A room with a view.[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
Swiss National Day in Valais
We have been on the go since the late morning. The terrain is rough, untracked or loosely marked by desolate paths. Amidst jagged peaks surrounded by glaciers and valleys laced with suones (waterways), we climb rocky passages and navigate along fixed ropes. The route leads through pastures and across peaks, past crags and scree, alongside rock faces and Edelweiss-spangled meadows. Our companions along the way are cows, cats, marmots, ibexes and eagles. It is mid-summer, the day before Swiss National Day--but despite the scorching scorch
v. scorched, scorch·ing, scorch·es
1. To burn superficially so as to discolor or damage the texture of. See Synonyms at burn1.
2. weather, we have encountered lust two fellow hikers.
Finally--after a long and often strenuous six-hour hike--the next bend reveals today's destination Topalihutte. Overlooking the village of Sankt Niklaus near Zermatt from its 2,674-metre vantage point, the building was opened to the public in 2003. It replaced an older bothy both·y
n. pl. both·ies Scots
A hut or small cottage.
[Ultimately from Old Irish both, hut; see bheu that burnt down in 1998. Our first impression is of a modern metal cube, slightly out of place in this Alpine setting and resembling anything but a quaint mountain bothy. Out front, mountaineers and hikers bask in the sunshine; some are snoozing. Tops are dangling from washing lines; crampons and ropes are neatly spread out to dry. The atmosphere is peaceful. The Huttenwartin (hut keeper) comes to meet us and offers us a welcome drink. We kick off our shoes and socks, lean back Verb 1. lean back - move the upper body backwards and down
lean, tilt, angle, slant, tip - to incline or bend from a vertical position; "She leaned over the banister"
fall back - fall backwards and down and--sipping a nice cup of tea--marvel at the beautiful Alpine view. So guet (so good).
Finally, our curiosity gets the better of us. We climb into the hut via a metal staircase and discover a harmonious marriage of comfort and functionality: a lot of wood. small clean rooms with fluffy duvets, and contemporary sanitary facilities. The common room is beautifully modest, offering a fabulous view of Weisshorn, Monte Rosa For other uses, see Monte Rosa, São Tomé and Príncipe.
Monte Rosa is a mountain massif located in the Italian regions Piedmont and Aosta Valley and in the canton of Valais (Wallis) of Switzerland. It is in the Pennine Alps, the same mountain range as the Matterhorn. and the entire Mischabel range--approximately a dozen 4,000-metre peaks.
After a much-deserved leisurely hour, the Huttenwartin calls us to dinner. We are in for a pleasant surprise. Rather than being handed plates to serve ourselves, we are seated for a formal dinner. The thoughtfully presented menu is a culinary delight and includes a generous second helping for those with a big appetite--meat, side dishes and vegetables are all served according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. individual preference. Even the dessert plates are beautifully decorated. This is a service we could easily get used to.
After dinner, we strike up a conversation with the people next to us. They paint a picture of their last few days and discuss their upcoming tour with us; then, the topic turns to world politics and the melting of glaciers. It is an exciting debate, but we are all somewhat distracted. Again and again, the Mischabel range commands our attention and we find ourselves stealing glances of the magical view, as the setting sun is whipping up a plethora of colours--from beaming yellows to orange, from fiery red and rose to a fading pink glow. As the last rays of sunshine disappear behind the peaks, the landscape is bathed in cold, almost unrealistic tones of cobalt blue--the blue hour. We think the colour-display is long over, when half an hour after sunset. the sky lights up again. This time, it shines in tones of purple accentuated by bright starry star·ry
adj. star·ri·er, star·ri·est
1. Marked or set with stars or starlike objects.
2. Shining or glittering like stars.
3. Shaped like a star.
4. Illuminated by stars; starlit. dots. Later, we fall asleep underneath thousands of twinkling twinkling, in astronomy: see seeing. stars.
The next day, a glacier tour over the Brunegghorn takes us to the neighbouring valley--and the Turtmannhutte. The once cute, tiny stone bothy has also been given a face-lift--in the shape of a generous wooden extension. We would love to stay, but, due to time constraints, only manage a lunch amidst this landscape of fissured glaciers, steep rock faces and green Alpine meadows. We devour our Rosti with cheese on the terrace, before reluctantly continuing our descent into the valley to pick up an Alpentaxi. On our way to Turtmann, the driver speaks proudly of the imminent 1 August speech, which is to be held in the village. Our schedule doesn't allow for us to linger long enough to bear witness, but we have little doubt that the President will be speaking of the great achievement of the region: how it has re-interpreted the old and established traditional values Traditional values refer to those beliefs, moral codes, and mores that are passed down from generation to generation within a culture, subculture or community. Since the late 1970s in the U.S. in a contemporary way--just as our bothies have illustrated to us.
