Lavin, in the Lower Engadine, Switzerland.
Drained by the excessive heat and humidity of the previous day, we woke to find it even more hot and humid. It was to be a slow day. Our planned (and now shorter) route for the day involved walking from Lavin to the Tuoi Hut, which nestles below Piz Buin at the head of the beautiful Val Tuoi. Kev suggested a route via Guarda, one of those idealic Alpine villages, with every house decorated with ‘graffiti’ and festooned with flower boxes.
Toiling up the Tuoi valley in the growing heat of the day went surprisingly well however, as mile upon mile of fabulous alpine meadows greeted us – crammed so full of gently swaying flowers that you could not imagine there being room for a single additional bloom. The Tuoi hut stands at 2250m, from where there are popular climber’s ascent routes up Piz Buin. Recently rebuilt, this was a friendly hut in a very special location, with good food and accommodation, but sadly no showers, although washing in ice-cold water felt a real treat after the heat of the day.
Day three. Tuoi hut to Jamtal hut in Austria, via the Furcletta col (2735m) and the Pas Flutachol (2768m)… with a descent to 2106m in between. Once again incredible heat – well over 30 degrees, so an early start was called for.
We all felt reasonably acclimatised now and the first col was quickly gained, with an initial snowy descent, followed by a brief ‘yomp’ when we lost track of where the path went. Down in the lower Val Urschai the oppressive heat made for slow progress, with frequent stops for water, sun lotion and photographs. The climb up to the Pass Flutachol was in two distinct parts, a steep but well graded path climbing high up on the north-west side of the valley, then a couple of kilometres of a surprisingly good path through a boulder field to the col and Austrian border. The final descent to the Jamtal hut involved crossing extensive snow patches and boulders – and loosing track of where the best route might be, before finally picking up a good path to the hut.
Total functioning walking poles – 6.
More of our adventures tomorrow…