The Dolomites and the Berner Oberland – July 2010

During the first fortnight of July, we led a group comprising eight friends from Canberra on a fortnight of the best walks that we've found in northern Italy and central Switzerland.

Some of the walks offered longer and shorter variants. The short version involved a total rise of 4400m and fall of 3900m, over 80km of walking. For the stalwarts who did the longer versions, the total rise was 6200m and fall 7450m, over 105km of walking. We did a couple of additional trips before and after the fortnight, so Roger's total was +7600m, -8850m and 125km, and Linda's +8350m, -8450m and 140km.

Click on any image to see a larger version

Above Col de Bosc, at the beginning of the first walk. Back, LtoR: Brigitte Brickwood, Tony Brickwood, Ian Govey, Roger Clarke, Peter Lucey. Front, LtoR: Sue Lucey, Helen Govey, Linda Spinaze

At the Alpenrose, Saxeten: Peter Lucey, Helen Govey, Brigitte Brickwood, Linda Spinaze, Ian Govey, Sue Lucey, Tony Brickwood, Roger Clarke

At Stechelberg at the end of the Lauterbrunnetal. LtoR: Brigitte Brickwood, Tony Brickwood, Sue Lucey, Peter Lucey. Linda Spinaze, Roger Clarke, Helen Govey, Ian Govey

These four shots were taken on Nuvelau above Passo Giau:

Tony and Brigitte Brickwood Ian and Helen Govey Sue and Peter Lucey Linda Spinaze and Roger Clarke
L and R on the ridge south of Penia Sweaty L and R just after reaching Bällehöchst

The Dolomites – 3-10 July

The four couples arrived independently at Zürich airport, and assembled at the Belair Hotel, 6km away in Wallisellen, on Friday evening and Saturday morning 2-3 July. Two couples hired a car each ex the airport. From Wallisellen, we drove separately. One car went via the Walensee, the Arlberg Pass, the Timmelsjoch, the Jaufenpass and the Sella Pass to Penia just beyond Canazei. The other went via St Gallen, Neuschwanstein, the Timmelsjoch, Merano, Bolzano and the Costalunga Pass. Based at the Dolomites Inn, at 1500m in Penia, hosted by Bob and Lucia, we did five walks in the north-western corner of the Dolomites.

Maps and Panoramas

Panorama of the main Fassa Valley, West and South of Penia (Walk 1 is top-right, Walk 3 is centre-right, Walk 4 is upper-left) Panorama of the eastern half of the region we walked in (Walk 1 is upper-left, Walk 3 is centre-left, Walk 5 is centre) Map showing the Pordoi-Fedaia walk (Walk 1 on Sun 4 July)
Map showing Penia on the left, the Pordoi-Fedaia walk immediately to the north (Walk 1), plus the drive east via Caprile to Passo Giau (Walk 2) Relief drawing of the Valvacin area immediately south and west of Penia (Walk 3) Map showing the Valvacin ridge-line (Walk 3) and the Passo delle Selle walk (Walk 5)
An aerial Photo that Linda had taken 10 days earlier, with the Sella Group in the centre, the Marmolada glacier field on the left and Civetta above it, the Sassa Luongo (snowless) on the right, and the Val de Fassa down the inside-right channel

Sun 4 July – 1. Passo Pordoi and Fedaia – +300m, -650m, 8.5km – With one couple in jet-lag, we needed an easy day.We drove from Penia to Canazei, and took the cable-car and chairlift up to Col de Bosc. We walked 2.5km and -150m down to Passo Pordoi, and took the cable-car up to the top. We then walked 100m down and back, lunched, and took the cable-car back down to Passo Pordoi. We then walked 6km and +150m back up to the Belvedere, then +/- 50m along the ridge and -400m down to Lago Fedaia. After waiting for the last Sunday bus, we bussed back to Penia and Canazei to fetch the cars.

Looking north to the Pordoi Looking across from the top of Pordoi to Piz Boie Looking down from the gap 100m below Pordoi Looking down the Pordoi cable-car
The Sassa Luongo, west from the Belvedere (200mm) Ditto, with foreground (50mm) Looking SW to the Catenaccio / Rosengarten, with the group looking down to our home at Penia Looking back along the path, above Passo Fedaia

Mon 5 July – 2. Passo Giau and Nuvolua – +/- 575m, 7km – Drove 45km from Penia via Caprile to just below Passo Giau. Walked to the saddle +413m and 2.5km, then +162m and 1km to the peak, lunched and returned. Drove back via the vista restaurant above Caprile.

View back down the path, 3/4 of the way up What was until recently the Cinque Torri, now Tres Going up the rock-shelf up to Nuvolau Tony at the peak, looking down at our path
SW from Nuvolau South from 3/4 of the way back SE from 3/4 of the way back Back up NW, from close to the car-park we started from

Tue 6 July – 3. Valvacin and the Jumela Valley – short walk: +75m, -235m, 4km / long walk: +75m, -1075m, 10.5km – Drove to the cable-car just east of Meida, took the cable-car and chair up to Col de Valvacin. Walked the heady ridge-line +/- 75m and 2.5km to Sela Brunech, incl. lunch and shower. 3 walked down 160m and 1.5km, then took the cable-car back to Penia. 5 walked down 1000m and 8km along the Jumela Valley back to the cars at Meida.

