Packed and readyDwight Peck's personal website

Summer 2008 -- Kristin and the Bernese Oberland

Mürren, and a hike to the Rotstockhütte

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.

We wandered in at the Pension Sonnenberg (1835m) in time for an enormous pension-à-go-go dinner, and then arose at a leisurely hour in the morning to convene at the ample breakfast table --

So now we'd better pay our calorie dues with a seven or eight hour hike.

Some years ago, one of us walked up this way on a cross-Switzerland hike, the so-called "Swiss Alpine Pass Route", and passed the Rotstockhütte on the way over the Sefinenfurke (2612m) -- we're grasping this opportunity to revisit the Rotstock Hut and see if all is as we left it.

Off we go, full of hope, excitement, memories of last night's dinner and dreams of tonight's.

That's our home-away-from-home as we establish a plodding rhythm up the hill -- the Pension Sonnenberg, with the flag on it.

There are actually two berghotels in the little Blumental, and we've just passed across the terrasse of the other one, the Suppenalp.

There's Mürren fading away beneath us.

Kleine Scheidegg above Grindelwald on the far grassy ridge, with the north wall of the Eiger and the Eiger glacier, and the Mönch on the upper right.

A last glance at Mürren as we turn the corner into the Schilt valley.

Birg (2677m), the middle station on the cablecar up to the Schilthorn

The Schilthorn (2970m) and its revolving restaurant. (Marlowe's mom Jane shortroped me up there back in 1983, from the far side, then back down by Rotstock hut to Mürren: 3 hours up, 2 and a half down).

We've just marched through the hamlet of Schiltalp (1951m), and we have one more ridge, the Brünli, to get over before our first glimpse of the Rotstockhütte in the Sefinen regions.

As we bustle our way up from Schiltalp, there is the Eiger on the right, and the Wetterhorn in the distance -- we'll be visiting over there next weekend.

Kristin brandishing aloft the local hiking guide on the Brünli ridge (2155m)

Schiltalp below . . .

. . . and Birg above . . .

. . . and Birg Fujizoomed . . .

. . . and finally we're in sight of the Sefinenfurke (2612m).

The Wayback Machine: Sir Charles Berman sprinting towards the Sefinenfurke in July 1999. More here.

But back to the present . . .

We spin around and snap another picture of the Eiger every seven paces.

Kristin traversing the Brünli ridge down (spinning round to gaze at the Eiger), with the Sefinenfurke now hidden behind that big knobby thing in the centre.

Kristin gazing over at the Eiger, with the Rotstock Hut and Boganggen farm below.

Down to the Rotstockhütte we go, today's destination. Will it look as I remember it looked nearly a decade ago?

So far so good -- this all rings a bell.

The Rotstock Hut (2039m), with hikers from all directions slurping homemade soups on the terrasse.

Uh oh. It's very beautiful, of course, but I don't remember it at all. In fact, all I can really recall is . . .

. . . this unphotogenic water trough behind me, where in 1999 we filled our water bottles and girded our loins, such as they were, for the next 600 metres up to the pass and the wired-up stair sort of thing to lower yourself down the far side without mishap.

The Schilthorn's still up there, though. That's reassuring.

Never mind. Playing memory games with yourself is a fascinating hobby, but you have to know when to cut your losses and move on, and not dwell on it too much.

So we're starting down now. According to the hiking guide, very way way down.

Our path begins gently and then plummets about 700m down into the Sefinental, roughly the equivalent of 18 days in the life of your knees. We don't know why this gentleman kept staring at us. My fly was done up. It must have been Kristin he was staring at. I do, too.

"Geronimo" was what they used to yell when leaping out of airplanes, and probably we should, too, though without parachutes.

Rustic ambience

I've skipped all the most painful bits, they weren't pleasant to see -- now we're nearly down at creek level in the Sefinental at about 1400m.

Waterfalls with rainbows along the way

Kristin frequently sets a brisker pace.

A brilliant path along the side of the ravine, and the best weather for a long hike -- we're heading down and up a bit to the village of Gimmelwald (1400m), where we've been promised a cablecar to get us back up to Mürren.

Lovely creek -- the Sefinen Lütschine, and it goes all the way out past Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken, and thence to the Rhine and the North Sea.

Kristin awaiting the stragglers, contemplating something or other as usual

Little glints of sunlight flash off Kristin's baseball cap, because for some reason it's got sequins all over it.

A last look at the mighty Lüschine before we start up to Gimmelwald.

That's me. Dwight. 'D.C.' to some. 'Hey You' to many.

We're entering up into Gimmelwald at long last, and searching about for the cablecar to Mürren.

Mürren, eleven francs the poorer; that's not too bad. As the banner says (if you can read it backwards), this is the day of the big village midsummer fête, with the marching bands, folkloric displays, and who knows? maybe competitions with the crossbow. But we've missed it.

Here's a map painting outside the lift station. You can see, if you squint, the rail line from the right over to Mürren, and the Pension Sonnenberg above it (just above the pink Allmendhubel label). Today's promenade followed the yellow hike path left and upwards, over the next ridge and down to the tiny black dot, then down the ravine on the left to Gimmelwald. Tomorrow's hike will follow the yellow track from Sonnenberg off to the right and down to the rail station on the far right. So now you're properly oriented and can follow along.

Mürren, again -- our walk is over, time to relax. But wait. There's still 200 metres to be got up to the hotel.

We can't face that straight-up path again, so we're slumping through the length of the village to take the more gradual "panoramaweg" instead.

The Coop grocery store in Mürren, with the Eiger

The Eiger and the Mönch. The mountains' names come from a Germanic folk tale about the Ogre (Eiger), Monk (Mönch), and Maiden (Jungfrau) -- the ogre saved the poor maiden from the clutches of the monk, and the church had to sell off the parish hall to pay off the fines.

Mürren as we drag ourselves along the "panoramaweg" just above the village.

The last pitch back into the Blumental and the showers at the Pension Sonnenberg. And dinner.

Kristin and the Bernese Oberland
Sonnenberg hotel, Mürren
Rotstockhütte hike
Grütschalp hike
Rosenlaui berghotel
Grindelfeld hike
First/Grindelwald hike
Rosenlaui Gletscherschlucht

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 4 September 2008, revised 30 May 2013.

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