Dwight Peck's personal website
and the Ammertenpass
unparalleled and unpronounceable home of the wiener-schnitzel-and-a-half
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.
is a high, closed, flat hanging valley overlooking Adelboden,
Switzerland. We came upon it in 1982 whilst on a long walk across Switzerland,
and for the next few years came back from time to time to walk up under the waterfalls
for a big lunch at the Berghotel Engstligenalp near
the top of the skilift. It's a beautiful place, but . . .
. . BUT . . . on 13 August 2005 we can't see very much of it. We've come back
to sample the wiener-schnitzel-and-a-half again, we've settled nicely into the
Berghotel Engstligenalp, and now we're out for a hike around the valley, but where
the other hotel up here, the Berghaus Bärtschi, probably very nice, but not
ours. That seems to be a garage in front, and it would be a powerful experience
to watch somebody try to get an automobile up here. There's no access road, and
the trail under the cable car from Unter dem Birg (1400m) to the top station at
1964m is just wide enough for one cow or one-and-a-half humans, all saying "Grützi
mittenander" with a jovial grin, or mooing plaintively, depending upon their
having a nice preprandial hike anyway, but we seem to have seen this farm more
than once in our journey.
hikers poring over a map to no good purpose.
above, the Tschingellochtighorn (2735m) peeking in and out of clouds. Jane, Deirdre,
and Dwight passed over the right shoulder (2660m) on their Switzerland hike in
1982 (excerpts below).
finally begins to doubt the wisdom and competence of whomever recommended this
place for a holiday destination.
like a farm somewhere out there on the foggy flats of the Engstligenalp, near
the headwaters of the Engstligenbach, or creek, before it leaps over the
Engstligenfäll to wind its way through the valley of Engstligen to
join the Simme near the Lake of Thun, become the Aare wandering all over northwestern
Switzerland, and eventually make its small contribution to the Rhine and North
dinner gong sounds and promptly Kristin swarms aboard the restaurant of our hotel,
with wretched clouds closing us in on every side. The dinner portions seemed somewhat
disappointing and we were beginning to grumble semi-ascerbically, until the waitress
came along to ask if we were ready to have the whole thing again! To which we
agreed at once! And regretted it later!
Peck sitting on that very same terrasse in 1985
now, in August 2005, over after-dinner coffee and still more beer, it's time for
a moment of Christian prayer, to get Jesus or Saint Somebody to take care of all
this fog and drizzly rain.
even before we turn in for the night, there's the Wildstrubel looming over us
and prospects for a good hike the next day. Our prayers have been answered, so
Hats Off!!, Jesus or St. Whoever!
(well, 9 a.m.) on 14 August and the view from the hotelroom window up to the cablecar
station is heartening.
the northeast end of the Wildstrubel across the Engstligenalp, a few small, stray
clouds here and there, but otherwise an idyllic, sunny day for hiking!
to head off across the flat -- we're determined to march vigorously from Engstligenalp
at 1960m up to the right (west) to the Ammertenpass
at 2443m, which lies conveniently nestled between the Ammertenspitz on the one
hand and the Ammertengrat on the other, with, just across the valley, the Ammertenhorn.
back to Engstligenalp as the path crosses a tributary of the Engstligenbach and
starts uphill a bit.
gazing longingly up at the Ammertenpass in the middle of the horizon.
farm shed of Rossfärich (2013m) and then, as quick as you can say "plod"
. . .
. . we're there at the Ammertenpass.
notices a wisp of cloud on the horizon and speculates about the possibility
of rain later in the day.
at the Ammertenpass (2443m), looking over at the southwest end of the Wildstrubel
(3243.5m). That's 0.9 meters (35 inches) higher than the northeast end of the
thing overlooking Engstligenalp (the Grossstrubel, 3242.6m), and between them
lies the Mittl. Gipfel or Middle Summit, which tops out at -- guess! -- 3243.5m.
narrator and Sherman Wilson barged up the Wildstrubel in 1985, but we came at
it from the far side, from the Lac de Tseuzier (1777m) and over the long Glacier
de la Plaine Morte at about 2780m and then a pleasant hour's amble to the summit.
now that we're here, wants to explore the Ammertengrat a little bit. According
to the map, the little rocky summit behind her, between the two glaciers on the
Grossstrubel, is called the Früestücksplatz, which looks real close
to meaning the "breakfast place".
as Kristin cavorts and gambols on the Ammertengrat, that cloud that passed by
a while ago has summoned its friends, with a view to an easy win.
there are a few more clouds passing over the Wildhorn off to the west (the glaciery
one); coming this way, actually. The knobby thing in the middle is probably the
Rothorn or the Mittagshorn, and somewhere just behind that is the Rawilpass,
where we had such a nice walk yesterday.
I'm ready to go back down whenever you are. (Hint hint.)
now, as rainclouds gather, circle, hover, and smirk down at us, we're headed at
a slightly accelerated pace back to Engstligenalp, in the left of the photo.
across the valley. (One admires Deirdre more and more for having schlepped a heavy
camping backpack up there at the age of 14.) [Closer
views of Tschingellochtighorn, 2006]
charms of Engstligenalp lie all before us, in a drizzly rain that holds off a
bit and seems to taunt us.
in a downpour, probably enough rain in an hour to keep the Simme, the Lake of
Thun, the Aare, and eventually the Rhine and the North Sea supplied for months.
all's wet that ends wet!
excerpt from our walk across Switzerland
Friend Jane sets up
the teensy tent, as another storm sweeps in, in the high hanging valley of Engstligenalp
Jane leads up out of Engstligenalp, on Day 7 of the cross-Switzerland hike, over
the Tschingellochtig (2640m), high above Adelboden and Kandersteg.
near the Tschingellochtig pass, friend Jane helps young Deirdre with some equipment
And hiking near Engstligenalp in July 2006
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative,
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 16 September 2005, revised 5 May
2008, 29 August 2014.