Even though we were climbing up very steep terrain, the trail made progress very easy. Many thanks to the excellent engineering and extensive rock-work and buttressing.
We came to a split in the trail perhaps 50 vertical metres below the rim above. The trail left led up to a small chapel perched on the edge. The trail right also led upwards to a building perched on the rim. This was the Capanna Adula CAS - or in english, the Swiss Alpine Club's Adula hut.
We chose to head up to the hut. It was more along the direction of our desired travel, and would also be a great spot for a rest break.
A few more minutes of climbing brought us to the grassy lawn in front of the stone hut. The hut's brightly-painted shutters were closed - it was not yet summer season and the hut was still in "winter" mode. Meaning it was un-manned.
The sun had re-emerged as we set up on a comfy wooden bench and soaked in the great views. The hut was perched on top of the nearly vertical upper walls of the Val Soi, and we had a grand sweep of the valley from here. Far, far below, the interesting stone huts of the little mountain-pasture hamlets of Soi and Jra were scattered about like little children's blocks.
The hut, although in winter mode, was still partially open for hikers and climbers. There was a selection of cold drinks available for [honor-based] purchase, and Brian and I enjoyed some iced tea and coke. The bathrooms also deserved mention - they were of particularly high quality - full flush toilets, sinks with soap, clean, and well-stocked.
The Adula CAS hut was not our final destination. We were headed still higher, aiming for another hut about 350m/1200ft higher up (and closer to our goal). It was only mid-afternoon, and it made more sense to get as best-positioned for tomorrow's climb of the Rheinwaldhorn as we could.
So, we shouldered our packs on one last time, and headed off on the narrow trail south from the hut. We rounded a grassy corner and climbed up beside a narrow little stream draining snowmelt from snowfields above. Very soon we emerged onto the broad grassy floor of a higher valley - the Val di Carassino. This was a long and straight valley that sloped down to the north. We could have chosen to come up this valley instead of the route from Dangio, but it would have been longer and (in my opinion) less interesting.
Heading up to the high alpine
Heading to Adula UTOE hut
With poles now marking the trail (we were above treeline now), we crossed the flats of the valley floor and started our ascent to the higher hut. Although well defined, the trail's footing became rough and uneven. In a few places, we had to cross patches of snow. Surprisingly (given our horrible experience with soft snow two days before), the snow was fairly firm.