Sunday, January 27, 2008

Snowshoeing around Kandersteg

On Saturday morning we took the train down to Kandersteg (~1100m) and then walked up along a mixture of winter-hiking path and snowshoe trail to the Oeschinensee (~1578m). The snowshoes really weren't required here. We walked a bit across the lake to wonder at the people ice fishing (it was *cold* on that ice... the sun doesn't make it down onto most of the lake) then had a snack at the berghotel before proceeding along to the top of the chairlift (1682m), where we rented a couple sleds and then headed down the mountain. We had so much fun on the first trip down that we took the lift back up to the top and did it again. :-)

Sunday morning we took the bus to the end of the valley and then took the gondola up to Sunnbüel (1934m). We followed the prepared winter-hiking/cross country ski path along the valley (Spittelmatte) for a bit and then headed up along a touring-ski path (via Sagiwald and Tatelen) to the Unterer Tatelishorn (2497m). The last bit of this was quite steep and exciting. I'm not sure I would want to do much steeper yet. The trip up took us just under 3 hours. We had a short lunch break up top and watched some touring ski people finish the ascent to the top. Then we set out on the way back after sharing a joke with the skiiers about us having to walk down... they had a nice little bit of skiing ahead and we just had a tricky bit of descent to look forward to. :-) After getting past the super steep bit we were able to enjoy the advantages of descending in snowshoes: soft, sure footing that doesn't put much stress on the legs. The conditions weren't ideal for running this time, but we got a little bit in. We made it back to the lift station in a bit over 2 hours then made the trip back home.

Another very nice trip.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Snowshoeing: Eggberge -> Biel

Finally a weekend day with decent weather! So it was off to the Alps with the snowshoes.

We started by taking the gondola up to Eggberge (1443m), then walked through the woods up to the Hüenderegg (1874m) where we were going to have lunch with the fantastic view, but the wind was just too cold so we aborted that plan halfway through.
After descending a bit to the Fleschsee (1812m) we decided that we were just having too much fun and enjoying the weather too much to finish the hike via the short route. So we took the longer option and went over the Chalberweid to Zur Gand, then up the steep slope to the Eggen (1951m). It's amusing/frustrating to be plodding up a very steep slope and then to have a group come running past going the other way. :-)

After admiring the views for a while, we ran down the steep slope on the other side (boy was that fun; and there was no one coming up, so no frustration spreading by us), then walked past the Oberalp before joining the well groomed winter hiking path and finishing at the gondola station in Biel (1637m).

Just a fantastic day in the mountains.
Running down the hill in a more or less controlled manner.....