A long story
Bothies, as we know them today, date back some 150 years. At the onset of Alpine tourism, mountaineers sought shelter in natural caves or underneath large rocks. Over time, some of these basic arrangements were replaced by bivouacs made from dry stonewalls or basic brickwork. The first bothies, in the modern sense of the word, appeared in the 1860s, mostly along routes to 4,000-metre peaks--the Matterhorn, Weisshorn and the Finsteraarhorn. The structures were basic and lacked modern comforts. They were often situated at remarkably high altitude Conventionally, an altitude above 10,000 meters (33,000 feet). See also altitude. , for example at 3,800 metres en route to the Matterhorn.
Over time, many of the original buildings gave way to more flexible wooden structures. In 1912, the Schweizer Alpen-Club (Swiss Alpine Club The Alpine Club was once described as:
The provision of shelter opened up the Alps as a playground for explorers. From 1920 onwards, the ever-increasing demand for accommodation led to the construction of quarry-stone structures--the type that were to shape our image of a traditional mountain bothy for fifty years to come. The Domhutte in the Mischabel area is considered a classic and architecturally groundbreaking example of this era. Built in 1957, it is the most significant example of the early works of Zurich-born architect Jakob Eschenmoser, who worked for SAC all across Switzerland and based his striking designs on shapes found in the surrounding Alpine landscape. His trademark octagonal oc·tag·o·nal
Having eight sides and eight angles.
Adj. 1. floor plans are reminiscent of a cross-section of a mountain crystal, and he often adapted rooflines to the image of nearby mountain ranges.
Today, however, this type of architecture is long outdated. For the past 15 years, wood has once again been en vogue, frequently combined with metal cladding as a protection from the elements. The natural material is not only a good choice from an economical standpoint, but also allows for energy-efficient builds in line with Minergie[R] standards. (Minergie[R] is a registered quality label for buildings with low-energy-consumption.)
A new era
It would be fair to nickname Valais not just the Canton of 4,000-metre peaks, but the Canton of mountain bothies. With an estimated one hundred public bothies and bivouacs, the area ranks top in all of Switzerland. SAC owns the majority of the existing structures, but there are also a number of mountain guide associations, ski-clubs and a handful of private individuals, who have invested in making Valais' hiking and mountain touring areas more accessible. The result is a wide range of different types of constructions--including the biggest collection of contemporary bothies in the Alps--and this in a Canton known as Vieux Pays (Old Country), with a reputation for being rather old-fashioned.
Defying the stereotype, the bothies of Valais set new standards in terms of modern-day comforts. Many feature well-insulated single rooms, children's play areas and shower facilities. Some even offer an infrastructure suitable for presentations and short-term courses. Seasoned mountaineers may turn up their noses at some of the unusual architecture, but more often than not, they end up positively surprised when they actually step inside.
An excellent example is the Cabane de Moiry, situated at 2,825 metres above sea level in Val d'Anniviers. Architects Nicola Baserga and Christian Mozzetti added a modern wooden structure to an existing stone bothy. The design successfully combines outward simplicity with a functional interior. The spacious dining room opens up views of the glaciated landscape in a spectacular manner through oversized windows--in a way, acting as an antithesis to the traditional, dark dining room with its tiny peephole lookouts. Today, you needn't worry that you might miss the golden hour. Instead. you can enjoy the striking sunset as a side to your four-course meal made from bio and Demeter-certified (organic) products.
Much more experimental is the Monte-Rosa-Hutte, situated above Zermatt at an altitude of 2.883 metres. Here, at the foot of the Dufourspitze. the SAC and ETH Zurich “ETH” redirects here. For other uses, see ETH (disambiguation).
The ETH is an internationally oriented university. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities IARU. have teamed up to explore new methods of power generation, water purification It has been suggested that , , and be merged into this article or section. and waste management--in short, they are trying to find answers to questions determining our future on this planet. Time will show whether the selected concepts will prove successful. However, in the meantime Adv. 1. in the meantime - during the intervening time; "meanwhile I will not think about the problem"; "meantime he was attentive to his other interests"; "in the meantime the police were notified"
meantime, meanwhile , the bothy itself has already caused quite a stir with its unconventional and confident design.
Two bothies playing in the league of superlatives are Bergsteiger-Lodge at Klein Matterhorn and Tscherrig's Anenhutte at Hintere Lotschental. At an unrivalled altitude of 3,820 metres, the former is accessible only by cable car and was awarded the Swiss Solarpreis in 2010 for its oustanding Minergie[R] standards. The latter is Switzerland's most exclusive bothy, complete with wine cellar, sauna, whirlpool and two ensuite mountain suites. Completed in 2008 the brainchild of mountaineer and engineer, Peter Tscherrig, it has a price tag to match, with rates starting from CHF CHF
In currencies, this is the abbreviation for the Swiss Franc.
