Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Monday, 20 November 2017

Wednesday 5 July 2006 – A Slow Descent

0502camp2

After a starlit night that I spent in my Nallo 2 tent with the door wide open, our great position saw the sun on us at 6.45, whereas on our pitch in Mayrhofen it's 8.30. By 7.15 the thermometer had rocketed from 9º to 23ºC. It was a lovely clear day and we enjoyed our lofty position whilst breakfasting and packing up in a very leisurely fashion.

0505camp5

A 9.30 start had us ambling slowly along path 536, the Berliner Hohenweg. The path was excellently marked, but extremely rough, with long bouldery sections spliced with narrow vertiginous paths creeping through and around the crags that flank this Hauptkamm range of mountains.

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The difficulties were minor if we took our time, as M and J's town shoes are not really the best equipment.

0512mark

A steep drop led through the final barrier of crags to the farm buildings at Kesselalm, but not before a steep snow slope had to be negotiated. An ice axe, buried deep in my rucksack, but taken as a precaution, came in handy.

0513mark-on-snow

Getting down to the snow was a bit tricky, but once there I renewed the path across the snow and then returned three times for the rucksacks. Then M and J went around the top of the bergschrund on a route I'd already reccied, and slithered down a bit of snow in which I'd made some steps. All good fun!

0514boulders

By the time we got to the other side of the shepherds' hut it was 12.30 - time for a well earned lunch. We'd covered about two miles all morning, in excellent weather. It's slow going, especially for Julie. [But now, after another eleven years of 'adventures with Mark', she would float along such a route in no time at all.]

0516meadow

After 45 minutes we escaped from some annoying flies by descending some 800 metres to reach the bus stop at Tulfer-Alp at 3.30. The bus, when it arrived (late) 40 minutes later was full, and only I got a seat.

On the descent we had seen a herd of goats scrabbling on high rocks and sheltering from the sun under an overhang. The wild flowers were tremendous - numerous different varieties adorned our scenic route that led through open meadows then down through fragrant pine woods. A superb if short overnight trip.

By the time we got back to Mayrhofen the weather was fresher, with quite a lot of cloud, and whilst shopping the heavens opened. So we adjourned to a bar next to Dave and Sue's pension and enjoyed a beer. They arrived within minutes (dry - they'd been on a bus) to join us, after which we dispersed for our separate meals (I had luxury mushroom soup with frankfurters, M and J had spag bol), showers, etc, before returning to rendezvous with D and S for another beer, after which David and I watched the rather dismal end to France 1; Portugal 0 in the World Cup, France being very poor despite winning.

Today we walked about 5 km with 250 metres ascent, taking a little over 5 hours, plus stops. It was very rough going.

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