Making the mountain your home. A visit to the Turtmann Hut and its hosts, Magdalena and Fredy Tscherrig.
It’s a well-known fact that opposites attract, and the cosy, comfortable Turtmann Hut set in the rough and rugged terrain of the Valais mountains is a case in point. At a lofty 2,519 metres, the hut is run by Magdalena and Fredy Tscherrig and is popular with hikers and mountaineers. It’s the simplicity of life up here that the hosts and guests enjoy.
Turtmann Hut, Valais
The Turtmann Hut sits at the end of the pristine Turtmann Valley in the heart of the Valais Alps.
What an ascent!
Third generation on the mountain.
Fredy and Magdalena take care of their guests, whatever the time. They have played host to passing hikers and mountaineers for the last 23 years.
It’s certainly no nine-to-five job: they will happily get up at 4 a.m. to prepare breakfast and a thermos of tea for their visitors.
What’s their favourite time to be a host?
When hikers arrive, hot and sweaty, and order a cold beer or glass of white wine. The Turtmann Hut doesn’t have a steady supply of electricity, so the Tscherrigs can’t always serve ice-cold drinks. But the guests don’t mind at all.
Working at the hut is very varied.
Taking bookings, coordinating shopping trips, cooking, cleaning, making the beds, baking a Black Forest gateau – the speciality of the house and not to be missed.
Fredy and Magdalena Tscherrig and their staff make a great team. Everyone has their tasks, and even after all these years, the work is still fun.
A mountain hut with a history.
The Turtmann Hut was built in 1928. It undergoes regular renovation and was extended in 2000, and now has 74 beds. It offers a magnificent view of the Turtmann Glacier and over imposing mountains, including Bishorn, Barrwand and the Diablon massif.
From hut to mountain.
Aside from his job as hut warden, Fredy Tscherrig is also a mountain guide and accompanies guests on mountaineering trips and glacier hikes, usually in the Alpine surroundings of the hut.
Climbing ever higher.
The neighbouring mountain, the 4,153-metre Bishorn, is considered one of the easier 4,000+ metre peaks to scale. Even relatively inexperienced mountaineers can summit it with a mountain guide.
Alternatively, mountain hikers can tackle the Barrhorn, one of the highest peaks in Europe that can be reached without special mountaineering equipment, despite a height of 3,610 metres. From the Turtmann Hut, hikers can embark on a challenging but impressive one-day round trip to the summit, with or without a mountain guide.
A lesser-known highlight: the Turtmann Glacier
The steady murmur of the Turtmann Glacier.
The Turtmann Hut is open in winter, too, and mostly welcomes ski tourers. It used to be completely silent at night up here in winter, explain the Tscherrigs, as the glacier was completely frozen over. But nowadays, you can hear the rushing of small rivers and waterfalls all day and night, year-round, as the ice melts. The glacier has receded a lot already. When Fredy was little, it stretched all the way to Turtmann Lake.
At weekends and when the weather’s nice, it can get pretty busy at the hut, which means early starts and late evenings for the Tscherrigs.
The mountain beckons.
“After breakfast, everyone’s itching to get going and excited about the trip ahead. It’s an energy like no other,” Fredy says, before happily returning to the task at hand.
Hikes around the Turtmann Hut.
One hut, many possibilities. The ascent to the hut is easy and can be combined with a hike through the Turtmann Valley. The quickest way to reach the hut is the two-hour hike from the Vorder Sänntum car park.
- 3,610m a.s.l Height of the Üssers Barrhorn, one of the most popular hiking destinations from the Turtmann hut.
- 7–8 hours Duration of the round trip up and down the Barrhorn from the Turtmann Hut.
- 9km and 1,100m One way, the hike is 4.5 kilometres long and covers a total ascent of 1,100 metres.
- 2–3 days The ideal length of time to hike through the Turtmann Valley and up the Barrhorn.