Thursday, 24 July 2014

Switzerland: Bettmeralp, Riederalp, Riederfurka, Hohflüh

Matterhorn and Weisshorn
Matterhorn and Weisshorn
Today, my last walk and I had a long route planned. With near perfect conditions (it could have been a little cooler!) affording views as far as the iconic Matterhorn and the mighty Weisshorn, I wanted to take in the majority of the beautiful wide ridge that stood between Riederfurka and Bettmerhorn.
The gravel road contours the mountain side, passed the restaurant called Bättmer-Hitta, previously know as "Furri Hutte"

Furri Hutte
Bättmer-Hitta
First part of this walk was simple and had me soon descending towards Bettmersee and the village of Bettmeralp.

Bettmersee
Bettmersee
Bettmeralp
Bettmeralp
Church in Bettmeralp
Church in Bettmeralp
Quickly through the popular Bettmeralp, I was starting the first stage of my ascent, up to find my first peak, Schweiburflue, at 2059m.

Bettmeralp
Bettmeralp
Chair lift
Chairlift near Schweiburflue
The path passed close to Schweiburflue, but not directly over its peak, which was hidden in the trees, and as  looked for a way in, I found myself on a road, descending into Greicheralp, on the fringe of the bigger settlement of Riederalp.

Greicheralp and Riederalp
Greicheralp and Reideralp
Under the chair lift that runs from Golmu up to Hohfluh, the short cut to one of my intended stops, but I was to get to there much later. I continued rising the side of the ridge, through a small farm called Fleschu, where three horses drank from a small lake.

Chair lift to Hohfluh
Chair lift to Hohfluh
Fleschu
Fleschu
Before I knew it, I was high above Riederalp and looking forward to lunch around the corner. The narrow path skirted a wider track that ascended from the village, and I didn't join it until I reached Riederfurka, just below Riederhorn and the Villa Cassel, looking like a prop from The Munsters.

Riederalp below
Reideralp below
Riederhorn and Villa Cassel
Reiderhorn and Villa Cassel
I had intended to tuck into a plate of "Cholera" which is a delicious local savoury dish of potatoes, leeks, ham and apple, baked with cheese and encased in pastry, that I had here a few years ago. However, on this occasion I was disappointed. I had fond memories of this hut so I was dismayed it had gone down the "self service" route and sacrificed the huts charm in favour of efficiency. I had a Nestea, didn't venture inside, and moved on without lunch.

Riederfurka
Reiderfurka
I began my next climb, through the trees, to Hohfluh, not forgetting to look back at the view when my lungs needed to recover.

Villa Cassel from climb to Hohfluh
Villa Cassel from the climb to Hohfluh
On the ridge, the work of the day is pretty much done. It is now a lovely stroll over the peaks of Hohfluh (2227m), Hohflue (2227m), taking in the Grosse Aletschgletscher on your left, and the mountains of the Rhone Valley to your right. Stunning scenery, especially on a day like today, as I have been fortunate to witness many times.

Near Hohfluh
Near Hohfluh
Looking back along the ridge
Looking back along the ridge
Approaching Hohfluh
Approaching Hohfluh
Hohfluh
Hohfluh
More Glacier views
More glacier views
Hikers on the ridge
Hikers on the ridge
IMG_5016
The Great Aletsch Glacier
Eventually you reach Moosfluo at 2299m. Here, you have the option to take the Gondola down to Riederalp, where another cable car will drop you at the train station in the valley at Morel. I was walking back to Fiescheralp, though, so I retraced my steps  a few hundred metres and then took the path down to Blausee.
Blausee
Blausee
This charming lake is popular with families, and has a barbecue section for those wishing to spend the day up here with the kids. At this time of the afternoon, most people had gone now, and you can have it to yourself.

Bettmersee and Bettmeralp below
Bettmersee and Bettmeralp
Soon, Bettmeralp, and Bettmersee appeared below. The path down is good to the lake and this is another place where you could spend a day swimming, enjoying a barbecue, a few drinks in a lakeside bar, or even taking a pedalo out on the water.

After deviating from the main path for a while I was soon on the track I had trodden earlier in the day, passed  Bättmer-Hitta and on into Fiescheralp and the Hotel Alpina, where I finally had my lunch, at 4.45pm!

Approaching Furri Hutte
Approaching Bättmer-Hitta
Home: Hotel Alpina
Hotel Alpina
With one more day of the holiday, I decided this was a fine way to end my walking in Switzerland this time around, and tomorrow I would take the easy ride up to the Eggishorn to admire the glacier one last time and just chill out.

And todays route: