Sunday, April 6, 2014

Furggeltihorn (3043m) - Läntahütte - Furggelti

Tobias and I chased the weather window for a two-day trip all the way to the border between Graubünden and Ticino, to the picturesque Läntatal. The end of the valley is marked by the tallest peak of Ticino, Rheinwaldhorn. The rolling Läntagletscher provides the source of the Valser Rhein, one of the tributaries of the Vorderrhein, which eventually becomes the river Rhine, which does important things like demarcates the borders of France, Switzerland and Germany, and winds its way into the North Sea.

We skied in to Läntahütte (a great little hut with very friendly hut keepers) over a somewhat mediocre Furggeltihorn and hatched an awesome plan for the next day -- ski up to Rheinwaldhorn, over to Grauhorn, and ski the west-facing slopes into Ticino. Apparently, this descent can only be done during winters with a lot of snow in the south, which has certainly been the case this year. We set out well before sunrise toward the Läntagletscher to be ready to ski off Grauhorn at noon. After gaining the glacier proper the conditions quickly deteriorated and all of a sudden we were in a complete whiteout. We weren't expecting much crevasse hazard but since we couldn't see hardly at all, we roped up and continued upwards. Several times the visibility would improve enough to lift the morale, but eventually we realized that it's probably never going to clear. Going over Rheinwaldhorn and into unknown terrain on the other side was not an option in those conditions so we descended back to the hut, had some coffee, hung out with the dog, stared mournfully at the fog-wrapped glaciers and headed back up the way we came in the previous day. Turned out we made the right call, as the conditions didn't really improve for the rest of the day, it even rained down in Vals. Still, we were glad to have checked out a new area and will leave this itinerary for a future outing...

coming up out of the valley to the impressive view of the Zervrailahorn

spring-time snow craters

on the summit of Furggeltihorn looking out toward Güferhorn and Grauhorn in the background

Steep drop-off from the summit

starting the descent off the summit toward Läntatal

our objectives for the second day in sight -- Rheinwaldhorn on the left and Grauhorn on the right

mountains are big, people are small. good thing to keep in mind. 

final steep slope down to Läntahütte (you can see it if you look very closely... second largest boulder in the photo)

slightly before the whiteout got really bad

heading back up out of Läntatal

some eXtreme skinning was required

skiing down toward the artificial Zervreilasee

end of the road