Saturday, 12 September 2009

Day 5:Chilling on the Eiger Trail

Day5 “Chilling on the Eiger Trail”

“Chilling” because this well-established walking trail takes you directly under the infamous north face of the Eiger, which casts a giant shadow over the trail, making it cold and sunless.
We set off walking into Lauterbrunnen at 9am and catch a train to Kleine Scheidegg, transferring to the Grindelwald train, and coming off it just one stop later at Alpiglen.
The Eiger trail leaves Alpiglen and comfortably winds its way up the mountainside back towards Eigergletscher hut (Eiger glacier hut). A lovely ascent which takes you underneath and close to the Eiger north wall. Absolutely awesome. On the way over we greeted people passing, and came across and English group. She recognised the accent as a Burnley accent, and I explained that we lived near Bakewell now. She said she came from Sheffield area! When we narrowed it down, it turned out she came from Froggatt, about 5mins walk away from where we used to live, and knew one of our present neighbours, whose husband organises the White Peak Walk which I’d completed in July this year! We concluded it was a small world and weren’t we having amazing weather and continued on our way.
We wound our way up to Eigergletscher hut, pausing to take even more photos of the stunning glacier, which seems almost within touching distance. Then back down to Kleine Scheidegg. At this point I feel I must apologise to Wilkie and Team for seriously letting the side down. We ditched the idea of making cheese butties ths morning in favour of a great lunch at a bar in K.Sch. We were so hungry and the rosti and schwenfilet plus two beers went down without touching the sides!!
After that off up the other “side” of K.Sch. onto the Mannlicher ridge, with more stunning views looking back towards Eiger, Wetterhorn, Schreckhorn, and Finsteraarhorn (being the biggest at 4724m). It’s weird that it’s the biggest of the mountains and yet far less famous, but the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau are known best because they stand close together, I presume.
We met up with an American guy, from Memphis, who was “in love” with the whole area. When we said we were from England, he said he would love to spend some time walking there, and so I recommended Alfred Wainwright’s books, not just for the walking routes or the beautiful pencil drawings, but also for his dry, northern commentary. He said he would google him as soon as he got down the mountain, and that talking with us (well, me, really!) today, had been the best experience of his stay there! Methinks, he doth exaggerate, but kind, enthusiastic words, so typical of the Americans, which are only outnumbered here by large groups of Japanese visitors, some confined, sleeping, to trains, but some do make it out onto the more straightforward treks.
We caught the Mannlicher chair-lift back down the mountain to Wengen and then the train back to Lauterbrunnen. We rarely get back before 6-7pm each day because of the transport required to go on these walks. By the time food has been cooked and washing-up done it’s getting on for 9pm. Busy, full days!
Forecast if for more cloud building over the next few days, just as I hear it’s improving at home! May affect what we do over next few days, but we have had the best weather!

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