Once we were all safely onto the path above we were able to carry on with the hike upwards! We paused again under the cable cars and waved at all the tourists as well as being slightly envious. But we decided that hiking up was more rewarding - well, we kept telling ourselves that!
We also noticed that the cloud was beginning to rise beneath us and realised we would soon be in fog so we hurried on up the remainder of the ascent! We thankfully arrived at the top just as the cloud did so we hurriedly took shelter in the cable car station!
Venturing on, the final climb to Jochpass brought even more switchbacks and worsening weather. We could feel the wind picking up as we climbed the last section and added layers for when we reached the top.
Once at the top we were greeting by icy wind and sleet! ❄️Luckily for us, a genius person had the idea to build a cafe in exactly the right place! 🙏 we hurried inside to warm up with hot chocolate and buns.
Hiking Day Three pt 1
Putting away tents the following morning wasn't the most enjoyable experience but it didn't take too long and we were soon on our way to climb Jochpass! Some very steeps slopes later (and at a much greater height than when we first started) we paused to take in the view (and catch out breath). It still amazes me how far you can climb in such a short period of time without realising it!
We were then greeted by a dead end where the path had collapsed! It wasn't the best sight to be greeted with. Especially when I looked and saw how we'd be getting ourselves onto the path above us! We had to climb/scramble up a practically vertical mud hill! The walking poles came in handy (as did the hands of the mountain goat lad we had with us).
We eventually decided to brave the cold and sleet and, as we started to descend, the sleet eased off into drizzle/rain as the air warmed up.
The rain was quite handy at this point as it had diluted the cow poo that covered the path! It was still disgusting but you couldn't avoid walking through the slush it had created. Believe me, the squelching noises weren't pleasant!
After a three course meal (including a mushroom soup where on of the lads was adamant it wasn't mushroom) and a few jugs of water later (which cost about 20CHF a jug) we were all content and huddled under duvets and numerous blankets to keep warm in the heating-less hostel.
Snorers in the opposite room 👌
14 August 2014
The next day we set off on our descent into Engelberg. After taking a slight detour due to falling rocks on the original path, we were able to learn 'River Crossings' which we did in two small groups. We also got the group shelter out as right of us got in. Bearing in mind it could fit the whole group if need be, it was already getting warmer and rather cosy with just the eight! It would definitely keep you warm up a mountain anyway.
After some more gradual descents into Engelberg including crossing a bridge over a river (where a group photo was taken as we held up anyone who wanted to cross too), we witnessed a shocking sight. A dead cow was being dropped into a field by a helicopter! It looked so random and, being from the city, it wasn't something I expected to see! But it had obviously died on the mountain somewhere and was being brought back to it's owners!
By midday we were at the campsite with tents erected and running into the hot showers 🚿 (3 minutes was too short)
That afternoon, after dinner, we ventured into the centre of Engelberg on the bus. It was a small village but very quaint!
The afternoon was spent looking around the shops; gasping at the prices and trying not to think in sterling! Then into a few beers (mainly the lads) and some ice cream at a local restaurant!
We returned back to the campsite as a group and proceeded to build the BBQ and sort out any washing (perks of campsites). The BBQ was delicious, but of course it started to rain heavily fifteen minutes into it! Being British, the rain is the norm for BBQs so we were used to it. It didn't stop us running for cover as quickly as possible though!
13 August 2014
By this point of the route we were walking through mud, scree and, most unfortunately, cow pat! 💩 it wasn't ideal but we were too tired to notice as the day wore on.
After getting past the cows that had blocked the paths we reached the top; and the wind! We had a quick look around as we caught our breath (not that we could see much apart from cloud), had a quick drink and added layers before making our way rather hastily down the hill to Blackenalp.
The hostel at Blackenalp seemed to appear out of nowhere as it was hidden by the hill fog. We were greeted with bowls of hot chocolate (which went down a treat) and a warm fire which we gladly sat around. The food that evening was fantastic; Alpine Macaroni is a definite must for anyone who finds themselves here!! It was the tastiest meal ever and they give you plenty of it to share around.
Hiking Day One pt 1
The first day was hard work yet rewarding! We set off in the direction of Busti and, after what felt like a sprint start up the first section of a vertical hill, we slowed the pace down! Preferring to be able to survive the first day. As you reach the top of the hill you could see how far we had already walked and, although it was slightly drizzly, you could see enough of a height we had already gained.
We left the road and joined a path to walk the rest of the way. We finally stopped in Waldenacht for dinner where a local cow provided us with some entertainment with its attempts to lick everyone and everything🐄.
We then set off on our final ascent of the day up to Surenpass. In all honesty, it was quite brutal in places! At least the amount of climbing kept is warm in the colder drizzle that was still falling. It stayed cloudy for the ascent but, when it did break up a little, cameras were whipped out in a race against the clouds coming back in ☁️☔️
12 August 2014
A walking expedition through the Swiss Alps back in August proved to be both humorous and arduous! 🗻
We set off bright and early on Monday 11th August (0645) after double checking for passports! Once we picked up the two remaining people en route, we journeyed down to the Channel Tunnel (stopping once or twice for a toilet break) where we boarded the train to take us straight to France 🇫🇷
Fifteen hours later we finally arrived at our first destination and "hotel" for the evening. A quick change of clothes and we were back out in Belfort hunting down somewhere to have tea. After circling Belfort once or twice we unanimously decided to settle on the All-You-Can-Eat Chinese across the road from the hotel! 🍴
Once we arrived in Attinghausen the next afternoon (after another 6 hour drive) we were delighted to find it had a swimming pool although it was a bit too cold to use! Here we spent the evening talking about the following day and making our final preparations. The first two leaders were chosen and they settled down to mark out the route we would be taking.
That evening we went to eat at 'Pouletberg' which is famous for it's chicken and chips 🍗. When asked if there was anything else on the menu the waitress replied, "you don't want that!" So thirteen chickens it was!
That night we found the snorers of the group 😴