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Hut to hut Swiss hiking honeymoon in summer 2020

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jmath
jmath
2 posts
new member
Aug 21, 2019 - 4:54 PM

Hello! My fiance and I are planning to do a honeymoon hike next July, August or September. We still have a lot of planning to do, but I figured I'd get a head start with your expertise!

Looking for a hut-to-hut trek (does not have to be a loop) approximately 7-10 days. About 10 miles per day (give or take). Huts do not have to be fancy, but would like them to offer food so we can travel light.

The route is where I need your input. I've done some research but am still a little confused about which region would be best.

Below are possible routes I've researched. I would love to hear your experiences!

-Chamonix to Zermatt - looks like we would need more time for this. But if it's worth it maybe we can make it work!

-Schynige Platte to Wilderswil

-Eiger to Zermott

-Bernese Oberland - looking for other recommendations

Thanks in advance. I'm an avid hiker on the East Coast but haven't travelled overseas for hiking so appreciate any help!

Snowman
Snowman
770 posts
top member
Aug 21, 2019 - 9:42 PM in reply to jmath

Hi jmath, and welcome to MySwissAlps!

Congratulations for your coming honeymoon, and your idea to come to the Alps for that!

I have some experience of hiking on the US East Coast (Shenandoah National Park), but I live in Switzerland. Well, things are a bit different here.

"Huts" have that name from the German "Hütte". In French and Italian, they are called "Refuge". No word, really, exactly describe what it is: a place where climbers and hikers can spend the night safely. Most huts, but not all, have a warden who will tell you where you sleep and will, with his team, prepare the meals. The standard comfort is collective dormitories (approx. 12 sleepers), with mattrasses, pillows and blankets or quilts. You are expected to bring your own silk sleeping bag (for hygiene, not for warmth). Some huts also have four-bed rooms, to get such a one it would be better if you did the trip in September. Otherwise expect snoring etc.

In huts with a warden you can get dinner (usually you cannot choose from a menu) and breakfast. Some, but not all, can prepare sandwiches for you; most would sell cereal bars and chocolate bars, and all provide tea for your bottle if you want. Nowadays most huts have flush toilets, also called WC, but not called bathrooms. You can wash your face and teeth, usually with cold water. In some modern huts, you can take a shower (pay extra for that). It is highly recommended to book in advance. Read carefully their general conditions especially the cancellation rules.

So it's not quite your Shenandoah Lodge, but that will surely be a honeymoon to remember.

Chamonix-Zermatt: probably doable in 10 days. If you take the glacier itinerary you should join a group or hire a guide. If you take the lower route (Alpine Passes Trail, no 6 on this map) you don't need a guide, trails are well blazed. Snow should be expected even in the Summer on higher passes. You need the appropriate equipment, and should train walking 6 hours with a backpack weighing 8 kg or more.

Schynige Platte - Wilderswil: If the above description of huts scares you off, and if you can't do any training, this is for you, It can be done in one day so no hut is required. Snowfall very unlikely. You still need equipment such as mountain boots and a rain jacket no matter what the weather forecast says

Eiger to Zermott: I am not aware of any place called Zermott in Switzerland. If you mean Zermatt, well, it is in quite a different area than Eiger. Eiger, for one, is a peak only to be reached by experienced climbers. You could, in theory, consider trails nos 1, 40 and 6 on this map.

Other suggestion: I hiked last week from the Italian speaking part (Ticino) to the Romansh speaking part (Grisons) in 5 days, on the following route: Airolo - Cadagno Hut (modern hut with showers and 4-bed rooms) - Dötra Hut (small hut, but shower available, 4-bed rooms) - Campo (Blenio) (local guesthouse) - Terri Hut (large dorms, provides sandwiches, no shower) - Vrin (lovely local inn). Trail no 6 on this map.

Sure you don't want to go to the Virgin Islands, or Niagara Falls?

Good luck!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7545 posts
expert
Aug 22, 2019 - 12:01 AM in reply to jmath

Hi Jmath-

You are lucky to get a response from Snowman. Of the Forum members, he may have the best perspective on hiking everywhere in Switzerland, although others also extensive knowlwedge of thAlpine areas.

Keep in mind the the altitudes put the USA East Coast to shame. And, they may add a bit of oxygen deprivation until you have been at altitude for a while. There are a lot of nice hikes at 2000 to 2600 meters. (You might as well learn to think in meters).

It is hard to find those heights in eastern USA. Mount Washington is only 1916 meters.

For your amusement:

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=swisstopo&lang=e n&bgLayer=ch.swisstopo .pixelkarte-farbe&catalogNodes=139 2,1538,1396,1430,1436& layers=ch.swisstopo.sw isstlm3d-wanderwege&E=2633525.2 4&N=1165357.64&zoom=5

Plus

www.schweizmobil.ch/en /hiking-in-switzerland/more-wl/hiking-trail-network-and-signalization.html

And, Switzerkland Mobility:

www.schweizmobil.ch/en /wanderland/wanderland .html

There is a way to get that map to show all the huts, but I can't remember how at the moment. Someone will rescue me, I'm sure.

