So it’s the middle of June and according to the nice people at the railway stations who maintain them, pretty much every ‘high’ path or pass is closed due to heavy snowfall, ~2000m or so on the more exposed sections. Unusual for this time of year according to the locals and a nice family from Aberdeen we met at Bort, probably Karma from those who enjoyed fantastic skiing in late April.
So we bid farewell to the very nice people at Alpenblick, paid our 9 CHF and got the train up to Grindelwald, was reasonably busy but we got seats and didn’t knock anybody out with our bags or stick. Visited the tourist office at Grindelwald’s leisure centre to get confirmation that, yes, the majority of our planned holiday was extremely shut until at least July. Oh well. So we walked up to First, which was a very intense first day, 8.5km of along and 1200m of up, following the cable car run up through the tree line and into the clouds.
The trees were stereotypical Alpine, being pines with meadows (with very many alpine strawberrys in flower) and pasture land just above them with alpine coo-beasties, complete with surprisingly large bells.
We stopped at Bort for a brew (in my case) or possibly the best ‘coffee’ ever (coffee, coffee syrup, coffee beans, coffee liqeur, coffe ice cream and whipped cream). Paul and Han were very happy. then pushed on to the top, stopping at the other gondola station, Schneckfeld, to take onboard a cheese (split between 4..).
The walk itself was a long slow slog for us, testing both our resolve and our rucksacks, most had sore shoulders at the top. I quite liked it, apart from the drizzle, once I got warmed up and your brain off I could keep on pootling up the hill for hours. mentally relaxing, especially as the gadetry kept tabs on our position for us, although we couldn’t have got lost if we’d tried, swiss signposts are very good. We were only half an hour slower than Sign Time getting to the top, which for a 1st day was awesome, my Illidan killing and pie eating preparation worked then!
When we got to the station at First, we were greeted by the two staff “ah, you must be Gittins”. Turns out we’ve got the whole of a 97 bed ski resort restaurant to ourselves, tho only two rooms. Think Bendolla, for those we’ve skiied from Grimentz (and get yourself to the Val d’Annivers if you haven’t).
Dinner was 4 course and very substantial and well presented, half-board for the night was 79 CHF per person! Very recommended, although I suspect it’s a different story at peak busy times.
When told Hotel Wetterhorn was our next port of call, the woman serving us said “another Kev Reynolds” group. She’s not met him, but they get many people from all over the world doing the route.
Some manual entropy generation in the form of travel Yahtzee whilst discussing more options of wtf we’re going to do after Thursday finished off the evening. Early turn in feeling satisfied and comfortable with the 1st real day out, garnished with the clouds finally going away at sunset so we could see the whole valley at last!
Again, no photos yet, you’ll just have to wait. Time for journal writing up was much lower today, luckily Tarquin hasn’t yet objected to my frenzied clicking.