Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gruben -> St. Luc

We do an early breakfast and get a pretty early start for a hiking day: underway by 7:30. The route leads us up, up the side of the valley under the trees, very nice. As we go higher the view out towards the end of the valley and the Bishorn/Weisshorn pair opens up... fun to see those two again. After some good climbing we leave the trees and come out into the sun at the buildings of Meide. Ah what a beautiful day! Blue skies! Warm! Sun! Along deeper into the valley beside the Meidhorn, climbing gently, enjoying the views and the warmth. Then the wind starts... It's coming from in front of us and it's chill and pretty strong. On with the gore tex shells and continue. Sooner than either of us expect, we are at the Meidsee and the Meidpass is clearly in view and close. The path, as expected, isn't exactly empty. ;-)
Shortly before the last bit of ascent to the Meidpass begins, we turn off to the right on a poorly marked path that will lead us to the Pas du Boeuf. Now we're in empty territory, the path is clearly not one of the popular ones, but it's really great. We do some climbing and come to the Borterpass, from which we have very nice views back towards Weisshorn and forwards to Bella Tola. From here the path finding becomes mainly a matter of knowing which direction is the right one and looking for stone men. Fun! Nice section on blocks partially covered by snow. That's a very different experience: one can't make good time since there is way too much thinking about traction and weight transfer. It makes block walking even more of a puzzle-solving exercise than normal.

At the Pas du Boeuf we do a quick break and then head steeply up the side of the Bella Tola. Twisting and winding and climbing and climbing. Towards the top we see a couple of people up there and Greg thinks sadly that we won't be alone up top. Then we get there and... horrors... it's crazy full of people. We hadn't realized that the path up the other side was a super popular one (not really suprising... An easy 3000m mountain with great views on a day with good weather). Ah well... Quick change of expectations and then a bit of enjoying the 360 degree view and trying to find a reasonably wind-sheltered spot (without success) before heading down the other side, against the stream of people still coming up. Down a bit to a small hut where we get a good place in the sun and out of the wind for lunch. Man oh man are the people streaming up this mountain!
After lunch we head down to the bowl where we did sone really nice snowshoeing a couple of years ago (highlight along the way: a woman heading up wearing a skirt and Tevas; guess she doesn't realize that there's snow on the ground up there) , and head over to the Cab. Bella Tola. A break there to have a refreshing drink and enjoy the last of the views out towards the Weisshorn (now cloud covered) and the Matterhorn (still clear of clouds). Finally we head down, down, down to St. Luc where we catch the bus that takes us to the train that takes us to the train that take us to Basel.

Another nice day of very varied mountain hiking.

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