Saturday, May 31, 2014

Along the Schrattenflue

The forecast was good, so we set out to do a hike from the Entlebuch "interesting hikes" book ("Entlebuch-Emmental Zwischen Pilatus, Napf und Sigriswiler Rothorn" from the SAC).

Starting just outside of Flühli we follow the river for a bit (no Andrea's Special today) before passing through Torbach and starting to climb. We're under clouds/in fog, so views aren't really there, but at least it's nice and cool. Up, up we go, at times through woods, at times across fields, at times on forest roads. The footing is alternately fine and pretty muddy. As we go higher we get more and more into the cloud, which lends a spooky, fantastic character to some of the fields we cross. This isn't a heavily used path: a lot of the time we're just following the markers or, at best, traces of a path. Very nice. After passing Ämmetal thing start to get pretty steep and direttissima as we do the last 350m or so vertical meters up to the Ober Gummenegg. At the pass we come out into the sun (the ridge is stopping the clouds) and enjoy a very nice view down the Mariental, across to the Brienzergrat, and past that to the big peaks of the Berner Oberland. Here we also see our first other hiker, who's come up the other way.
Ober Gummenegg pass with Strick
After taking a few pictures we set off along the ridge. At the bottom of the cliffs heading up to the Strick we turn off onto the blue-white marked path (we must look unstable or something, the guy in front of us asks me "are you sure-footed?"), head around the cliff a bit, and then steeply up, with a bit of scrambling, to the peak of the Strick. We enjoy a sandwich break while taking in the views before continuing on. Here we move into the T5/unmarked route part of the hike and it gets a bit interesting/irritating. According to our reading of the book, we're supposed to follow traces of a path down through a couloir to the southwest of the peak. The only up around the peak we can find that even begins to meet the description is very steep and seems to end in air (tough to say due to the clouds). We aren't going that way. Fortunately Andrea has read some Hikr reports that provide alternate directions to the couloir. We look around a bit, find the place we want, and head on. After a big of very nice ridge walking we rejoin the path at Heftibode. Further along the ridge, past the Heftihütte, along the nice path under the cliff we go before turning off the path and heading up to the ridge again. This is some very, very nice walking: it's all limestone pavement ("Karren") with a steep drop off the right.
Along the ridge to the Heftibode
After a bit, crossing some snow fields, and some good scrambling (the last bit does require hands), we get to the Hächle, where we stop for another break and appreciate the views. If there were no clouds, this would be a great place to do an Alp panorama. As it is, we enjoy what's there before continuing along the ridge, hitting a marked trail at the Tierweid, down to the saddle at p1934, then turning back towards the valley at the Heideloch.
hands required to get to the Hächle
We contemplate continuing along the path along the ridge, but there's a fair bit of snow, it's no longer early, and our legs are letting us know that we've already done something, so it's down we go. The path down is really quite nice, at first lots of snow and rock (including some more great Karren), then more meadow, down, down, down, then trees, down, down further, and then we're in the valley floor. We've time it well, so we only need to wait 15 minutes for the bus that starts us back towards home.
limestone "Karren"
It was a great walk and it wouldn't be bad to do at least parts of again when then views are somewhat better.

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