Monday, August 1, 2016

Weekend in the Alps Part I: Iffigenalp to Wildstrubelhütte

Eventually, after a lot of rainy weekends, the weather gods were with us - Martin and me embarked on our first alpine tour.  Together with three friends we had planned to cross a glacier and mount the Wildstrubel summit - an initiation to alpine trekking.

Preparation is key in the mountains so I had started packing my backpack in anticipation already a few days prior to the departure. In an attempt to keep things as light as possible, I probably repacked the whole thing about five times, wondering about all the gear that was involved. A climbing harness with carabiner, a pickaxe, crampons, a helmet and a few funny looking things that I am not able to name correctly that were absolutely necessary to have at hand in case of an emergency ;-)
I tried to remember all the essentials Martin explained about the gear and its use, slowly getting a little nervous but also very excited about the adventure ahead.

As I could't really help with the preparation in terms of logistics, the route and gear, I realized there was only one thing I could "skillfully" contribute to - food. So I searched my favorite food blogs for granola bar recipes and finally settled on the following one:

So, on Friday morning, the alarm rang at 5 a.m. and about seven hours on the road we arrived at Iffigenalp close to Lenk in Switzerland. We started the ascent to our first night's refuge "Wildstrubelhütte" under the scorching sun - 1200 m ascent with a 10-12 kg backpack - it was a sweaty affair. But, the views were an excellent reward: lush green hills with grazing cows with their bells ringing, wild flowers along the way, snow-clad peaks in the far distance slowly coming closer, a mountain current, a name it, it was the perfect post card idyll.

Upon arrival at "Wildstrubelhütte" we dumped our backpacks in the dorm where the mattresses were covered in red-and white plaid sheets, another postcard cliché but looked oh-so-welcoming and comfortable. The "Wildstrubelhütte" was renovated in 2005 but has kept its alpine charm with wooden furniture and thoughtful design.

After a dinner of spaghetti bolognese we quickly retreated to the dorm to catch some sleep until another 5 a.m. wake up call would ring in the next day.

Below are a few more pictures from our way up to the "Wildstrubelhütte". I guess we can all agree on the "post card perfect-ness" of the hike :-)
For me, it was the first time to cross snow fields and walk along glacier lakes in the summer in the Alps (the last snowfall only dated back a few weeks). I was stunned by the simple beauty of it all. The stark contrast of the blue skies, the lush green and the snow was mesmerizing. I hope you can catch a glimpse of it....

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