It’s Ascension day weekend and Barbara and I are on our way to spend a night in Fridolinshütte (2111m). Located at the foot of the iconic Tödi, Fridolinshütte is one of the first SAC huts to have reopened (albeit with all kinds of rules to ensure the necessary ‘social distancing’ between hut occupants).
We’re looking forward to being amongst giant peaks, and at higher altitude than we’ve been for a while (we avoided trips to higher areas during the covid-19 lockdown, in case something went awry, figuring that self-rescue is easier from lower altitudes).
Barbara’s phone lights up – it’s the shuttle service that we booked to get us to the trailhead at Hintersand (1300m). He’s had a breakdown and won’t be able to shuttle us from Linthal… he’ll ask the other taxi service to pick us up… except the other taxi service does not have a permit to travel to Hintersand, he can only travel as far as Tierfehd… Which gets us two hours (walking time) closer, but still two hours further than where we wanted to be! And a whopping 500+ vertical metres lower!! Or to put it another way, instead of 850 something vertical metres, we now have nearly 1400 vertical metres to ascend. When we phone Lise, the hut warden, to tell her we’ll be arriving later than expected, she is quite relaxed about it, saying she’ll see us when she sees us.
By the time we reach Hintersand two hours later, we take a short break to drink water and eat a handful of gummi bears.
Then we set off again. 500 metres done, another 850+ to go. The scenery changes from forest, to grassland, and then we start entering the alpine region. The towering cliffs above are getting closer and becoming more spectacular as we gain height. Zigzag follows zigzag. We cross a steep snowfield, carefully, in case the snow is unstable. Then we’re back onto the next set of zigzags. To our right is Tödi, covered in snow, the front of its remaining glacier clearly visible between the major buttresses flanking its summit. Finally, as we turn yet another corner, the hut appears about a 100 metres above us. Barbara’s face lights up with the biggest smile she’s had all day! I’m just as happy!
Fifteen minutes later we’re washing our hands and faces at the outside washrooms and then we make our way into the hut.
Lise comes out to greet us and show us to our room, which we’re sharing with a family. Then it’s off to dinner. We’re sharing a table with another couple. They’re halfway through their dinner by the time we take our seats. Our ‘main course’ – the vegetarian option – consists of polenta and carrots…
Neither of us are too worried about this, as we’re more interested in getting our teeth brushed and into bed. I’m asleep nearly before my head hits the pillow, waking once to visit the outhouse, and then not again until it’s time to get up for breakfast.
After breakfast we set off. This time at a far more relaxed pace. Stopping to take photos and enjoy the landscape.
We stop for a coffee and chat with the couple that we shared our dinner table with at Hintersand – they’re getting the taxi back to Tierfehd. We decide to walk back down. An hour and half or thereabouts later, we stop for lunch next to the river.
I decide to have a swim. I only get as far as my knees before i beat a hasty retreat from the icy cold water. A few more weeks and I’ll try again!
After our avocado sandwiches and a coffee we continue onwards to Tierfehd.
Arriving a good half an hour before the shuttle service back to Linthal station, we pop into the Tödi hotel for a cold drink!
A relaxed finish to another great mountain day…