Friday, 11 September 2009
Friday 11 September 2009 - Rote Chumme
Low cloud, as predicted, started to clear, as predicted. So we headed off to the Sunnbüel cablecar for some high level fun.
After an hour's crocodile walk past big pylons and bell-ringing cows the Schwarenbach restaurant beckoned. We enjoyed coffees in the sunshine whilst a school party armed with small laminated maps devoured countless flagons of soup, and aged Americans devoured the beauty of the place (...what pylons?...)
Actually, the views are magnificent despite the pylons - I'll add an image or two when we get back. (Here's one - there will be more for those interested in a slide show in due course - see index - here you can just about see the huge pylons marching across the landscape at the top of the vegetation on the left.)
There's a shortcut from the restaurant to the Rote Chumme path. This well graded route led us through columbine meadows under limestone cliffs to a grassy lunch spot where it joins the main Rote Chumme path before its steep final 200 metre ascent to 2600 metres.
Up at this high point for the day the mist swirled, but we were granted excellent views, as in today's postcard.
We lingered together with circling choughs before descending in an area previously occupied by a glacier, past a glacial lake - Tälliseeli - then dropping steeply to the Inner Üschene valley.
Dense clumps of the pretty yellow flowers of Yellow Mountain Saxifrage had taken root in the glacial area, and families of marmots and chamois kept close tabs on us as we made our way through the wide area of glacial debris.
We lost the view at around 2300 metres, and after 2.30 pm we saw no other walkers (a few had been descending Rote Chumme earlier). Mist and low cloud dominated the rest of the day, with the temperature dropping as low as 11C.
We were grateful for the well marked paths, the lack of rain and, later, the well stocked shops of Kandersteg.
But dinner was eaten without our usual view of the mesmerising waterfall, and even the nearby Öeschinensee cablecar stanchions disappeared into the gloom as we tucked into some of the Marmotte Tea Room's Magic Cakes.