Peck's personal Web site
2004 -- Iffigenalp,
Iffigsee, and the Wildhornhütte
may not find this tangibly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a
good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught
up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
Iffigenalp resides at 1584m at the end of a mountain road extending up
southward (past the stupendous Iffigfall waterfalls) from the Bernese town of
its "dependences", the Iffigenalp can host a great lot of hikers, in
rustic accommodations at very low prices. The family Gfeller offer a full pension
plan as well as an à la carte menu for daytrippers.
we are on the 3rd of July 2004, anxious to get hiking, "champing at the bit"
as it were.
the front door of the Iffigenalp hotel, of course, one always finds the Rawilpass
wall staring back at one. This is our first visit here since quite
a few adventures back in 1981 and a few brisk runs over the pass in the late
'80s. Scampering over the Rawilpass at 2429m leads one eventually down on the
Lac of Tseuzier, a path to Crans-Montana, and a road out to Sion in the canton
of Valais. But that's not where we're going this time around.
that's right, we're headed SW up alongside the mighty Iffigbach ("Iffig Creek")
towards the Iffigsee and the Wildhorn Hut.
Teny, and Joe trudge up the Iffigtal, bound for the Iffigsee behind the various
obstructions up on the right.
Groppi farm halfway up the Iffigtal.
at Groppi, 1741m: the rock at the right of the building serves in winter as a
welcome avalanche break.
performing her oriental slow-motion warm-up meditation exercises.
and Joe on the path to the Iffigsee -- the Iffigenalp berghaus is below, at the
top right of the photo.
with her post-modern "hiking sandals" which allow one's feet to "breathe".
closer to the Iffigsee.
Many years ago, the narrator came down that chute, holding on tight, in what was probably his third time on skis.
at 2065m, an exceptionally beautiful "tarn", or "gour", or
high mountain lake. The first time I saw this place, in 1981, I didn't see it.
It was frozen over and under snow, and we thought the map might be wrong.
way to the Wildhorn Hut (and the Wildhorn itsownself) lies up towards the left.
the hiking path leads high along the right, and the path from Gstaad, Lauenen,
and the Dungelpass comes over the snow on the shoulder
in the centre.
arriving at the Iffigsee.
(That's the gap the narrator shot out of on his third time on skis. Without a parachute.)
from the Iffigsee, Kristin, with her "hiking sandals", carries on towards
the Wildhornhütte . . .
. . which stands upon a rocky buttress at 2303m amid a sea of scree rock.
with the Wildhorn Hut in the background, 3 July 2004.
Wildhorn Alpine Club Hut
Wildhorn Hut at 2303m.
narrator spent the night here, back in March 1990, with friends David, Anne-Claude,
Paul, and Tytte, and 100 other hearty mountaineers, and the next day went up to
the Wildhorn over the four glaciers (reaching the summit, 3248m, at 9:41:15 in
the morning!), racing ahead on the uphill but holding everyone back on the trip
back home because of his cross-country skis.
and Tytte washed the dinner dishes all evening in return for free beers.)
is a lovely hut, and very (like all Swiss huts) solar.
the way up to the Wildhorn, about 1000 meters higher, through the notch on the
(The downhill was very awkward on crosscountry skis.)
Hut from above.
one fit 100+ ski-mountaineers in here on a February night? Well, they eat dinner
in shifts, and cuddle all night whether they want to or not.
group heading up to the hut in the late afternoon, 3 July 2004
Iffigsee from above, July 2004
and Teny crossing a creek on the way down
the Iffigenalp after a couple of relaxing dinners, evenings, and daytime hikes,
and now it's back to work.
recommends the Iffigenalp Berghaus with fervor for hikers and pastoral poets who
don't require the latest in plastic chain-hotel amenities: http://www.iffigenalp.ch,
firstname.lastname@example.org. Open from May to October.
you're driving up, you need to be aware that cars are only allowed to go up the
road in the second quarter-hour of each hour (you can have a cooling drink at
the Alpenrösli whilst awaiting your turn), and can only come down in the
fourth quarter-hour. If you're walking or cycling up, that's not a problem.
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, Dwight Peck at
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 18 September 2004, revised 7 October 2008.