Saas Fee

Old Jul 5th, 2004, 01:11 AM
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Saas Fee

Tourist aspect:
My husband and I spent the last week of June exploring Saas Fee. We stayed at The Dom, right in the center of town. There had been a small fire in the dining area, and it was still off season, so we got a pretty good rate of 160 ChF per night. Our room had a balcony overlooking the mountains; quite lovely.

I recommend taking the 30 minute trail through the forest to the Fletschhorn hotel for a meal. We had a succulent dinner: 2 appetizers consisting of lobster and scallop concoctions, main course of sea wolf on bed of wild asparagus, and a cheese plate from the trolley that must have held 50 cheeses from all parts of Europe. We dined for 4 hours, then went down into the wine cave under the hotel and had a bit of dessert wine. www.fletschhorn.ch


Off the Beaten Track:
This is a bit specialized, but I thought some Fodorites might enjoy reading about mountain climbing in Switzerland.

My husband returned home, and I went on with a group of Swiss to climb of three 4000 meter peaks.

We started with the cablecar up to Felskinn, then the bahn halfway to Allalin Drehrestaurant. They stopped the train mid-tunnel, and we walked through a secret door right onto the glacier. There we did some training, and finally hiked over the glacier to the Britannia Hut.

These mountain houses are primarily for climbers and skiers, but anyone can go there and have a cup of coffee or beer. I do not recommend spending the night as most are Spartan and college dorm like. You can easily walk to the Britannia Hut from the Felskinn cable car station.

At the Britiannia hut we had dinner (soup, salad, chicken, pudding). This is served in courses, but you use the same bowl. Then at 9:30, while it is still light outside, we are off to bed.

Early morning wake up, and we strapped on our gear and spent the next hours climbing up the snow to the Allalinhorn (4027 meter). This is not a difficult climb, and if interested you can easily hire a guide from the mountain center in Saas Fee, and rent equipment if necessary.

We then climbed from the peak down to Langfluehutte. This hut is older, and the dinner consisted of soup, then spaghetti with a topping of meat grease. Not the most tasteful, but I guess good calorie source for climbers. The overnight accommodation is one room under the eves of the hut holding about 120 people. Mattresses line the floor and you get a wool Swiss blanket and pillow.

Wake up call was at 3:45 am. Breakfast of 2 pieces of brown bread with jam and cheese and we were off. We climbed 5 hours and reach the summit of the Alphubel (4206 meter). The weather was fine, and the view of the Matterhorn with Mt Blanc rising behind was stunning.

Typically when you climb your nose runs, so all my sun cream had been rubbed off. It is amazing where you can receive a sun burn: the inside of my nostrils and ears, as well as my lips are peeling.

After summiting the Alphubel we returned to Langflue and took the cable car back to Saas Fee, where we had hot showers and I enjoyed seeing my feet for the first time in 3 days.

The next day we drove to Saas Grund and took the cable car up to Kreuzboden. We hiked 2 hours to the Hohsaas station, had a beer and wrote post cards. This was our rest day. Dinner that night was tasty: soup, then a meat stew with noodles. Euro 2004 was underway, and there was lots of speculation going on. As I was with many Swiss, there was also discussion of the Swiss ref that was presently receiving death threats from the England supporters. Football is serious business!
Feeling well fed and rested, we headed to bed at 9:30. Hohsaas has 5 bedrooms holding 6 people each in bunk beds.

We had 2 snorers in my room, so sleep was spotty. Wake up at 3:45 for bread and cheese, then off to climb the Weissmeis (4027 m). The weather at the peak was extremely windy and cold. We were afraid of being blown off, and my candy bar snack was frozen solid, so after 7 minutes on the summit, we headed back down.

I booked the climbing trip through a local Swiss company on the internet. There were 2 Germans and 1 Brit on the trip, so we had a mix of languages. The Swiss speak another form of German, so I and the German participants went with the Swiss guide who could speak High German. I was amused that most folks thought I was British, not American as they could not hear the American accent. But then again I cannot tell the difference between Wallis, Bern or Zurich Swiss dialect either.

Most folks in the mountain huts were local, doing climbs. One group was trekking from Saas Fee over the ridge to Zermatt. Even if you are not interested in climbing, I think that visiting a mountain hut will give you an ? off the beaten track ? experience.
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Old Jul 5th, 2004, 04:12 AM
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Hi Queenie,

Thank you for your most excellent (!)report on a truly off-the-beaten-track trip! Getting into the mountains is one of the best aspects of Switzerland, and your report really inspired me to go climbing! Well, until I read the 3.45 wake up times . . .!!! I guess I'll have to be content with reading about others' adventures!

Thank you for posting this. I enjoyed it!

s
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Old Jul 5th, 2004, 07:00 AM
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Ditto, Queenie. I enjoyed reading your notes re Saas Fee (and as I recall, you are the good samaritan whose excellent description of your morning run got me through a tiresome patch of flatland malaise). Thanks. J. (A day off from classes, S?)
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Old Jul 8th, 2004, 07:19 AM
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Thanks for your kind words, girls.

And, J, if you ever need another *Swiss Fix*, I will be happy to oblige. Although today we have had terrific storms, including hail the size of ice cubes! So I think you might be better off in the US for now.
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Old Jul 8th, 2004, 07:22 AM
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Very cool!
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Old Jul 8th, 2004, 12:38 PM
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Thanks a lot for posting. I enjoyed it very much. Have heard many good things about the Fletschhorn hotel.

Although I don't go climbing/mountaineering I always admire the folks who do. I am really envious, it sounds so exciting!

Some photos to post?

Ingo
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Old Jul 9th, 2004, 05:41 AM
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Queenie, a couple of weeks ago we had a brief storm that included hail. But when it was over and the sky cleared, Louisiana was still FLAT. Thanks for your support. J.
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Old Jan 9th, 2005, 07:27 AM
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Topping for Traveler re: Berghouses
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