Eric & Ian's Swiss Alps Hike
We take an early morning bus to Beatenberg and catch a steep funicular railway that hoisted us up to gondola (below left) that takes us to the 1949 meter summit of Niederhorn (below right).
After a quick veal lunch we set off to Oberberg and then down the Justistal (below left/right), an amazing gorge with a valley of chalets and a river, through the valley and back to Beatenberg. The map says it's a 6 hour hike, and it was currently 1pm so we should finish at 7pm which is fine since it stays light out until about 10pm.
As we start hiking, we are so amazed at the views of the Junfrau Region that we end up stopping a lot to take pictures. (Below left) You can see Ian staring at a Swiss speed hiker, he's a dot now on the hill, but only past us a few minutes earlier. Between these photo delays and having to hike above and below the trail to get around large snow drifts and washouts, we notice that we are bit slower than the typical Swiss hiker for which the walking times are based on.
We continue to press on through some fairly techincal hiking. After much exhaustion we reach our half way point of Oberberg (see below right). I pull out the map and compass, check the watch and realize that we are only half way to our destination after three hours of hiking. If we continue we will be stuck on the mountain until 10pm, which will be dark and cold. Then I look at our return ticket for the gondola and read on the back, it says gondola closes at 6pm in the summer and 5pm in the winter. Was May summer or winter? It should be metioned that the gondola and funicular ascent was nearly impossible to hike down and would take easily 6 hours. Plus, we only had shorts and a pair of soxes for shelter. We were in deep trouble!