Mountain Walks – 2016

29 May to 5 July 2016
18 walks in 38 days
12km vertical, 185km horizontal

Pyrenees (6), Dolomites (4), Czech Republic (1), Austria (1), Berner Oberland (6)

27-28 August 2016

Rondane, Norway (2)

Click on any image to see a larger version

1. Flumet, 2. Pic du Midi di Ossau, 3. Pic du Midi di Ossau, 4. Soum de la Pene, 5. Cirque Troumouse, 6. Gavarnie

1. Flumet – 200m and 2km – Sun 29 May 2016

Well, it's in Haut Savoie, but it was a nice warm-up, after a few hours' driving after landing in Zürich

2. Pic du Midi di Ossau no. 1 – 800m and 14km – Thu 2 Jun 2016

This was the third visit to a favourite area, after 2011 and 2013.

We'd intended to go up the wall and into the lakes area, but turned across the river too early, and were swung SE instead of SW.

So we did a 3.5km / 450km sweeping rise up a long valley called the Rav d'Astu, a few hundred metres inside the Spanish border.

Setting out, the Pic looming above
Marvelling at Flower Valley
Halfway along the soggy floor
The first Fritillaria ...
... and Linda taking it
Behind us, the Pic still looms
A Fritillaria beside the path
But it's merely the edge
of Linda's Fritillaria Heaven
Looking beyond Heaven,
back down the valley
Rising now, but
still glancing back ...
... and again
Well off the intended track now,
looking back to the lakes
Above the stream
Rising rapidly on
a steep transverse slope
And getting to the upper levels
Lunch close up to the ridge
Returning from a summit foray
confirming there's a steep,
snow-covered 2km cirque
in the wrong place
On the way home
Near the place we (I) went wrong
The bubbling stream

3. Pic du Midi di Ossau no. 2 – 700m and 13km – Fri 3 Jun 2016

Linda and I made good for some of the previous day's error, by going directly up to the lakes, and returning.

Leaving the Valley
of the Flowers
Through the wood
To the meadows
Roger, unwell,
Looking down on The
Valley of the Flowers
Rock, daffs, mountains
Pic du Midi d'Ossau
Lunch at
Lake Roumassot
Back to Walk 1,
right, left, then
right behind the ridge
A Picturesque
water feature
The upper-level
Lac Gentau
The refuge, and
the pass above
Back along
Lac Gentau
At the ledge
with the waterfall
Linda denying a
foreground feature
by walking too quickly
Back down to
the Valley's end

4. Soum de la Péne – 750m and 14km – Mon 6 Jun 2016

This started with a contour walk from our gites Le Chaoutet (North of the pond), via Arcizans-Dessus and Gaillagos. It then went steeply up northwards, then north-west and up to Col de Couret, and finally east along the knife-ridge. The ridge offered brilliant views south into the Pyrenees, and north into the last valley before the foothills.

Then back home eastwards and southwards via a rather nasty path that spoilt an otherwise very good walk.

Looking SW from the contour
between the two villages
Beside the road
After rising 550m steeply,
we start along the ridge ...
... which turns out to need some hands-work
A little put out by visitors, ...
... a vulture departs ...
... and joins the others, circling
On and up, closer to the peak
Finally a view over the beech-forest
on the southern slopes
Pauses for flower-shots
But mainly still climbing
As storms build in the West
Nearing the top, still with flowers ...
... some artistically arranged
The storms held off
Off the eastern end, going home

5. Cirque du Troumouse – 100m and 2km – Tue 7 Jun 2016

We drove as far as the car-park (at 2050m), then wandered further up to the remnant glacial lakes.

The rim is 10km long, and the opening at the northern edge is 2km wide

Summer Visitors
Denizen 1
Denizen 2

6. Gavarnie – 450m and 9km – Wed 7 Jun 2016

We climbed the eastern wall to get the mileage, the exhilaration (400 vertical metres in an hour, because it's an unrelenting 1 in 4), but mainly because it provides access to the diagonal walk beneath the rockwalls and a far better appreciation of the cirque that is the world's prettiest (Roger) and/or grandest (Linda).

