Dwight Peck's personal website

Summer 2005

Iffigenalp and the Rawilpass

We're back at Iffigenalp and this time we're really going to walk up to the Rawilpass. Really.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

It's 12 August 2005, and we've come once again to lovely Iffigenalp determined to walk up to the Rawilpass or bust. Whatever "bust" may mean in this context. The present narrator had fun here back in the early 1980s and ran from here over the pass and down to Crans-Montana a few times, way back when, but was breathing so hard at the time that he scarcely remembers what he saw there.

Did I mention Iffigenalp? Here's a fine, low-cost mountain restaurant and "hotel" (1584m), when we visited here in July 2004 and trotted on up to the Iffigsee. (See that here.) Now we're back again for more extravagant fun.

There's the Rawil wall, seen from near the hotel below. Our path to the Rawilpass snakes up from the hotel at 1584m to the Blattihütte in the col on the horizon at 2029m and then launches itself off southwards to the Rawilpass at 2429m. We've got our sandwiches put up for us by the hotel -- Let's get a move on!

We've left the hotel and we're marching on a fine day up the "Geiss-rabel", a long cone of landslide debris that will get us up on to the Rawil cliffs.

Kristin awaits stragglers in the party as we start across the Rawil path, following the tire marks of two boys who arrived at the hotel, having just ridden their mountain bikes down this path, as we were starting out. Kids Nowadays!

Kristin checks back regularly to make sure all of Us Kids are keeping up.

The hotel below, seen from the land of shadows.

We're plodding up across the cliffy thing, observing the mountain bike tire braking marks from the two boys who've just come down the path.

Joe and Teny pause for a moment to dry out from the waterfall.

Kristin darts ahead to scout for game.

That's a cute little creek, from which we are still semi-soaked, that will soon join the

Iffigbach at the foot of the cliffs, and a while later join the Simme near Lenk, and then mix it up a bit in the Lake of Thun before joining the mighty Aare as it flows westward through Bern (and recently flooded Bern thoroughly) to the Lac of Biel (Bienne) (with a humiliating little spell through the Canal of Hagneck, near Aarberg, where it's a slow-moving kind of bilious green) -- and then WHIPS around eastward again through Solothurn (Soleure), gathering attitude as it approaches Aarburg (not Aarberg) and Olten, and finally -- having started out westward -- far to the east and north of here it slides greenly into the Rhine. From which it turns west to Basel / Bâle and then, oh well, you know the rest.

Kristin taking a moment to gaze toward the Rhine, in the direction of Rotterdam, Copenhagen, etc.

We're approaching the top of the wall, soon to confront the famous Blattihütte.

And here, at 2029 meters, is the Blattihütte at the top of the wall, where the narrator spent a chilly night in a snowstorm way back in 1981, before dashing back down that path to Iffigenalp at dawn as the snowstorm settled in for the long haul. (The lift lines above seem to be for the military; the little balls on the wires are to keep from being hit by airplanes.)

Stragglers approaching the Blattihütte of fond memory.

Joe and Kristin check out the accommodations. In 1981, there was no floor, so that's an improvement.

Teny pauses to bask in the moment, with additional commentary provided by Joe.

The hotel at Iffigenalp (1584m) from the Blattihütte (2029m). The smoke is from some forestry works.

All members of the hiking party almost burst with enthusiasm to see the Rawilpass for themselves!

Leaving the Blattihütte behind, we're en route once again.

The village of Lenk, far below

This is the Blattihubel, coming up to the place called Stiereläger at 2280m (where in 1981 the narrator and friend Jane tried to set up a tent in the storm and failed).

The Rawilpass can be seen in the distance, but no one's going a step farther without some ham and/or cheese sandwiches first.

The first question at this point in our hike is: who gets the ham, who gets the cheese, and who gets the ham-and-cheese?

Kristin picks out a nice picnic spot above this unnamed lake (2343m) and gets out the tablecloth, cutlery, and candles and snatches away the ham-and-cheese.

Lunch is over. We're leaving our picturesque little lake.

It can't be far now.

The Rawilpass, or Col du Rawil, at 2429 meters, mid-August 2005.

Kristin pauses to flick some snow out of her "hiking sandals", which let the feet breathe.


Kristin (at Rawilpass)

Kristin, Joe, and Teny taking up the cross

Poignant tableau

The Wildhorn (3248m) off to the southwest, with its apparently shrinking glaciers. The narrator went up there in 1990 on crosscountry skis and had a wonderful time (except for coming down).

The view to the east, with what are apparently serious Swiss military installations across the top. Behind that lies the massive Glacier of the Plaine Morte, and beyond that, the Wildstrubel.

The narrator and friend and cross

Joe indicates his desire to go a bit farther along the semi-lunar Alpage du Rawil, to see what can be seen.

The present narrator ran this route a few times in the 1980s and the Alpage du Rawil is as beautiful as he remembered it. At the far end of the flat (2380m), the path drops vertiginously down to the Lac de Tseuzier (1777m), which is served in summer by the postal bus up from Sion. But the running route continued another seven km or so and ended in Crans-Montana, a 3:08-hour run from Iffigenalp over the Rawilpass to Crans.

The Wildhorn, about eight kilometres away and 800m higher

Time to leave the lovely Rawilpass and start back down the way we've come.

There's the Lake of Our Lunch.

As we accelerate towards dinner, there's the Iffigenalp hotel and, on the right, the Iffigbach getting ready to plummet over the stupendous Iffigfall waterfalls above Lenk.

Joe and Teny anticipating dinner

Joe and Teny still anticipating dinner and trying not to get wet

During the snowstorm in July 1981, this was probably the least welcome part of the pre-dawn descent.

Kristin, nicely tired out from our hike and showered, reads up on the menu for tonight's dinner.

Iffigenalp and Rawilpass, 1981

Iffigenalp and Rawilpass, 2004

Iffigenalp and Rawilpass, 2005

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 13 September 2005, revised 5 October 2008, 29 August 2014.

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