The currency market, also known as the Foreign Exchange market, is the largest financial market in the world, with a daily average volume of over US $1 trillion. 120 per night including half-board. As crazy as this may sound, it is a concept that might just fly in a country with a buying power Buying Power
The money an investor has available to buy securities. In a margin account, the buying power is the total cash held in the brokerage account plus maximum margin available.
Also referred to as "Excess Equity. as high as Switzerland.
Small but beautiful
Tucked away in between the chic and trendy are quaint traditional structures with a unique atmosphere. One such wooden bothy rests on a shelf above Lotschental at 2,565 metres above sea level. Its backdrop is the impressive Bietschhorn, arguably one of Switzerland's most picturesque mountains. The hut which bears its name is simple and in complete harmony with its surroundings. The feeling is one of cosiness and utter comfort. Huttenwartin Anni Imstepf places great importance on sustainability and closeness to nature. And it hasn't gone unnoticed. Her efforts have been recognised by the environmental organisation Mountain Wilderness Mountain Wilderness is an international movement aiming at protection of mountains in all their aspects, with emphasis on value of wilderness and "authentic mountain experience". It was founded in 1987 in Biella by a group of mountaineers. with a Prix Wilderness award.
It is this certain x-factor, this unique atmosphere, which sets the homely traditional bothies apart from the rest. If not much else, you get a piece of the good life here... Other examples include Mittlebarghutte in the ski-touring and hiking destination Hintere Binntal, the Wiwannihutte near Visp and the Cabane de I'A Neuve in the Lower-Wallis region of Val Ferret (on the Swiss side of the Mont-Blanc-Massif).
Finally, on the opposite end of the scale to our bothies of superlatives are the bivouacs, tiny bothies consisting of just one room--for cooking, eating and sleeping. No other area in Switzerland boasts more bivouacs than the Valais. Although often accessible only to experienced mountaineers and climbers, these structures are typically situated in prime locations. Part of the attraction of these mini-shelters is to cook your own food on a wooden or gas stove. Some of the finest examples in the area include the metal-cladded Lagginbiwak in the Simplon region, the wooden Fusshornbiwak in the Aletsch, and the Bivouac du Dolent above La Fouly made of synthetic materials. Finally, there is the spacious Refuge des Dents du Midi Dents du Midi (däN` dü mēdē`), mountain group in the Alps, Vaud canton, SW Switzerland, near the French border. It rises to 10,695 ft (3,260 m) in Dent du Midi (Haute Cime) peak. with a view of Mont Blanc Mont Blanc (môN bläN), Alpine massif, on the French-Italian border, SE of Geneva. One of its several peaks, also called Mont Blanc (15,771 ft/4,807 m), is the highest peak in France and the second highest in Europe. .
From contemporary architecture and homely bothies to basic bivouacs; from rough blankets to fluffy duvets: from modern showers to a privy with a mountain view--it is exactly this variety, which makes Valois the Canton of bothies. Adding to this is what bothies are all about: a view of majestic mountain peaks piercing the blue sky, rugged and beautiful; a view of eerie Alpine glaciers spilling into the deep valleys below, and of steep rock faces rising and falling confidently alongside turquoise glacial rivers. This is Alpine nature at its best.
Record breaking Valais bothies
* The highest: Bergsteiger-Lodge at 3.820 altitude-metres (Kleine Matterhorn); the Solvaybiwak at the Matterhorn is situated at 4,003 metres above sea-level, but can only be used in case of an emergency
* The biggest: Konkordiahutte, sleeping 150
* The smallest: Refuge du Chalin and Schalijochbiwak, sleeping 8 each
* The most popluar: Britanniahutte, averaging 8,652 overnight stays per year (2006-2010)
* The least busy: Schalijochbiwak, averaging 34 overnight stays per year (2006-2010)
* The most secluded: Schalijochbiwak; can be reached after a 12 to 14-hour hike from Zermatt, via Rothornhutte and the difficult Schalihorn
* The wackiest: Bivouac du Dolent, an orange bivouac made of synthetic materials and resembling a space capsule
* Longest-serving Huttenwart: Luzius Kuster has been welcoming guests at the Weisshornhutte for the past 46 years
By Marco Volken, translated by Carina Carina (kərē`nə) [Lat.,=the keel], southern constellation, representing the keel of the ancient constellation Argo Navis, or Ship of the Argonauts. Carina contains Canopus, the second brightest star in the sky. Scheuringer