Sunday 20 September 2015

Trails and Tales of the Turtmann

Heading south on the eastern slopes of the Turtmanntal
This summer we've spent several days walking in the magical, wild and near deserted neighbouring valley - the Turtmanntal.  It was here that the last bear was killed, and is now the terrain of a wolf, as well as home to eagles and of course marmots, chamois and ibex.

Old paths and waterways
There's a road up from the valley, but arriving by cable car in Oberems gives a real sense of separation from what's below, as does walking down from one of the passes. Walkers on the long distance 'Tour du Cervin' or 'Summer Haute Route' from Chamoix to Zermatt cross this valley. Descending from the Meidpass, most stay at the Hotel Schwarzhorn in Gruben, an old victorian hotel, before continuing their route on up to the Augstbordpass and over to the Zermatt valley (at 2893m it's name gives travellers a clue as to when it's reliably passable).

Heading up to the Augstbordpass
The trails and paths that run south from Oberems are less travelled, some are overgrown and parts have fallen away. There are bisse to follow and old shepherd huts that tell of times when this was an important summer grazing area. Hanging in the chapel at Gruben is a wonderful painting depicting the 1822 rescue of a girl from the river. She was swept downstream for over 2km before a shepherd spotted and plucked her from the water.
Bear paw, 'man of the forest' and rescue story
Continuing further south from Gruben the valley ends at the snout of the Turtmann glacier, from here it's mountaineering and ski-touring country.
Looking across to the Turtmann glacier from Col des Arpettes
To find out more: