VIA ALPINA, Grütschalp to Rotstockhütte

A steep uphill on the way to Rotstockhütte

Via Alpina, Section 12 – Part 1

Grütschalp (1520m) -> Mürren (1638m) -> Bryndli (2133m)  to Rotstockhütte (2019m), 10 km, 600m up

Back to the Via Alpina Route!

Last October I finished roughly half of the route (the Via Alpina is a trail of a total of 370km) and have long wanted to come back and pick up from where I left.
The image of shining Eiger, Mönch and Jüngfrau have been lingering in my head since then and was excited to come back to this magnificent region.

Today I have a new hiking companion for next three days, Caroline, who is in the same calligraphy class and as well an Ikebana teacher.

Arriving from Zurich by train, we wandered around the small, but pretty village of Lauterbrunnen, teeming with Asian, American, European and Middle-Eastern tourists.  The narrow valley was sandwiched with imposing mountains and it already gave me an Alpin feeling!

We saw an impressive, tall waterfall from the train station so we decided to go and see it – the 300m-high Staubach Falls.

We hiked up to see the waterfall,  walked through the tunnel and kind of watched it from behind. But we got out of it completely wet and had a good laugh looking at each other.

Then we took a cable car from Lauterbrunnen (802m) to Grütschalp (1520m)  to gain 700m in altitude,  to start for a relatively easy hike for the first day.

The trail from Grütchalp to Mürren (4.3km) is easy-going and scenic with fantastic views of Mönch and Jungfrau mountains (unfortunately Eiger was hidden behind the clouds).  On the way we stopped for a nice lunch break at the restaurant terrace with a great view for the Bernese Oberland mountains.
The sun was shining and, surrounded by awesome mountains, I was all smiles having lunch with a good friend!

After going through busy Mürren lined with restaurants and hotels and a short walk on the asphalt road, a real hiking path started, leading into the verdant forest.
The Lauterbrunnen valley was opening up under us and after passing a charming and lonesome farm, all of a sudden it became a very steep ascent leading around the rocky mountain of Bryndli. The valley was 1000m below us, I tried hard not to look down and just concentrate on my steps…

After this challenging climb, to our relief, the trail became even and relatively easy.  As we went slow during the first half, the afternoon had almost gone while the hut still seemed rather far away!  At this altitude the air cools down quite a bit in the evening, so we rushed into the hut as we finally got there.

Caroline and I were happy to arrive at the hut at around 5:30 pm. Finally what we thought to become an easy-going walk, turned into a rather serious hike.

At dinner we shared our table with three friendly Americans from New York and Washington. One studied Zen and Japanese so we had an interesting talk over a typical Swiss dish of Alper Macaroni with apple mousse…

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