Saturday, August 02, 2008

Four days in the Rätikon: Schesaplanahütte -> Totalphütte

We get a reasonably early start (7:30) in good weather (clear! clear! clear!) and head up along the blue-white way to the Schesalplana through the wet grass and mud, up, up, up. Eventually we cross a magical barrier where the ground is mostly dry. We see lots of snails and Alpensalamanders as well as a few marmots.

At a certain point the way starts to get really blue-white; it's lucky that things are pretty dry by then because it would have been really nasty to cross some of the patches in wet conditions. There was a nice section of chain that seemed hairy while doing it but that when seen from the other side made Greg very happy he didn't know what he was doing at the time he was doing it. We do plenty of scrambling, plenty of traversing on loose surfaces or where no real path was visible. Still, the way is very, very well marked and is never critical.
"in some places use of hands is required to proceed"

After a surprisingly short period of time we hit the bowl (~2720m) below the Schesalplana itself, join the path coming from the Mannheimerhütte and start seeing people; lots of people. Up until this point we had been completely alone; after this point we would be constantly around other people.

Another 200 or so meters up an easy, but very steep path to the top of the Schesaplana (2964m, 10:30). We've somehow managed to fly up tho the top; getting there in less than the "standard" time. At the top we enjoy the panoramic views, take some quick pictures before clouds come in, and have an early lunch. We enjoy the sight of others stopping at the saddle below, contemplating the way down, reconsidering, thinking, then taking the route and vanishing from view.

After our break we head down to the vanishing point and descend towards the Lünersee. There are some really nice bits along the curly, swerving rock at the top.
We scrambled up, now we scramble down
Down, down, down, until we start to meet the hordes coming up for the day trip to the peak. Hordes! We hit the Totalphütte (2381m), our days destination, at around 1:30, much too early! We were at least able to secure good mattress positions in the hostel. We spend the rest of the afternooon marvelling at the crowds and the great views, try a Kaiserschmarrn (good, but tooooo much), a gratis schnapps (obstler, not our favorite), and basically putter away the rest of the afternoon.

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