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- 7 nights
- From $2390.00 USD
- Departing 1 September 2012
- Gay Men only
A special week of Alpine hikes with a small, friendly gay group.
The Matterhorn is a constant yet ever-changing presence in the alpine village of Zermatt. One day coyly hiding behind the clouds, the next, a proud white pyramid against a blue sky.
Edelweiss, our first hiking trip in Switzerland, introduced many gay men and lesbians to the beauty of the Valais region surrounding Zermatt. This hiking week is based at the same Zermatt location, but we'll largely hike on different trails, often going higher or further into the mountains on all-day hikes.
Awake in a high mountain hut as the rosy glow of the morning sun -- Alpenglow -- lights the Matterhorn.
Hike through a mountain meadow sprinkled with wildflowers.
Climb to the top of ice-and-snow covered Breithorn, on an optional day excursion.
Weather and trail conditions permitting, hike to the summit of the Oberrothorn, at 3415 meters one of the highest peaks here that doesn't require special climbing skills.
Enjoy a traditional hiker's lunch of "Bratwurst mit Rosti" at the remote Monte Rosa hut, below the glaciers that line Switzerland's highest peak.
Based in Zermatt, Switzerland.
7 nights lodging in a comfortable studio, 2- or 3-bedroom apartment with kitchen (small surcharge applies for studio apartments); Continental breakfast each day; Four memorable dinners; An overnight stay at a mountain hut, subject to availability (huts have shared sleeping accommodations; the apartments remain available on this night, for those who prefer); Welcome packet with map; Cablecar or cog railroad rides on two days.
So are most of the people who travel with us. You do not need to pay extra to travel by yourself. Prices are per-person, and the single supplement applies only if you'd like a room by yourself. For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can't match you with someone.
|Day 1||Arrival Day||Your adventure starts with the train ride as you travel up to mile-high Zermatt. The steep cog railway edges along a river valley, past thundering waterfalls, snow-covered peaks, and the onion-domed church in tiny St. Niklaus. The track ends in Zermatt, a car-free village of just 4,000 year-round residents. Our apartments are a 10-minute walk if you're traveling light; or take a small electric taxi. We're staying in holiday apartments owned by one of the original families to settle Zermatt. You won't be living out of your suitcase in a hotel room: These apartments have a living room, kitchen, and many have spectacular views. (In addition to 2- and 3-bedroom apartments, we have some studio apartments also available for a slight surcharge.) Early arrivals will enjoy exploring Zermatt. You'll share the streets with tourists just up for a day of mountain air, European hikers dressed in the traditional knickers, mountain climbers gearing up for an expedition, and the occasional herd of goats. At 6:00, we'll meet for a reception and orientation, followed by a traditional Swiss dinner. A short after-dinner walk ascends one of the trails overlooking Zermatt. As the Milky Way and thousands of stars twinkle above, and you gaze down on the lights of our little village, you'll feel a bit of the magic that lies ahead this week.|
|Day 2||Sunnegga and Riffelalp||Today's hike starts with a steep climb not far from our chalet, then it levels off at the meadows of Sunnegga with panoramic views of the valley below and the moutains across the valley. From Sunnegga, we pass through the small hamlets of Ze Gassent and Findeln and hike past Mosjessee (a dammed lake), on our way to Riffelalp, where we usually have lunch. After lunch you have a choice of taking the train down from Riffelalp or hiking on one of several paths back to Zermatt.|
|Day 3||Tasch Alp||Today's route easily accommodates several levels of ability. The official route starts with a climb up to Taschalp, between Zermatt and Tasch (the next town down the train line), a rise of about 700 meters. Those who want an easier day can take the train to Tasch (a 3-minute ride through a tunnel) or hike on a more level route. We'll all meet up at Taschalp for lunch. On a clear day you can see several peaks from here including Zinalrothorn, Schalihorn and the largest, Weisshorn. After lunch we'll head to Tufteren, where you have the choice of starting your descent to Zermatt or continuing on to the Sunnegga station to descend by the unique in-the-mountain funicular. Dinner is on your own this evening.|
|Day 4||Gorgeous Gorges||Today is a free day to take a Gorge Adventure, take a day trip to nearby Italy, or to explore one of the other mountains surrounding Zermatt that we won't get to on this week's hikes.|
|Day 5||5-6 Overnight in a Mountain Hut||Today's hike leads us along meandering trails to a mountain hut (actually more like a dormitory) where we spend the night. Since we don't have to return to Zermatt for the night, we are able to hike farther than no other days. There are several huts on the mountainsides above Zermatt, and we will choose which one to stay at based on availability for the size of our group. Bedding, dinner and breakfast are provided at the hut, but you will need to carry your personal overnight items. Please note that in the event of weather that impacts the safety of the trails leading to our hut we may need to return to our chateau for the night, and forego our stay in the hut.|
|Day 7||Oberrothorn||Today we hike to one of the highest peaks of our week, Oberrothorn. You'll want to bring a fleece or sweater and rain jacket for this climb, since a sunny day in Zermatt can turn into a very cold rain at the peak. Before leaving town we'll have a chance to stop for picnic supplies or a sandwich, so that we can enjoy lunch at the top while admiring the view. We'll again start our journey at the Sunnegga lift, then hike across to Blauherd, where we get our tickets up to Unterrothorn. Once there our high Alpine hike begins as we work our way to the top (typically 70-90 minutes). Once at the summit we'll have our lunch. For the descent, you'll have several choices, depending on whether you want to hike all the way back to Zermatt at the bottom of the valley, or use a combination of lifts and hikes. Whichever route you choose, the scenery is superb in every direction, and you'll be able to see several of the locations of our earlier hikes. As dusk approaches and for one last time you watch the sunset line start at the floor of the valley and gradually work its way up the eastern slopes, you'll be able to take a deep breath of the clear air, and bring back memories of your invigorating hikes amidst the splendour of the Swiss Alps!|
|Day 8||Departure Day||Our week officially ends after breakfast. If you have early connections, you can rise and depart as early as you'd like. There's one final treat in store for those who have made advance reservations: A ride to St. Moritz or Chur on the Glacier Express. This train shows off Swiss engineering and Swiss mountains, as it meanders over Alpine rivers and through mountain tunnels, with ever-changing panoramas unfolding through the picture windows of the cars. Our pre-trip newsletters make it easy to hook up with others who might enjoy this excursion with you. If you've got extra holiday time to spend in Europe, we suggest you save it for after the trip, rather than before: Chances are, others from this week's adventure will welcome company as they travel and explore the culture and gay life in Geneva, Zurich, Berne, and other Swiss cities.|