BBQ and Federispitz
Maren came to visit Zürich this weekend. Originally she had wanted to join in the Limmat swim, but the cold water temperatures officially cancelled those plans. Some of Meike's colleges were also planning to join, so everyone was bummed about it. Plans were changed to a BBQ with everyone at home.
The BBQ was an amusing enough event. It was also Susan's birthday that day, so Meike made her a quartz pendant to replace the one that broke the week before. Apparently, quarz crystals absorb negative energy and break when full. Susan loved her esoteric birthday present, even though the diamond drill to make it cost more than the pendant. After a luckless game of poker, some cheesecake and too much food; you made quick work of the cleaning and went to bed, ready to hike the next day.
On Sunday you three went up Federispitz. The hike began in Ziegelbrücke and went straight up the mountain through damp forest. This year's high rainfall had provided good conditions for mushroom growth, and as such there were fungus of all shapes and colours everywhere out of direct sunlight. The path hadn't seen much traffic recently; it was overgrown and hard to make out in places. Wet and overgrown as it was, it was nice to be outside if just for the chance to see the sun.
After emerging from the forest at a dairy farm the sun made an appearance, and it became immediately warmer. The trail continued past several fields of cows and horses, and aws hard to navigate due to so much mud. Further up the hill the wind picked up and it chilled a bit. The path stayed steep for the rest of the ascent, save for a few flat areas covered in cow poo, until the ridge where it became sharp, slippery and windy. The 1600m ascent to Federispitz was worth it - the view was impressive!
Heading back down the opposite side was a slippery mess. The track was in an average condition had it been dry, but wet it was a mud slide. You thoroughly enjoyed yourself bounding/skidding down the steep track, even when you slid off it into the bushes. Others had their troubles with it. It wasn't such an easy track really. At the Federi hut you all stopped for some Möll (apple cider) and watched the airplanes cruise down the mountain. They were doing the rounds toeing gliders up. You strayed from the track a little on the way down, winding up in someone's field but made it to Schänis ok.
Diavolo Via Ferrata
Hourly, randomly it seemed, all weather forecasting websites were changing their weekend prognosis. Rain to sun and then downpour, followed by fine conditions and then snow forecasts became confusing. Taking an average, you bet on Sunday's conditions and ventured out towards Andermatt to do the the Diavolo via ferrata with Poitr and Stefan.
As usual in Andermatt the clouds were rolling up and down the hills with the changing winds, hiding and revealing brilliant views of the Walliser alps. The weather was actually really nice. It was cool but sunny at times and mostly dry.
The climb started at the Teufelsbrücke (Devil's Bridge), an impressive stone arch spanning a steep ravine. The area seemed to be a strategic location for the Swiss military. The walls on all sides were decked out with bunkers and platforms. The bridge was probably loaded with explosives at one point (hopefully no longer). Below the bridge was a tunnel through the rock. Naturally, it was equipped with friendly lighting for tourists. Cool cave bro.
This was Stefan's first via ferrata. It took him a few hundred meters to get the hang of it and relax - it was all smooth sailing after that. Going slow let you gaze about. The view disappeared about half way up, the clouds having enveloped the whole cliff area. It was a quiet, cool, white serene scene in the moist air. The moisture made the climb a bit slippery.
As per usual, you did your trick of needing a toilet break mid-climb. Luckily there were some knee-high bushes off the side of the track — not that they offered much privacy — for a moment alone.
You neared to top and passed the beer tap screwed into the cliff face. It was still was out of order, so you climbed the last part up to the top and had a muddy picnic. The jog down was really fun. You all tried taking shortcuts and overtaking on the bends, which wasn't especially safe considering how slippery it was. Taking side paths led to many slip-ups and dirty backsides. Nearing the end, the hike down had turned into a jog, competing with another group.
After a drink at the bottom you hopped on the train, upon which it immediately started raining. How very satisfying!