2012-04-22

Gufelstock attempt

Thinking I could start the hiking season early this year I got up at 5 o'clock in the morning and took the train to Engi. The weather forecast was nothing to get excited about: cloudy with periods of rain. Turned out to be true, except that the rain came in the form of big and sticky snow flakes once I passed 1500m altitude. Initial progress was good and I was well on track to beat the posted time of 4.75 hours to the summit. It should not be. The snow cover on the ground got deeper and deeper and was of a very treacherous kind: wet and heavy on an icy surface. That makes for a very slippery combination and I had to fight for every single step, despite using my snow shoes to good effect. On top of that I was only approximately on trail and finding my way got more and more difficult and dangerous. While I could follow a single line of footprints in the snow initially their creator bailed after the first hut, leaving me with virgin snow cover and no trail markers. While there are usually trail markers on the trees and even signposts at junctions this particular trail relied entirely on markers on the ground. Very useful under a meter of snow. Checking with my GPS and map I could tell that I was only mere meters besides the trail and yet couldn't see any trace of it. After some scrambling and checking the way ahead I finally decided to call it quits and turn around. Just to mock me the clouds cleared up and revealed a beautiful blue sky on my way down.

~14km, ~900m up and down, turn around point ~1750m

Gulderstock
Grüenen shelter - very nice hut. Snowing outside.
It might not look it, but that's frickin' steep and a piece of work!
The weather mocking me.
Deer