We arrived at the height of land at Vorderalp almost an hour after we set out. Not bad at all - 500m/1600ft in just one hour. Goes to show you how much easier it is to walk on grass than on sloppy snow!
The buildings at Vorderalp look kind of like they serve a farm function, but then again they also look like they might serve the recreational crowd, too - mountain bikers, hikers, and skiiers. One thing that was quite welcome was the nice drinking fountain right in the center of the courtyard. Delicious cold mountain water to quench our thirst!
Mountain station at Vorderalp
We noticed that from up here, we could see our previous days' nemesis, Oberalpstock - it's distinctive notched summit making it easy to spot. With my 70-200mm telephoto lens combined with my 1.4x teleconverter, along with a judicious bit of cropping, I was able to get a zoomed-in enough view of the summit to actually see our tracks from yesterday! cool!
Jenn had imposed an arbitrary deadline of a return to the flat by 7pm. It was 5:45pm at this point, making a 7pm return time at the flat a bit dicey. We'd give it a try, though.
The descent portion of our dayhike was pretty simple - follow the switchbacking gravel service road of the Vorderalp buildings. This service road would bring us right back across our ascent trail just a few hundred metres from the car, allowing us to complete a circuit hike.
Along the way, Brian used our newfound data-connectedness to attempt to debug a computer-monitor problem his wife was having back in Ottawa.
The way down was an easy mindless stroll - except for the short bit where we chose to bushwhack down through the forest to cut off one of the road's large switchbacks. We arrived back at the car at 6:45pm, two hours and fifteen minutes after starting off.
Interactive trackmap with photo points - Vorderalp hike - click map to view
Vorderalp Day Hike - Hike Data
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain:
Total Elevation Loss:
* : +/- 75 feet
Another thirty minutes of enjoyable twisty road driving brought us back to the flat, where Jenn and Brian prepared a very enjoyable curried chicken dinner.
Our day of relatively low activity and relaxation had left us feeling nicely refreshed and recovered. We were all feeling ready to tackle another more challenging adventure, so we again broke out my pre-trip research and looked for something appropriate. Now that we knew much more concretely what the situation was with the area's snow conditions, we decided against anything that involved trying to attempt to summit a high peak in a single day, since that would likely mean pushing us to climb too much snow in one go. That meant finding another 2-day outing with an overnight stay at a hut. We also wanted to keep the summit terrain as non-technical as possible, in order to avoid subjecting ourselves to potentially unstable snow.
There was only one climb in my list that satisfied these two criteria - a climb of a peak known as the Rheinwaldhorn, via its north-western aspect.
We agreed on a 6 a.m. wakeup time, pre-packed our gear, and headed off to bed.