Setting out
After the 400m climb
Entering the overhang run
(A metaphor for the whole trip?)
The cirque appears
The cirque from above the hotel
The eastern mountains
The line of falls on the SE
Europe's longest cascade
437m, and striking from near ...
... wide ...
... and far
Drinks on the way back

7. Boce, 8. San Pellegrino, 9. Torre de Pisa, 10. Baita Segantini

This year we picked out the Val di Fiemme, SE of Bolzano and S of Moena, staying in a hotel up the slopes East of Predazzo. That gave us access to the San Martino massif and the Rollo, Valles and San Pellegrino passes in the East, and to the Latemar massif in the NW.

7. Boce – 900m and 14km – Wed 15 Jun 2016

E of Predazzo, with 300m of forest, 300m through mixed forest and alpine meadows to a lake, and 300m of rock – the perfect mix! (Okay, there was a bit too much cloud for perfect photos, but it was still pretty decent). At the recommendation of Hotel Zaluna, we started at 1640m, along path 626 up the Rio Boce to Lago de Boce, then on up the ridge to the junction with path 629 at 2550m. The views are mostly to the South at the range that includes the Cima di Cece at 2700m, but partly to the East and SE at the very striking Pale di San Martino, which includes a number of thrusting peaks either side of 3000m.

The forest segment
Into the meadows,
looking SE to San Martino
San Martino's main
peak, telephoto'd
Malga Boce
(= alpine dairy)
Bridge in the
second forest segment
Transition from meadows
to rocks and trenches
Lago di Boce
Rio Boce, back
down our track
Up the ridge right (E)
of the lake, looking
back to Malga Boce
Around the
2300m mark
1915 trenches in
remarkable repair ...
... with views SW
towards Predazzo
Atop, cold, windy
and threatening
View eastwards
to Russell and
Karen's walk ...
... and detail
Back down through
the trenches
Dull light on
Lago di Boce ...
... but still
Back down the Rio
Still patchy,
still threatening

8. San Pellegrino – 260m and 4km – Thu 16 Jun 2016

A brief warm-down, fitted in between driving up a cloudy Passo Rollo in the morning and catching up with Bob and Lucia in Penia and watching England v. Wales in the afternoon. The 260m up a ski-field access path took 33 minutes - much better than the 300m per hr we've been averaging. It was the first 40% of a walk we did some years ago.

9. Rifugio Torre de Pisa – 925m and 9km – Fri 17 Jun 2016

On the recommendation of Bob and Lucia in Penia, we drove to Pampeago (1750m ), and walked up 200m of forest, 350m of alpine meadows / ski-field and Passo Feudo, and 370m of rock, to a viewing-point high in the Latemar group at 2675m, with 360-degree views. And the cloud cleared for us when we needed it! The first 450m we did in an hour, the remaining 470m in 1h40m, i.e. little better than half the rate. The return involved only 1h40m. It's a very popular walk, with lifts from two valleys up to the 2200m level, and the path was well-made almost throughout. But it was very steep – 925m in 4.5km is an average of 1 in 5 (some 1 in 1, much 1 in 2 to 1 in 4).

The Start-Point
at Pampeago
Preferring forest
to chairlift
Up to meadows ...
... and a ski-field
A first view back
to the start ...
... and again
The path above Fuedo,
at top-centre
And back to the start
The upper path begins
A first glimpse
of the Rifugio
The path and
the crags ...
... and an
alternative view
The beginning of ...
... the serious walk
The wall
An illustration of
the verticality
Another check that
the car's still there
What we came for:
the Torre di Pisa
Immediately to the
left, looking WSW
To the East,
Boe/Pordoi left,
Marmolade right
Marmolade, highest
point of the Dolomites
The rest of Latemar,
to the North ...
... with visitors
With better visibility,
the view back up ...
... and the crags
Predazzo left, our
half-way point right
The path down

10. Baita Segantini – 250m and 5km – Sat 18 Jun 2016

A stroll E of the Passo Rollo and beneath the San Martino group, at 2000-2250m, specifically to check out a flower area recommended in one of Linda's books. It began sunny, but gradually clouded over, and we were entertained by snow-showers around lunch-time.

