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.


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