Dwight Peck's personal website

Summer 2004

Iffigenalp, Iffigsee, and the Wildhornhütte

You may not find this terribly 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.


The Berghaus Iffigenalp reposes at 1584m at the end of a mountain road extending up southward (past the stupendous Iffigfall waterfalls) from the Bernese town of Lenk.

With 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.

Here we are on the 3rd of July 2004, anxious to get hiking, "champing at the bit" as it were.

Out 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.

No, that's right, we're headed SW up alongside the mighty Iffigbach ("Iffig Creek") towards the Iffigsee and the Wildhorn Hut.

Kristin, Teny, and Joe trudge up the Iffigtal, bound for the Iffigsee behind the various obstructions up on the right.

The Groppi farm halfway up the Iffigtal.

The farm at Groppi, 1741m: the rock at the right of the building serves in winter as a welcome avalanche break.

Kristin performing her oriental slow-motion warm-up meditation exercises.

Teny and Joe on the path to the Iffigsee -- the Iffigenalp berghaus is below, at the top right of the photo.

Kristin, with her post-modern "hiking sandals" which allow one's feet to "breathe".

Coming 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.


The Iffigsee, 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.

The way to the Wildhorn Hut (and the Wildhorn itsownself) lies up towards the left.

The Iffigsee: 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.

Kristin arriving at the Iffigsee.
(That's the gap the narrator shot out of on his third time on skis. Without a parachute.)

And 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.

Kristin, with the Wildhorn Hut in the background, 3 July 2004.

The Wildhorn Alpine Club Hut

The Wildhorn Hut at 2303m

The 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 in the morning!), racing ahead on the uphill but holding everyone back on the trip back home because of his cross-country skis.

Dwight and Tytte washed the dinner dishes all evening in return for free beers.

Wildhornhütte is a lovely hut, and very (like all Swiss huts) solar.

That's the way up to the Wildhorn, about 1000 meters higher, through the notch on the upper left.
(The downhill was very awkward on crosscountry skis.)

The Wildhorn Hut from above

How does 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.

A group heading up to the hut in the late afternoon, 3 July 2004

The Iffigsee from above, July 2004

Joe and Teny crossing a creek on the way down

Kristin and sandals

Leaving the Iffigenalp after a couple of relaxing dinners, evenings, and daytime hikes, and now it's back to work.

One 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. Open from May to October.

If you're driving up, note 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.

Summer 2004

Iffigenalp and Rawilpass, 1981
Iffigenalp and Rawilpass, 2004
Iffigenalp and Rawilpass, 2005

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 18 September 2004, revised 7 October 2008, 28 August 2014.

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