Driving towards the pass
Boots on a
short distance above it
Southern end of
the San Martino group
Cima della Vezzana
The northern end
Further left,
with the alp
Happy strollers
Summer snow-shower on
funnelled limestone

Czech Republic
11. Deve¹t skal (Nine Rocks) – 150m and 5km – Sat 25 Jun 2016

A pleasant hill-walk with Russell and Karen NW of Brno, complemented by walks in Brno itself, and in the surprising city of Znojmo, near the Austrian border.

Starting out
Through open forest
Very windy at the top
The lunch-spot

12. Tuxertal (Tyrol) – 1100m and 20km – Tue 28 Jun 2016

We walked from our Pension at Madseit (1450m), SW via the AlmBichl (1700m), the Schleier waterfall (2000m), the Weitental, and the Tuxerjochhütte (2300m) to the Frauenwand peak (2540m). It was a far better walk than we anticipated (because we're always suspicious about valleys that have glacier-skiiing at the end of them). The sparkling light helped of course, but the fact is that it's both beautiful and highly varied, as you rise from valley-floor, via alp, into a hidden valley with waterfalls, and up onto the rocky mountain-tops. The 1000m cleft between the Frauenwand peak and the glacier-ridden 3300m ridge to the East adds to the drama.

Soon after the start,
looking back
to Madseit
Farmers were making
much hay ...
... too much hay,
as it turned out
Looking down on the
valley-end, and up to
glaciers, and our
target above Roger's hat
The Schleier
waterfall ...
... and the twisted
strata at its head
The view from the top
back over the alp
The rapids
above the falls
The hidden valley,
the Weitental ...
... and its
brooding peak
Now above the
Flowers with
valley views ...
... and with
mountain views
The German-Austrian
border, with glider
The length of
the Tuxertal
The peak to the north
From the Frauenwand
the cleft is evident
Undeterred, Linda
captures Primulas ...
... and Gentians
And again on the
crumbling peak itself
And another
on the very edge
Yes, that edge
just there
The tarn edge,
looking northwards
on sentry duty
on PR duty
The upper
Weitental again
The upper falls,
the lower Weitental
And at the top,
in afternoon light
Looking back
to them
The slopes above
Afternoon light, cows,
a beer at AlmBichl
Finally, a short,
steep cut back home

Berner Oberland
13. Kleine Scheidegg, 14. Above Mürren, 15. Sefinenfurke, 16. Blümlisalp, 17. Lämmerenhütte, 18. Sunnbüel

6 straight days' walking, SW from Grindelwald to the Gemmi Pass above Leukerbad.
This was the only time we've ever attempted to string such big mountain-walks together.
The walks totalled +5500m and-5000m vertical, and 83km in distance.
(For comparison, the Tasmanian Overland track is +1340m / -1460m, and 65km).

An area map
A contour map
The walk profiles

13. Kleine Scheidegg – +1250m/-1450m and 16km – Thu 30 Jun 2016

We walked from Grindelwald Grund (940m), up to Kleine Scheidegg (2060m) in 3-1/2 hrs, lunch, then around the shoulder of the Lauberhorn (2160m), and down via Wengen and Lauterbrunnen (740m) in 3 hrs. We then caught the cable-car and train to Mürren. We consider this walk to offer the best all-round views available anywhere in the Alps (maybe the world?). The day was less than perfect, but the cloud was sporadic and never closed us in, it often enhanced rather than spoilt the view, and the late-afternoon storm was short.

We've had the pleasure of being at Kleine Scheidegg multiple times, incl. 2010, 2004 and 1999.

Walk 34 up to
Kleine Scheidegg
The start at Grund,
showing expected times
The view of Grindelwald
and the Wetterhorm above
The well-made path
soon afterwards
After coffee
at Brandegg ...
... and above,
the Eiger
Grindelwald and the
Wetterhorn from
Kleine Scheoidegg
After lunch,
K.S. and the Eiger
Walks 40, 43 and 48
down to Lauterbrunnen
A brooding Jungfrau
occasionally looked down
Wengeneralp, beneath
the Jungfrau
Map of the Lauberhorn
Downhill that we were on
First view of Mürren,
with our two-night stay
on the very edge
Wilderswil and Interlaken
down on the plain
View down to Wengen
Männlichen hanging
above us and Wengen ...
... and the path
to the village
No-waste policy
at work in Wengen.
Mist courtesy of
the quick storm
The steep drop
to Lauterbrunnen,
beneath wall and fall
And a better view of
the classic glacial valley

