Sunday, June 12, 2011

Flühli -> Gfelle

On Saturday we ran across the new SAC book "Entlebuch-Emmental Zwischen Pilatus, Napf und Sigriswiler Rothorn"; flipping through it revealed all kinds of interesting sounding hikes with a strong emphasis on doing ridges. We like ridges, so we immediately bought the book. This was our first hike from it.

We started pretty early: on a train leaving Basel at 6:30 and did the tram->train->train->bus thing. The bus from Schüpfheim is pretty full, but we're the only ones who get off at Flühli (they're all going to the Brienzer Rothorn, yay!). From Flühli we take the road out of town under blue skies, below the walls of the Schwandiliflue, past Mettle and Salzbüel, then along the path to the farm at Baumgarte. To this point we've been climbing steadily, (about 400m already), but haven't really noticed it; this all changes when we take a right at Baumgarte, head across the grass, and climb up the Leitere. This starts off steep and just gets steeper. :-) It's a great "path" (well-marked, but no path until it gets really steep) including steep grass, rock scrambling, a few cables, and a lot of mud. Definitely wouldn't want to do this the other way under these conditions!

Once up to the ridge we do a quick energy-bar break then continue along the ridge until we hit the cross on the peak under the Schafmatt. Here we run into a small group of sheep (sheep on the Schafmatt???) being guarded by two dogs (seen signs for this before, haven't actually seen the dogs though); we had around them with a bit of gentle talking for the dogs and head up to the real Schafmatt peak. The views would probably be amazing, but the clouds are bit too low to be able to see much in the direction of the alps. From here on it's ridge walking along an unmarked, but mostly visible, trail. For a while we have a good example of ridge weather: clouds on our left, clear to the right. The ridge is excellent: grass bits, scrambly bits, narrow bits, steep bits, everything you want. :-)
At a saddle we run into a couple of ibexes (they aren't much bothered by us) and do a sandwich break before continuing on. After a bit more nice walking we get to the end of the road: the cross at Pt. 1815 on the Abnistetterflue. Another sandwich break and some more view-enjoying, then back a bit and steeply down to the unmarked path running along the south face. Past the Toregg, and down to the Oberlooegg. Here we start seeing other people on the paths (the first of the day). A bit further on we come to the Schimbrig Bad where, unplanned but very welcome, a cool drink awaits.

At this point we play a bit of a game with ourselves. The signs say 1 hour 10 minutes to Gfelle, the next bus leaves in an hour, so we decide to take it easy and catch the next one. By the time we finish our drinks and set out again, we've got about 40 minutes to get the bus. We set out at our normal "getting ready hochtouren" pace for a bit, then at some point decide that it's worth trying to catch the bus. We up the pace to just under a jog and start cutting switchbacks out of the path. By the time we hit the river we've got 7-8 minutes left and no real idea how much farther it is to the bus stop, so we continue along alternating between fast walking and jogging. When the bus stop comes into view, the bus is there and the driver is getting ready to leave. Some fast jogging for the last 100m and we get to the bus just as he's pulling out, luckily for us the driver stops. We get on the bus sweaty, out-of-breath, and giggly. :-)

Note to ourselves: we seem to head uphill considerably faster than the times given in new book. We made it to the Schaffmatt in less than three hours, including a break, not the 4 hours given in the book.

No comments: