From Leukerbad to Albinen via the historical Albinen ladders
Climb the dramatic sequence of wooden ladders on the historical trade route between the villages of Albinen and Leukerbad.
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Highlight of this walk is the ascent of a sequence of eight wooden ladders, which once provided the only link between Leukerbad and Albinen. The latter is a traditional Valais village of ancient wooden chalets blackened by sunshine. The two-hour hike from Leukerbad to Albinen is only for those with a good head for heights. Starting in the village of Leukerbad, the trail leads southwards and through the Lochwald forest to reach the beginning of the thrilling ascent of the Albinen ladders. These once provided the only link between Leukerbad and Albinen, and were primarily used for the transport of agricultural goods. It is also likely – although unproven – that the ladders formed an extension of the Gemmi Pass route linking the Kander valley with the Rhône valley. The sequence of ladders represents a climb of about 100 vertical metres and ends by the base station of the Flaschen–Torrentalp gondola. Here, the Restaurant Flaschen offers a welcome break for refreshments. The trail continues, partly through forest, partly through fields and meadows, passing above the hamlet of Dorben before reaching Albinen. This is a typical Valais mountain village with many well-preserved houses and barns. Only the village church is built in modern style, as its predecessor was destroyed in an earthquake. The population was largely self-sufficient until the mid-20th century; the access road was built only in the 1960s. To make the most efficient use of the land available, locals built their houses very close together. As all the gables of the houses face the same way, across the valley, the village has a remarkably uniform appearance, and is today a heritage site of national importance. From Albinen, hikers can either continue in the direction of the mountain villages of Guttet-Feschel and Erschmatt or return to Leukerbad. In order to follow a different route back, walkers can return to Leukerbad via Torrentalp and another dramatic passage, the Wolfstritt. Highlights: The dramatic Albinen ladders, which once provided the only link between Leukerbad and Albinen. The unspoilt mountain village of Albinen with its well-preserved wooden houses dating from the 17th and 18th