Snowshoeing on glacial moraine
We’re hiking from Kreuzboden to the Hohsaas mountain restaurant on snowshoes; enjoying the fresh powder on the sunny side of the Saas Valley, and a coffee at the Weissmies Hut.
The snow crunches underfoot. Now and then, laughter drifts towards us from the ski slopes. I stop for a moment, squinting in the sunlight. Huge mountain peaks, freshly covered in snow, tower in every direction, topped by a clear blue sky – not a cloud in sight. As I continue, the terrain gets steeper and I adjust my climbing equipment to make my progress comfortable. My destination, the Weissmies Hut, is in sight. The hour-long walk has flown by.
The snowshoe trails in the Saas Valley are well marked with regular signposts along the entire route. A map is always a good idea though, if only for the extra peace of mind. If you want to start your walk in the sun, take the gondola to the Kreuzboden and start from there. But if you’d prefer to log a bit more vertical, you can always begin your walk in the valley.
A pitstop at the Weissmies Hut
Roberto, the manager of the hut, serves up Alpine rösti and Saas soup on the sun terrace, choice fuel for the walk ahead. We’ll need the energy for the final climb! But we don’t let the impending workout stop us from sampling his homemade Genepi. Here, at the Weissmies Hut, skiers, snowshoers and sunbathers come together to indulge.
The Weissmies Hut sits at 2,726 metres above sea level. Built in 1894 as a mountain hotel, it was always an ambitious project, dreamt up before the convenience of cable cars and helicopters. As a result of financial difficulties, the hut was later taken over by the Olten arm of the Swiss Alpine Club. Since then it has served as a refuge for climbers and hikers and has been both expanded and renovated several times. The old hut still stands, a reminder of simpler times; we revel in our modern-day luxury as we sip elderberry cordial on the sun terrace.
Snowshoeing in the high alpine
Despite the avalanche kit, my backpack weighs next to nothing – I don’t need much in the way of provisions today. We climb higher, under perfect views of the Lagginhorn and Fletschhorn, the trail leading through the glacial moraine. Recent high winds have swept away much of the recent snowfall, leaving us from time to time to search for patches of snow between the rocks. Our guide Enzio points towards the Lagginjoch, from there you can see as far as Italy. But today we’re headed for the Hohsaas mountain restaurant with its unbelievable views of eighteen four-thousanders, the end of this stretch provides a brilliant viewpoint for watching skiers whizz by on the Trift Glacier.
Our final destination, though, is the 3,200-metre-high Hohsaas mountain restaurant, just a few hundred metres away. The former mountain hut is a modern mountain inn nowadays with panoramic windows, a restaurant and accommodation for skiers and mountaineers.
We sit down for a well-earned round of celebratory drinks on the Hohsaas sun terrace and enjoy the view of the snowy Weissmies. The vista beggars belief and we wait for the final lift of the day to return to the valley
Photos: Puzzle Media