Friday, 27 June to Sunday, 29 June 2008
Report by Heike
Hiking to the Matterhorn
Friday morning, 6.30 a.m., 13 hikers from the UBS Sportclub meet at Zurich HB for the long weekend in the Mattertal. The beautiful train journey takes us through the Lötschberg tunnel via Visp (change trains) to Herbriggen, where we will stay at the Hotel "Bergfreund" for two nights. We check into our rooms, deposit our luggage and off we go, armed with daypacks, hiking poles, hats and sunglasses, as a beautiful sunny day awaits us. At 10.30 a.m. the hotelier takes us to Täschalp with his bus. From here we start the beautiful hike on the high trail with a view of the Matterhorn.
To the right and left on the meadows we see wonderful plants: rust-red alpine roses, the "squeaky blue" spring gentian, which blooms mainly in the alpine region at 500-2500 metres. But also the sulphur anemone blooms so numerously, also the pasque flower, the alpine anemones, forget-me-nots, mountain buttercup, also houseleek, alpine clover, mountain pansies, sky herald.
At 12 noon we stop for lunch at a picnic spot that could not have been more beautiful - view of the magnificent mountains. We continue hiking until we reach "Sunnegga", 2288 m above sea level. Here in the restaurant we quench our thirst before "whizzing" down to Zermatt (1620 m) on the Alpen-Metro-Sunnegga (funicular). Both trains - up and down - are suspended from a single rope. If the rope starts moving, one train goes up and the other down.
It is a kind of lift construction. In Zermatt we stroll through the village for a while. As usual, it is full of Asian tourists: Japanese, Koreans? At 4.50 p.m. we meet at the station, because the "Bergfreundbus" is not allowed to enter the village, Zermatt is car-free. After a nice ride home, we quickly take a shower in the hotel and then meet again at 6.30 pm on the hotel terrace for an aperitif. This is accompanied by a serenade from the hotelier on the alphorn. He has dressed quite "traditionally" for the occasion. He also invites guests to "make music". Walter Cadonau produces quite good sounds. Afterwards we are allowed to sit down in the hall for the fine 4-course meal. Although we all got up early in the morning and have a good three-hour hike in our legs, we don't miss a little stroll through the village after dinner. Unfortunately, the interesting village church is closed. The first day is a success, we all sleep well and look forward to the next hikes, as the weather promises nothing but good again!
Bella Tola Hut
Saturday morning, breakfast from 6.45 am, departure is scheduled for 7.30 am. The hotel bus takes us to Chandolin in the Val d'Anniviers in 1 ½ hours. First our destination is the Bella Tola hut, where we order the speciality of the house for the afternoon: fine blueberry cake with whipped cream. Today we have the queen stage to tackle. A steep high-altitude trail over hill and dale follows, in the truest sense of the word.
But we are distracted by beautiful flower meadows: We see grass carnation, bearded anemone, again and again clusters of gentians, soldanellas, which have probably just been cleared of snow, and again and again we marvel at the pink cushions of the frugal glueweed.
And then, after two hours of climbing, we hear Yvonne M.'s "primal scream".
The "Bella Tola" at 3025 m is reached. In the meantime it has become 1 p.m., we settle down for a picnic with a view of some four-thousand-metre peaks: Aletschhorn, Schwarzhorn, Bishorn.
But Yvonne M. and I can't really enjoy our sandwich, because we are "afraid" of the descent. We managed the ascent quite well, but the descent, with a view of the beautiful but sloping valley, is always tricky. But we have experienced mountain walkers in our group who take good care of the "scaredy cats". For three people in our group, the mountain was not calling. They wanted to take it a bit easier and chose a lake hike further down.
Yvonne M. and Heike, off we go for the descent! But all fearful prejudices are soon eliminated and we tackle the descent into the valley almost like "professionals". Margrit and Irene often say: "You're doing great! That feels good! But we also have a goal in mind: the fine blueberry cake with whipped cream in the Bella Tola hut.
The goal in sight: the Bella Tola Hut!
Hm, how good that feels! This reward for such a "cramp"! Soon everyone is recovered and enjoys the wonderful sunny day with a view of the beautiful mountains of the Valais! Especially because we know that we can take the funicular down to St. Luc.
View from the Bella Tola Hut
At 5 pm we are picked up again by the hotelier with the bus. How comfortable and with a wonderful view of the beautiful nature! We reach the hotel at 6.40 pm and settle down for a fine dinner in the dining room at 7.30 pm. We end the day with a nice drink in front of the hotel and discuss the day's events. It was another great day!
Sunday, 8 am, Mr. Almendinger, our landlord, drives us by bus to Zermatt. Rosi, the landlady of the "Bergfreund", personally saw everyone off at the bus. It was a really warm relationship with the hoteliers. The cook, her son, spoiled us with his arts in the evening. Thank you! Gerhard, our tour leader, needs new hiking shoes, the heel is coming apart. So we also enjoy a bit of village life and the nice sports shops in Zermatt. At 9.20am we have to walk through the unfriendly concrete tunnel of the Sunnegga cable car again to be transported by train to the altitude of 2288m, then continue by train to the Rothorn 3103m.
View from the "Rothorn paradise". This is how high the cable cars took us.
Today we will have a success experience: Our goal is the Oberrothorn 3405 m. Wow! From below we see the serpentines winding around the steep mountain. Can we even put one foot next to the other there? Yvonne M. and I are in doubt again. Elsbeth and Ursula want to take it easier and decide on a tour around the beautiful mountain lake.
You enjoy the dream view: Matterhorn with mountain lake in the foreground:
But the mountain walkers are reconciled, the ascent causes no problem for the time being. Even over the snowfields we have good "trailblazers" in our group. Again and again we are impressed by the cushions of beautiful glueweed.
The ascent is a great experience. The mountain scenery all around widens into an impressive panorama.
Immer präsent das Horu.
Once at the top, there is of course the obligatory summit kiss after Yvonne M. has freed herself from her "primal scream". We "lowland Indians" have set foot at 3405 m!
But how do we get back down? "It's hell on the Oberrothorn," says Yvonne M. But the magnificent view compensates us for the cramp of the ascent. We see many 4000-metre peaks: Monte Rosa with Dufourspitze, Allalin, Alphubel, Castor, Polux, Dent Blanche, to name but a few. The view down to the Findel glacier is impressive, and of course the Matterhorn again and again. The mountain of all mountains is everywhere. No other peak stands as prominently as the 4478 m high bold pyramid - at least in the Alps. No other peak attracts tourists as strongly. We enjoy our picnic in quite warm temperatures, and at this altitude! On the descent, we rather timid mountain walkers are well looked after. I am in the care of Walter (in front of me) and Margrit Cadonau behind me. Yvonne M. lets Kurt lead her safely down the mountain. At the end, Yvonne M. is even the first to reach the finish.
The final sprint offers another terrible chicane with the darned last climb to the top station of the Rothorn cable car. Yvonne M., were you doped up that you managed the last "hill" so light-footedly? Further down, at the "Sunnegga", a cool white wine tastes delicious. Afterwards the train takes us back to Zermatt, where we still have time for a stroll and a stop for a bite to eat. There is a holiday atmosphere at all times of the day.
What wonderful days, everything was just right. Even Peter spoiled us with sunshine! At 4.39 p.m. we board the train in Zermatt, which takes us to Zurich via Visp at around 8 p.m. We are back on the train again.
Thank you, dear Gerhard, that we were able to experience such a beautiful, sunny weekend in the Mattertal. Keep up the good work!