Wednesday 14 October 2015

Zermatt September 2015 - Day 4

Shonbielhutte to Zermatt & the AHV Weg

13.93km (am) & 5.88km (pm) / 366m Ascent / 1428m Descent

After a long night, interrupted at frequent intervals by the buffeting storms outside, we woke to find conditions a little calmer, if not much drier. By 7.30am, we were pretty much packed and ready for breakfast - Museli, bread, cheese, jam and coffee drunk from a bowl.

By the time we were ready to set off, the wind had dropped a little although it was still raining pretty hard. However, we had decent gear with us, so we battened down the hatches, said goodbye to our host and fellow “hutters” and headed out into the deluge.

To be honest, with reasonable waterproofs both top and bottom, walking in the rain wasn’t too unpleasant. Down the zigzags, past the moraine, along the path, and we were back at the Arbenbach in a little over an hour.

Our original plan was to take the high level path from here to Trift, and descend beside the Triftbach to Zermatt. As we “um”-ed and “ah”-ed at the junction, the rain seemed to relent, but in the end we decided to keep to the lower path, We knew the route we were taking was narrow in places with some serious drops into the valley, and was therefore incompatible with a windy day.

Striped rocks in the river bed

Keeping to the north side of the valley, we made our way towards Chalbermatten. A re-routed path passed through an area of moriane that was being recolonised by scrubby plants and stunted trees. The original path under the cliffs had been swept away by a rockfall a few years ago and, if we are being honest, the new path probably has more in the way of interest than the old one did.

Path through the moraine

We reached Zmutt in about 3 hours, and having been on our feet all that time decided we needed a break. So we popped into a nice restaurant for drinks and a sit down, but resisted foodie temptations. A window had been propped open to vent the smoke from the open wood fire, and although a chill wind blew in and we didn't really get warm and dry, we were glad of the break.

The last section was an hour or so into Zermatt and back to the flat to get dry and warm again.

Checking the map on the AHV-Weg

As the afternoon wore on, the weather improved, so we popped out again for a short walk around the edge of town - the AHV-Weg. It was a pleasant little circuit taking about an hour-and-a-half at a leisurely pace. We just about kept dry and came home via the shop where we topped up on groceries.

A wise old bird and a wooden sculpture

Dinner was leek and chorizo risotto again, with yoghurt and grapes for afters. We had lots to drinks too to rehydrate, and spent the evening playing Scrabble, writing notes and reading.

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