The walk to the top of the SCHILTORN Mountain 10th September 2005.
Saturday 10th September 2005.
Following our wake up call at the HOTEL OBERLAND at 05.45, we all managed to meet for a small breakfast at 06.15.
Looking outside the day was still dark, sunrise was expected at 06.55am.
The previous evening our Hosts, Ursula and Mark had warned us that Saturday should see a bright start to the day, with early afternoon Thunderstorms, with this in mind, and thinking about the height we were about to walk, we decided to pack our wet gear along with spare “WARM” Clothes, including hat and Gloves.
Setting off at 06.45, in the dusk we began the steep climb to MURREN, our 1st destination, (The walk starts from directly outside our Hotel),
As soon as we left the hotel we were straight into the ascent, no warm up on the flat.
Leaving the hotel along the roadway, we eventually started to walk off the main roadway to join a well-defined walking path, taking us up through the forest.
LAUTERBRUNNEN, where we start the walk is known as the valley of waterfalls, there are approx 72 waterfalls along the valley.
After approx 1 hours walking, the sun had come out, giving us a warm start to the climb.
We then started to cross several waterfalls, the last one being the STUBBACH, this is the most well known waterfall in the JUNGERFRAU region, after crossing the Stub Bach, looking over to our left, we got our 1st glimpse of the BIG THREE, the massifs of the EIGER, MONCH and JUNGERFRAU mountains, all in glorious sunshine with some mist clouds floating by, to add to the atmospherics, the view was absolutely fantastic, this was an obvious stop for water etc.
Carrying on, after about 2 hours or so, we reached the MURREN railway, there is then approx half hour walk following the track all the way to MURREN, no gradients just a nice stroll.
At MURREN, we made a stop over for breakfast / coffee etc, at the Hotel Edelweiss, and also to purchase drinks / sandwiches etc (From the Co op) to take with us the rest of the way, we set off from Murren about 10am.
The walk through MURREN is very nice with fantastic views of the Mountains all around.
By this time the temperature had climbed to approx 25’ Centigrade, quite a warm start from Murren.
Once we reach the cable car station in MURREN (This is the cable car we are due to return on), we then started our ascent once again, through open meadows, (once again mountain views all around).
By around 12noon we had reached a mountain hut selling “Milkshakes, Cheese, Cakes etc”, a very welcome stop was made for everybody, this was to be our last stop (Other than drinks etc) till we reached the SCHILTORN.
Whilst resting here, the temperature had risen to around 24’ centigrade steadily during the morning, however before we left, we had reached for our wet gear, It started to rain quite heavily (As predicted by our Hosts),
Within a few minutes the temperature had dropped to around 8’ centigrade, at this height the temp drop could have been much worse.
(Warm clothes / wet gear, hat and gloves etc were a must)
After about half hour of walking through meadow again, albeit in the wet, we then started the ascent that would take us up to a lake at approx 8000ft, this was by far the toughest stretch of the walk, the rain did not let up at all, we then had to contend with quite thick fog all around us, rather spooky when the visibility suddenly drops to next to nothing,
After reaching the lake, you can then normally see your final destination (Weather permitting), Due to low cloud / rain etc this was not possible, until the final hours walking.
The rain by this time had turned to showers, although we still had to contend with thick cloud.
Time now for our final push to the top, the timing from the Lake to the Summit is around 2.5 hours.
The walk now becomes quite a slog, with a couple of quite interesting ridges to cross, however by taking our time everybody managed to cross both ridges successfully, we reached the summit after approx 2 hours from the lake.
We eventually reached the summit around 4.30pm.
The last cable car down from the SCHILTORN leaves at 5.45 pm
After we reach the summit congratulations abounded all around, with the obligatory photos etc.
As the weather was by now quite cold, with visibility next to nothing, we decided to catch the next cable car down to Murren.
All in all everybody thoroughly enjoyed their walk up to the SCHILTORN, it is a CHALLENGE, but a most rewarding one.
With the quick change in Temperature etc, it was vitally important that everybody carried spare WARM Clothes (Quick drying T shirts) etc, Wet Gear (Waterproof over trousers and coat, plus Hat and Gloves, also very important was the HIGH FACTOR Sun Cream.
Although the weather was very indifferent to us on the Saturday. When we all arrived for Breakfast on Sunday Morning, everyone was welcomed by the live Web Cam pictures from the top of the Schiltorn, instead of the reasonable weather we had experienced on Saturday, a full blown blizzard was blowing on Sunday Morning with about 6inches of lying snow on the top of the Mountain, I think this, more than anything I had “Preached” earlier, brought home to everyone how quick the weather can change at 10000ft.
Following all the feedback from everybody who took part, I think this was certainly one of the highlights of everybody’s walking adventures.