Slowpoke

Snowman
Snowman
770 posts
top member
Aug 22, 2019 - 8:29 AM

jmath is lucky to have a response from Slowpoke who knows everything about the various Swiss maps available online and in paper. He is also more aware than I am of the typical problems and surprizes faced by foreign visitors.

< There is a way to get that map to show all the huts >

Yes there is : In the menu, check the "Accommodation" box, then "Mountain Hut". I also check the "Rail/Bus/Boat" box, and uncheck all others, unless I need additional information, to avoid clutter. The card is zoomable. Mountain Huts are shown by a yellow square with a black triangle in it. If you click on that icon, you usually get additional information, though not always in English.

Last modified on Aug 22, 2019 - 8:29 AM by Snowman
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7545 posts
expert
Aug 22, 2019 - 8:39 AM in reply to Snowman

Thanks Snowman

I note that I had to select "Filter" once I got to "Accommodation."

Coorrection...I was doing it the hard way. You're correct. Select accommodation in the main menu on this page:

map.schweizmobil.ch/?lang=en&land=wanderlan d&route=all&bgLayer=pk &logo=yes&season=summe r&resolution=500&E=263 1750&N=1189000

I had to select the map first.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 22, 2019 - 12:12 PM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7545 posts
expert
Aug 22, 2019 - 9:06 AM in reply to jmath

Hi Jmath-

Just checked for east coast mountains.

Mount Mitchell at 2037 meters is the highest East Coast mmountain.

This nice trail ...an easy one, but spectacular....is above that altitude all the way:

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/maennlichen-kleinescheidegg

This popular one gets to 2600 meters:

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/first-schynigeplatte

And:

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/piznair-bever

Slowpoke

jmath
jmath
2 posts
new member
Aug 22, 2019 - 1:04 PM in reply to Snowman

Snowman - thank you thank you thank you! I appreciate your expertise! A few clarifying items:

Schynigge Platte - Wilderswil: The route I was looking at was more of a loop --I took it from here: theoutbound.com/switze rland/backpacking/trek -in-the-swiss-alps

Eiger to Zermatt: Yes, I meant Zermatt (palm to face). I was looking at the following route: www.alpenwild.com/trip /eiger-to-the-matterhorn/overview/ so I don't think we'd be attempting the peak of the mountain :)

Any thoughts on these now that I've clarified?

I will definitely check out your other suggestion, and thank you for the map links.

The huts sound great to me! Yes, not your typical honeymoon, but we will probably spend a night or 2 in a nice hotel before we get going.

Slowpoke: Thank you as well for the links! We are in Virginia, where the tallest mountain is only 5000 ft (1500 meters), but we tackled some of Yosemite this summer, spending several days at 10,000 ft (around 3,000 meters ). I took a day to get acclimated and took our time, and didn't have any issues.

On the routes I've noted above, what is the average altitude? Do you think we'd have issues with proper training and a day or 2 to get acclimated?

I know I could hire a company to create a self-guided tour (or even carry my luggage for me!), but I believe it will be cheaper if I can figure it out myself (with y'alls help!). Hopefully it will be worth the headache of planning!

Snowman
Snowman
770 posts
top member
Aug 22, 2019 - 2:18 PM in reply to jmath

jmath,

Thanks for the interesting links. I don't know these companies, and have nevertheless following remarks:

- The Outbound - I can't figure out the loop hike Schynige Platte to Wilderswil. Some links don't work (at least from here). I can't assess that company, my general view is that a company that sells tours worldwide might not know the local details.

- Alpenwild - OK, I could figure out their itinerary, in particular they cross the Rhone Valley from Leukerbad to Randa by train, and arrange starred accommodations that will provide better comfort and privacy than huts. The accommodation for Day 2 is not described.

I am not sure this forum will give you hints on American tour companies.

The Swiss railways can transport luggage for you, if you have a ticket.

To cope with the jet lag 2 days are surely better than one. Like staying in the Zurich area the first day, and approach the hike start on the second day, but you guys are young.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7545 posts
expert
Aug 22, 2019 - 3:09 PM in reply to jmath

Hi jmath -

<<"On the routes I've noted above, what is the average altitude?

<<"Do you

think we'd have issues with proper training and a day or 2 to get

acclimated?">> Not from what you have said in this thread. See Snowman's comments.

Personally, I avoid decision making for the first two days after arrival from the USA ( Arrival plus 1). If I am to drive a simple, familiar route, I might do it on the day after arrival, but try to avoid it.

Third day is usually OK for me, although I get hungry or sleepy at odd moments then and for perhaps a couple of more days.

An average altitude is meaningless if you include Schynige Platte and Wilderswil. Look at the topo map that I linked. That will show hiking trails and you can see how the run.

And, the altitude for the Schynige Platte to First via Faulhorn is given in the link I posted.

Eiger and Matterhorn? You won't be on either summit.

Slowpoke

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