14. Above Mürren – 350m and 8km – Fri 1 Jul 2016

As a loosener, we walked from Mürren (1640m) up to Suppenalp, along to Sonnenberg (1835m) and Maulerhubel (1960m), and back. (We'd been told that the walk up to the Schilthorn (2970m) was closed due to avalanche danger, and that even Birg (2680m) was awkward and inadvisable due to remaining snow). That was fortunate, because the light day was to prove a blessing during the following four, successive hard walks.

We've had the pleasure of being at Mürren before, in 2010.

This map shows all of the day's walk, plus the path taken the following morning:

Alpine Meadows
at 1650m
Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau,
with the deep cleft beneath
Blumenthal, as cirque ...
... and in more
bucolic mode
Early Marsh Orchids
competing for attention
Walking couple
competing for attention
A small figure
in a large landscape
The precipituous view
from our hotel-room balcony
down to Stechelberg

15. Sefinenfurke – +1000m/-1200m/+350m and 13km – Sat 2 Jul 2016

From Mürren (1640m) gently up to Spielboden (1790m), then steeply up a ridge-line to 2050m (40 minutes = 390m per hr), then along contours to the Rotstockhütte in the Boganggen valley (2050m), then up and along, and steeply up the last 150m over the Sefinenfurke (2610m). The last section was very slow because of the deep snow (1 hour!). Then down to the path-junction below Bürgli (1490m), and finally up to Bundalp (1840m) – the last part slowly on account of tired legs. Until we were over the pass, we had interchanging good visibility and frequent heavy cloud. That was then replaced by moderate rain and mist, so we arrived as wet outside as we had earlier been inside. Thank heavens for wet-weather gear.

We've previously walked on the Mürren side of the Sefinenfurke, in 2010, 2004 and 1999.

We've previously walked up the Kiental side of the Sefinenfurke, in 2004.

The pleasant,
Yorkshire Dales
stroll to Spielboden ...
... with the ridge
looming above
Linda approaching
the top ...
... giving her a view
down to Gimmelwald
hanging above the valley
View along the contour
towards Rotstockhütte
with the pass centre-top
Linda getting the low-
down from the locals
Walking the contour
in the Boganggen
After Birnenmost,
the path to the pass
Looking back up to
the Schilthorn
For now, a clear view
up to the pass
From bottom-right, to the
post centre-half-left,
up the muddy scree, then
up the snow to centre-top
Glancing back to the start:
Wetterhorn, Eiger,
Mönch, Jungfrau
They knew amateurs
would be coming
'Swiss Lunch'
at the top
(i.e. chocolate)
The other side,
improved since last time!
"I thought this
was the easy bit"
"Ah, better this way"
Kiental in
deepening cloud
While there's visibility.
back up to the pass ...
... and across to
tomorrow's walk
(The ridge centre-right,
with the pass being the
low point on the horizon)
Thank heavens we
didn't have this
up on the pass ...
Streams fed by
melt and rain

16. Blümlisalp – +1000m/-1200m/+40m and 13.5km – Sun 3 Jul 2016

From Bundalp (1840m), we went up a spur to Hohtürli and the Blümlisalphütte (2840m). It was the most tiring and the most direct approach to any pass that we've tackled (1000m in 3km, i.e. 1 in 3). We then went very steeply down to the path junction above Oeschinensee (1970m), then above the wonderful path above the lake to the top of the gondola (1680m), via the gondola down to Kandersteg (1150m), then 2.5km along to the end of the valley at Eggenschwand (1190m).

We've been up the Oeschinensee side of Blümlisalp before, in 2010.

