Continuing where we left off yesterday, Pete and I had just the small matter of two glaciers to cross to get to the hut, where we would spend the night.
Now, I should emphasise at this point, that glaciers can be dangerous, even fatal, so walking on them is not to be undertaken lightly. There are generally two types – wet and dry. Wet ones are covered with snow and this can hide crevasses and the like. So you should NEVER cross one of these without a qualified guide and, normally, be roped up. Dry ones however, which are not covered in snow and the dangers are generally visible, can be crossed in some cases without a guide and only if marked and considered safe to do so.
Anyhow, anticipating that most of you may never have the opportunity to do this, or maybe never want to, even if you had, I have taken a couple of videos to give you a sense of what it’s like. (Links are below the usual gallery).
You can see from the photos that Pete and I were only wearing trainers and you may expect glaciers to be quite slippery (being mainly ice of course) and often crampons are needed. However, you will see from picture 23 that these particular glaciers had a sort of icy crust on the top, which made it quite easy to get some traction.
The Britannia hut is perched (as you can see from many of the pics) at 3,028m (9,934ft) and after a refreshing beer, we decided to hike up the nearby peak, called the Klein Allalin, which took us over the 10,000ft mark (at 3,070m).
In terms of the accommodation, we shared a room, normally for 8, with two others, where they had the top bunks and we had the lower bunks. (See pic 37).
For info. (since many of you may be wondering what the situation is with these rather remote mountain huts…) Included in the ‘demi-pension’ price is a 3 course evening meal (we had a table to ourselves and wine and canned beer was also available to buy at this one) and breakfast (which, at the Brtiannia, consisted of cereals, ham, cheese, bread and preserves as well as tea and/or coffee). They are not quite ‘huts’, like you might expect, but then I wouldn’t call them hotels either. Some huts are better, but at the Britannia, there’s very little running water available (certainly not drinkable) and hence there are chemical toilets and no shower facilities. But then, this is offset by the fabulous views! 😊
I hope you enjoy these pictures and videos as much as Pete and I did taking them.