It was a rather impromptu decision to hike up Mt. Titlis, something that wouldn’t have entered my imagination until few years back. It helped that few weeks ago we (our younger one and I) hiked some part of the way up (again, unplanned), and my untrained mountaineering brain assumed that the previous hike was half way through (it was one-quarters at best). And, that the hike becomes progressively steeper, the closer one gets to the summit.
Thankfully, we realized summit hike shouldn’t be attempted (at least, for first timers) without proper guidance, and were lucky to join Berg Trophy (Titlis summit hike) event coming up in few weeks. Realizing there was no time to train, I tried to get some friends make a commitment that one cannot back off so easily. The trick worked, and two self-proclaimed expert hikers stood up in Engelberg valley to start the hike at 8.30am, still not realizing that we were the last one to go and most hikers were already half way up (event started 6am). A late start and a hiking plan focused around having breakfast and lunch enroute is a heady mix, as we were to experience very soon.
Engelberg to Trübsee:
Once we were done with collecting hiking cards, complimentary fruits, Titlis hiking bottle, and customary pics, we started off on the trail by the side of the river. Engelberg valley is perhaps one of the most idyllic setting to start the hike but soon enough the trail converged into the woods and was steep enough to shake off excess clothing and morning laziness on a chilly morning.
It takes few hikes to learn the importance of the right hiking gear (including clothes…), as every small item that one doesn’t need is a liability growing exponentially in proportion to the distance away from the base and physical exhaustion. Within 30 minutes, we felt rather good as the valley of Gerschnialp opened up at 4300 feet with green vistas, Engelberg in the backdrop, alpine farmer houses, and the ski school for beginners that still has enough snow in early and late winters for attempting initial descents and working on technique. We discussed coming back here during the coming Christmas break and having a ski holiday with the kids. And, with gentle slopes behind us, the first real taste of alpine hiking hit us hard as the cable cars raced ahead, and the last mile to Trübsee (while visible from a distance) went through never-ending steep curves, that we thought will take just 15 minutes. As if that’s not enough, we had some more humbling enroute, during a rather juvenile banter with folks whose first climb up the Titlis was 55 years ago. Finally, we reached Trübsee around 11am and for us the most exciting part was the breakfast – Swiss muesli, bouillon, bread and hot tea, with pristine views of Trübsee in the backdrop (the alpine lake that freezes in winters).