Saturday, September 24, 2016

Swiss-Italian Border Hike Day 1: Binn to Binntalhütte

The trip down to Wallis is crazy full, it seems like half of Switzerland is headed to the mountains to enjoy the late season sun. Fortunately, the bus waits for the (20 minute late) train in Fiesch and so we do end up making it to Binn. We've been talking for years about doing a tour in the Binntal, but somehow never got around to it until now; it is a long enough trip down that it really only makes sense to come for a multi-day tour.

The plan is to do a long piece of the ridge towards the Holzjihorn, probably not including the peak itself, and then head across the next ridge and over to the Binntalhütte, where we are staying for the first night. It's a late start, so we feel like there is some time pressure, particularly greg, so we keep up a healthy pace as we head up, up, up out of town towards to Eggerhorn. The first bit of the Andreas-special is nicely shaded under the trees, but we are above the tree line soon enough. The views from the path and ridge are quite good, though a bit encumbered by clouds over the Berner Oberland (to the north) and, to a lesser extent to the south. Up, up and along we go until we hit the old bunker under the Eggerhorn, which is under construction (!). We opt to do lunch and enjoy the views there instead of doing the last 15 minutes up to the peak. Once we find a reasonably wind sheltered spot we enjoy a quick lunch with somewhat cloud-covered views to the north. After lunch the wind really picks up, so out come the hard shells for a bit.

[then we climbed the Grosses Fülhorn....]

From this point on the path tends to stay under the ridge, which helps with the wind and we aren't really missing too much viewing to the north (thanks to the clouds). Along we go, gently climbing and descending on the nice path, onwards and onwards until we hit the pass at p2716. Here we turn steeply down and follow the path more or less directly to the bottom, crossing the stream, climbing up a bit towards the Gandhorn and then continuing along to the alp at Schinerewysse. Now we leave the marked paths and follow the farm road to the small, but nicely renovated, hut at p2251 before turning downhill on an old, clearly no longer used, path that takes us down to the river at Chiestafel. Back in marked paths now we cross the bridge and head up, up, up and along until we get to the Binntalhütte. We've made excellent time, so we have plenty of time to relax and enjoy a cool beverage before dinner.
The hut is quite nice (and small) and not completely full, so it's reasonably calm; the food is excellent, and we even manage to get in a bit of star gazing before heading off to bed.
It would be nice to do this approach again without the feeling of time pressure and without the clouds. The views from the ridge must be really something when one can see everything.


Stats: 18.5km, 1845m up, 982m down, 6:36

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