Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Saturday, 28 July 2018

'Summer in the Alps' Day 26 - Leutkircher Hütte (2251 metres) to Ansbacher Hütte (2380 metres) by two different routes

Friday 27 July 2018 - Stage 7 of the Kalkalpen Traverse for Sue, a lower variant for Martin.

Leutkircher was a great hut with a relaxed and friendly guardian despite the stress of being over-full.

After thanking the staff for being so welcoming, and apologising for the continuing madness of Brexit, Sue and I set off on the path to Kaiserjochhaus, reaching a minor col after half an hour or so. Shortly beyond this the lovely looking path became uncomfortably steep for me. So I turned back and Sue continued along the main Kalkalpen Traverse  (aka Adlerweg) route. Her account of a magnificent mountain day should at some point follow.

I returned to the hut, pausing en route for a chat with Christine, a yoga teacher from Constance who started life as a Brummie. She and her friend were having to go down to the valley as all the mountain huts that they could reach today are fully booked.

Path 644 provided an excellent descent towards Pettneu. The only people seen were a guided group moving slowly back down to the valley. I caught them at a snow filled gully that was a little tricky to cross.

The otherwise deserted path descended lazily through orchid and scabious meadows before contouring for a while and finishing the descent on a lovely path cut into the steep woodland - the F.-Kurz-Weg.

At one point a text message informed me that Sue was sitting next to a large white cross high above me. In the photo album of the trip she will appear as a small blur below the cross.

Pettneu was dead to the world. It was hot and humid. I found a path by the river and stopped for a break. It was 30°C in the shade.

By 12.30 I'd reached the deserted village of Schnann. There's a steep and very narrow gorge here. Metal steps are provided. It's a tourist attraction. An elderly couple were struggling down. At the top, near a short tunnel and some hydro furniture, a convenient bench enabled me to dispose of some lunch provisions that had been carried since Lech.

The 600 metre climb to Fritzhütte was steep. Very steep. The schiewasser I bought on arrival disappeared in one gulp.

After a chat with the proprietors, who pointed up to where Sue should have been earlier on the horizon, I set off on a better graded path to tonight's destination. At 3pm a message from Sue informed me of her arrival. She kindly waited for 45 minutes, for me to arrive in time for the order for a litre of teewasser to be placed. Meanwhile, a helicopter rescue was taking place of someone who had come to grief on a variant of the next section of the Adlerweg.

After taking account of my 'there and back' from the hut, as yesterday the easier but longer alternative took virtually the same time as the tougher high level route.

Another sociable evening with good food and two very jolly Dutch couples. Then a chat with Francesca and Sabrina, with whom Sue had finished her day's walk.

Red moon at night, and my Lumix camera should have been able to capture it, but not without a tripod and an encyclopedic knowledge of the 300 page manual!

Today: 18 km, 1500 metres ascent for Martin, a bit less for Sue.
Today's pictures:
Leaving Leutkircher Hütte
The path where I turned back (doesn't quite convey the steepness)
Approaching Pettneu
Common Eyebright
On the final ascent to Ansbacher Hütte 


afootinthehills said...

Martin - since I can’t imagine a path that is ‘uncomfortably steep’ for you of all people, I assume you are being sensibly cautious after your op. Whatever, you are obviously relishing your trip among some glorious scenery.

Phreerunner said...

You'd be surprised Gibson. My awkwardness on steep ground was quickly identified on a ML training course in the 1990s. Rock is generally OK, hence no problems with Munros, but I prefer to avoid steep scree.