The ridge-line ... ... and a closer view The much-sought-after King of the Mountain, and mountains A view from the ridge-line
Lunch, looking back at the ridge ... ... waiting for the shower to arrive Part-way down the valley back to the cars View to the west from the Jumela Valley

Wed 7 July – 4. Val Duron, Col Rodela – 'short': +1140m, -100m, 14.25km / 'long': +970m, -950m, 18.5km – Drove to the base of the cable-car at Campitello, and the car-park above the village. Walked +435m and 4.5km along the Duron Valley, then +435m and 3km up to Sasso Piatto and lunch. Walked +/- 100m and 6km along the contour below the Sasso Luongo to Sela Rodela. 5 walked +170m and 750m up to Col Rodela and cable-car back down to the car. 3 walked -850m and 5km down to the top of the village. Drove back via gelati in Canazei.

The half-way point, leaving Val Duron Rising up to the contour-path Along the (heady) 'contour'-path Afternoon Tea ...
... and the Afternoon Tea photographer The Sasso Luongo that we were walking beneath You mean it's still up?? Westwards, towards the Sella Pass

Thu 8 July – Driving only, around the Sella Group – Drove over the Sella Pass down to Wolkenstein, had coffee. Drove over the Passo Gardena to Corvara, and over the Passo Campolongo to Arabba. Drove west to Livinallongo, and found the desired restaurant-with-vista for lunch, followed by a walk in the town. Drove back to Penia via Arabba and the Passo Pordoi.

Fri 9 July – 5. Passo delle Selle – +/- 950m, 11km – Drove via Meida to the car-park 1km beyond Malga Crocofisso. Walked +950m and 5.5km via Rifugii Monzoni to Passo de Sella – part of the Austro-Hungarian front-line in 1915-18 – lunched and walked back. Drove to Vigo di Fassa and took the cable-car up to Campedie for a beer. Took the cable-car back, drove via Fasso di Vigo and Alba back to Penia.

The tranquil mid-valley Looking north to the Sas Porcel ridge we'd walked 3 days earlier Rising quickly ... ... and noticing it
Into the upper valley ... ... looking down on the enclosed lake What a wonderful landscape, if you're not fighting a war, in winter ... ... and much the same shot as we took on 11 June 2009

Berner Oberland – 10-16 July 2010

On Sat 10 July, the group embarked on what turned out to be a 12-hour drive first via the Passo Nigra, Bolzano and Meran, then up the Stilfserjoch (but not over it because a women's cycling race had blocked it), the Fuornpass, Fluelepass, Tiefencastel and the Rhein Valley, and finally the Oberalp, Furka and Grimsel Passes, arriving in Saxeten with just enough time left to get a meal at the Alpenrose. We rented three holiday flats in the village of Saxeten, at 1100m, hosted by Martin and Ursula Boss at Margrets Appartement, Fr XXX and Fr Doris Seematter at Hofstatt 122, and Fr Hilda Seematter at Hofstatt 119; and we undertook five walks in the Berner Oberland.


Panorama of the region, with Saxeten and Bällehöchst (Walk 6) lower right, Kleine Scheidegg and Jungfraujoch (Walk 7) centre-top, Trümmelbach (Walk 9) centre-left, and Mürren (Walk 10) centre-left Panorama of Kleine Scheidegg and Jungfraujoch (Walk 7), with the train up from Grindelwald on the lower left, and the Lauberhorn centre-bottom Panorama of Trümmelbach to Stechelberg (Walk 9) in the centre, and Mürren to the Schiltgrat (Walk 10) right-centre
Panorama of the south-western side of the Lauterbrunnen valley. Walk 10 was from Mürren, bottom-right, via Bryndi in the centre, to Pganggen at centre-top Panorama of the north-western side of the Lauterbrunnen valley. Schwalmere in the top-right is at the end of the Saxeten valley, and Walk 6 was up to the unnamed ridge at the centre-right edge of the image

Sun 11 July – 6. Bällehöchst above Saxeten – +/- 400m, 7km / +/- 850m, 13km – Drove from Saxeten to the end of the valley at 1250m and parked. Walked around and above the cliffs. 3 returned via the same track. 5 continued up to the top, ...

