Back in June, together with Tanya’s sister Andy, Andy’s boyfriend Karl, and friends Eric, Linda, and Matt, we walked from Kandersteg to the Berghotel Schwarenbach, and then on to the Gemmipass. It was early in the hiking season, the wildflowers were out in force, and the sun was shining strongly and melting the last of the snow drifts around the peaks.

This wooden man milks a wooden cow when the wind blows.
The team questing up a hill.
The wild-flowers were off the hook.
Tanya and Eric.
An abandoned building at Gemmipass (2315 m).
Matt and Karl hiking past snow drifts.
Daubenhorn (2942 m).
Karl and Andy.
The lake under Schwarenbach.

We stayed the night at the Berghotel, and the next day walked back to Kandersteg via a different route over Schwarzgrätli. At the col we were lucky to see two ibex amble neatly across some steep névé in search of lichen on the rocks. A steep descent into the Inner Üschene valley brought us yet more wildflowers and a river crossing that required a little bit of detective work to avoid getting wet.

Mist and wildflowers.

Back in Kandersteg in the evening, we walked past this painting of a cat, which if I am not mistaken is a portrait of Tomba the Gipfelstürmer (Tomba the peak-stormer), about whom we had had the pleasure to learn at the Berghotel. Tomba was a cat who lived at Schwarenbach and became famous for accompanying mountaineers to the top of nearby mountains, including the Balmhorn (3699 m). His exploits are detailed, along with some fantastic pictures, here. He reportedly saved a couple of mountaineers from an avalanche by leading them behind a secure rock.

Tomba’s portrait on a street in Kandersteg.
August 18, 2018

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