This map shows most of the second half of the walk:

Morning light at
the Bundalp
A sign of
things to come
A glance back
at Bundalp
Initially, easy enough
But 2.5km like this
changes your mind
And as the snow is
reached, you start
fighting your way up
Cloud-layers you hope
won't consolidate
And, finally,
above all of that
A ground-ladder
over the scree
Time off for
a flower, at 2560m
Looking back at
the group behind us
And looking back at
the Sefinenfurke
Hohtürli (the pass),
and the other side
From the Blümlisalphütte
50m above, views SW
(Thun on the right) ...
... and again ...
... and back NE to the
Schilthorn and Birg ...
... and down our track,
SSW to Kandersteg
Setting off down
the first section ...
... awkwardly, due to
snow conditions + gradient
The glacial lake ...
... the glacial plain ...
... and them what dunnit
20 minutes ago,
those ants were us
The path junction
before Oeschinensee
The lake emerges
The wall towering over it
Further along
the high path
Over Kandersteg towards
tomorrow's walk

17. Lämmerenhütte – +1400m/-100m and 18km – Mon 4 Jul 2016

We ignored the cable-car and walked up from Eggenschwand (1170m), up the Klusschlucht into the hidden Gasteretal, then up the 500m forested wall called Gürnigel, to 40m below Sunnbühl (1920m). We then went along and up to the restaurant above the Gemmi Pass (2340m), then turned right along the glacial valley, and up onto the glacial shelf and the Lämmerenhütte (2500m).

The gorge wall at
the start of the walk
The torrent
In the Gasteretal, ...
... three falls come straight
out of limestone walls
The 500m wall up
out of the valley
And the higher and
steeper wall beside it
Looking back down
into the valley
Higher, seeing
back to Kandersteg
Above Spittelmatte,
looking back to
the top of the wall
At the dairy,
teddying, with goats
Arriving at the lakes,
Gemmipass ahead
Along Taubensee
Spring Gentians
demanding attention
At the restaurant above
Gemmipass, Monte Rosa top-left
Westwards along the
snowed-in glacial plain,
Wildstrübl at the end
Looking back
to Gemmipass
Starting the steep
180m track to the Lämmerenhütte
A Steinbock lording it
over the cliffs above
The Lämmerenhütte
in late afternoon light
Looking back
to Gemmipass

18. Sunnbühl – +100m/-680m and 15km – Tue 5 Jul 2016

We returned from Lämmerenhütte (2500m) back down through the snow, along the glacial shelf, and up to the restaurant above the Gemmi Pass (2340m) , then down, along and finally up to the top of the cable-car at Sunnbüel (1920m), down the cable-car to Eggenschwand (1190m), and along to Kandersteg station on foot (1150m).

We were pleased to do the main part of the walk in 3-1/2 hours (plus a 15-minute coffee at the Schwarenbach Bergrestaurant), as per estimate, at 4kph. The early parts weren't easy, and our legs and bodies really could have done with a day's rest first. We trained back to the car (Kandersteg-Spiez/S-Interlaken Ost/IO-Grindelwald) and were in Grundbach in time for a great dinner with Robert and Jenny Portner.

Back down the wall
The corner of the
Windstrubel glacier
The lake on the northern
side of the glacial plain
In the Sunnbühl cable-car,
looking into the Gasteretal
towards the Lötschenpass

Rondane, Norway – Sat-Sun 27-28 Aug 2016

Lee Bygrave hosted me at his hytte in the Rondane National Park, 350km north of Oslo.

The hytte is at Raphamn (first of the two maps):

The very comfortable hytte
Sub-alpine vegetation
at 930m ...
... mainly
Heath/Erica ...
... but with
rich diversity

Saturday afternoon, we walked 965m up 2015m Veslesmeden (see the second of the maps):

The start of the
6km flat-track walk,
with Veslesmeden
top-left, in cloud
The vegetation and light,
the target centre-right
Lee on the track,
lake and huts in view
Rondvatnet (lake),
Rondvassbu (huts)
Now up 750m,
looking back SSE
over our track
Rondslottet (2178m),
and its cirque
Looking up at
the last 150m
And at the last 20m
From the summit, NW
And Northwards
And SSE to
our start-point
The last sunlight
on the huts

Sunday morning, I did the rather easier 200m up the adjacent Holtjønnpiggen (while Lee, walking much faster, searched for late-season cloudberries):

The peak,
from the hytte
From the peak,
over the hytte,
to NW of Otta
Same angle,
with zoom,
hytte low-right
Looking NNE to
yesterday's mountains

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

Contact: Linda or Roger

Created: 7 June 2016; Last Amended: 5 September 2016