have just taken a more adventurous route up. After a stretch, we move onto rock and gravel for a while until we hit the snow/ice again for the last bit to the top. Greg has been enjoying the thought that we would be the first on the peak for a bit, but this bursts right about now when a guy on skis comes into sight ahead; damn! Anyway, we make the top, enjoy the views and have a nice rest in the comparative quiet.

We decide not to try to head down the other side to Engelberg: we can't see the trickiest bit and Greg is nervous about the snow on the blue-white path down. So back down to the hut we go. After a rest and some cool beverages, we decide to take the panorama path along the valley side towards the Seewenhütte.

Very nice walking here with a surprising amount of snow still around until we start our descent. 700 vertical meters later we are at the level of the Susten pass road. Rather than hiking another several hours down the valley, we hang out for a bit in the shade under a tree until it is time to catch the bus back to Göschenen and the train to home.

This was our first self-organized Hochtour. It wasn't a particularly difficult one, but everything went quite well. It was great practice for us.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

From Sustenpass to Sustlihuette

After an early start we do the train-train-bus thing and end up at the Sustenpass after something like four hours of travel.

Our plan is to take the blue-white alpine path over the Gufernjoch and then traverse to the Sustlihütte, our beds for the night.

After 10-15 minutes on the path we hit the first patch of snow. No problem to get across that. The second patch is bigger and steeper, so we pack away the sticks and break out our ice axes. After crossing a couple more snow fields we get a good view of the next bit of our route and realize that it involves a long traverse of a quite steep section that is completely snow covered. Hrm, no good. We could break out the crampons, but that wouldn't be much fun, and we have no idea what the other side of the pass looks like. Given that this the the south face and the other side is north-facing, it's likely worse than this side. Sensible decision: turn back. That's what we do.
Back at the pass we decide to take the path down to the valley floor and then back up to Chli Sustli and on to the hut. Nice walking here without too much snow and lots of flowers. At some point we do a nice lunch break and then continue on. At the turnoff we head up to the street, cross, and then continue on the Leiterli path up to the hut. This is a nice steep direttisima with a few ladders thrown in for spice.
We are at the hut after not too long. After checking in and having a cool beverage we do a bit of wandering around, have a nap in the sun, enjoy the views, and generally relax until it is dinner time. We have a very good view of this side of the Gufernjoch and it looks completely insane - good that we didn't do that!. After a very good meal we are in bed pretty early, as usual.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Two days around the Churfirsten

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Enjoying the view near Obersäss

Under the wall approaching the Gocht couloir

In the Gocht couloir

In the Gocht couloir

The track for both days: