Posted: October 06, 2017
TÜRTMANNTHÜTTE - TOURTMAGNE HUT
A beautiful family weekend in a mountain hut, the Swiss way!
In Switzerland everybody hikes, old and young, large and small, bankers and farmers. Originally a necessity to access summer or winter hamlets without road or car access, walking in the mountains today is a way for us to celebrate and enjoy the beautiful landscape and reconnect with family and friends. Combined with an overnight in a rustic mountain hut, and sharing meals with other similar groups of friends and family, this is a Swiss tradition that has changed little for generations.
One of the most remote and lesser-known huts in Switzerland is located at the head of the Turtmanntal in the Valais Canton; the Turtmanntal runs parallel to the Mattertal (the valley to Zermatt) but is worlds apart. This tiny valley, closed to traffic in the winter, and home to more cows than people in the summer, is a secret oasis at the foot of 4000m peaks, and the Turtmannhütte is the perfect mountain hut to enjoy the best views and solitude of the Alps.
Many possibilities are available for you to reach the Turtmannhütte, which is perched at 2’519m, the easiest way is accessible to most levels and ages. Start the hike from the Hotel Schwarzhorn in Gruben (to get there, you can use public transport or drive your car). Start to hike heading south towards the end of the Turtmann Valley. It starts with about an hour of flat walking… ideal for a little warm up. At the end of road you will reach a small parking area, follow the “Chemins Pedestres“ (yellow trails signs) to the left on the east side of the river, this trail passes through a beautiful forest with little steep passages and beautiful little small gorges dug by the water of the glacier (caution some steep passages). The trail crosses back across the river and rejoins the road to the little dam with a beautiful view of the valley. At the dam, you will have a perfect view on the Turtmann glacier, which will reflects turquoise blue and different shades of grey. Traverse the lake before the final ascent to the hut, you can choose between a steep trail and a nice & smooth but longer way, going through the magnificent cairns (human-made piles of stones marking the route) before arriving at the top. After a one-hour ascent, finally the cabin will appear to you, a welcome sight! The family style dinner is served at 6:30 PM, starting with a soup and salad and a main course and dessert, promised to fill you up…what a nice reward! During the evening, take a short walk around the hut in the last light and you will discover tons of edelweiss, or play cards in the cozy ambiance of the mountain hut and perhaps enjoy a local digestif. Curfew is at 10 PM…indeed, some alpinists (maybe you!) are leaving at 5 AM the next day.
In the chilly morning, start the hike down taking the “viewpath” direction Gruben – Augstbordpass (on the east side of the valley), then after around 45 minutes, you will arrive at a cross (just above the Gruben) where you take the trail to go back down to the little village at your starting point.