The be-waterfalled upper end of the Saxeten valley Looking back down the valley towards Interlaken Rising up the side-wall ... ... about halfway there ...
... walking through this ... ... and returning though it ... ... back to the waterfalls, in sunlight now Looking back up the line of the lower half of the walk

... to appreciate the vista of the central Berner Oberland, seen here in panorama, from West to North-East:

Interlaken, Brienzersee, Schynige Platte, First, Wetterhorn, Shreckhorn, Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau
(The green peaks in the foreground, all 2400m are Männlichen, Tschuggen and Lauberhorn)

I, BS BS, ShP ShP, F F, W, Schr W, Shr, E E, M, J J

Mon 12 July – 7. Kleine Scheidegg – NIL / +/- 400m, 2.5km – Drove to Grindelwald Grund, trained up to Kleine Scheidegg. 6 went up the Jungfraujoch, 2 went up the Lauberhorn (in 52 minutes, or 450m per hr – very satisfying).

Taking the train up to the Jungfraujoch Wengen, Lauterbrunnen and on the right the Bällehöchst, fromthe Lauberhorn The Jungfrau, with the obligatory Alpenrosen foreground The Eiger and Wetterhorn, towering over Kleine Scheidegg

Tue 13 July – 8. Blümlisalphütte – +/- 550m, 12km / +/- 1350m, 16km – Drove to the gondela just above Kandersteg, took it up to Oeschinensee. Walked the upper path to Hochbirgli, +450m, 6km. 5 walked back on the lower path via the lake, -550m, +100m, 6km. The other 3 walked up to Hohtürli and Blümlisalphütte, +840m, 4km, in the prescribed 2-1/4 hrs, and then walked back on the lower path via the lake, -1350m, +100m, 10km, in 2 hrs 35 mins, catching the gondola at 17:45, shortly before it closed.

Panorama with Kandersteg bottom-right, the lift, the lake, the two Birgli, and most of the walk up to the Hütte Regional Map.
The Hohtürli/Bluemlisalphütte is 4, with the walk extending from the top of the lift to the west, above Kandersteg.
(Also, Walk 10 below is from Mürren up towards 7, which marks the Sefinenfurkke. And Walk 6 is just north of the 9 on the map)
An outline of the statistics of the Bluemlisalphütte walk
Oeschinenseeafter climbing the first 250m The prospect of the Bluemlisaslphütte in the far distance Looking across at Oberbirgli, 1/3rd of the way there Looking down on Unterbirgli. from the same location
Oberbirgli at closer quarters The second third of the walk became steeper And gradually became a moonscape And soon we were among the glaciers
The final third became steeper still It included multiple sections on a 1-in-1 gradient ... ... and multiple sections of that were across scree It was a great relief to reach the pass, Hohtuerli
But Blümlisalphütte was another 60m higher up And here's the reverse view from the doorway of the Hütte And a fuller view of the Hohtürli pass and ridge Plus the happy team of Blümlisalp Conquerors
Contemplating the return back down the same track Taking the opportunity to be close to a fast-disappearing glacier There were flowers even in unlikely places And pauses were essential even on the way down
Chances were taken to provide indicators of just how steep it was Even the first third, seen from the opposite direction, no longer looked so simple A last look back up at the glacier, with cows grazing serenely in the foreground And below that the serenity of Oeschinensee again

Wed 14 July – Bern, Grundbach – Drove via Faulenbach to Bern, then via Rueggisberg to Grundbach

Thu 15 July – 9. Trümmelbachfälle to Stechelalp – +/- 50m, 8km – Clouds above 1500m, so visited the falls, then walked the valley floor

The falls have cut deep into the limestone cliffs ... ... and carry the whole volume of the southern sides of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau This shows the scale and the depth of the cut And this shows the setting, upstream from Lauterbrunnen
Upstream, a farmer was scything the slopes too steep to machine-cut The team, lunching at Stechelberg at the end of the Lauterbrunnental A farmhouse on the way back to the cars And the curtain-falls along the way

Fri 16 July – 10. Mürren to Bryndi and Poganggen – +/- 400m, 6km / +/- 550m, 12km – Cable-car via Gimmelwald to Mürren, morning tea there. Walked up the central ridge above Mürren to the lookout at Bryndi. 3 returned via the same track. 5 continued along the ridge-contour to Poganggen, than up and over the ridge, then around the two valleys back down to Mürren.

Mürren, and in the background Kleine Scheidegg and the Eiger ... ... plus Tschuggen, Lauberhorn and the depth of the Lauerbrunnental After rising 200m, the Breithorn came into view The steep face up to the lookout ...
... and looking back down it Your average path The contour-path along the ridge Lunch at Boganggen, beneath the Sefinenfurkke
Walking back along the contour Marvelling at the glacier wall to the west of the Jungfrau Up on the top of the ridge, looking at the adjacent range to the West ... ... and one last time across at the Wetterhorn, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau

Prologue and Epilogue – June-July 2010

During the preceding fortnight, the two of us fitted in a little preparatory walking, in the Pitztal in Austria, and near Bled in Slovenia (while Roger was busy at the eConference), plus a walk on the last day of our holiday, above Stoos in Canton Schwyz in the heart of Switzerland.

This is a page within the Clarke-Spinaze Photo Gallery, home-page here

Contact: Linda or Roger

Created: 20 July 2010, en route from Zürich to Sydney; Last Amended: 10 August 2010