2016-04-24

Schlierengrat (1709m)

The weather forecast for the weekend was quite bad, with lots of rain and snow even at low altitudes. Yet Paweł was, in his own words, desperate. His two young kids usually prevent him from going on longer outings but this time his wife was travelling with them. Thus the four of us, Anita, Björn, Paweł and me, drove to Schoried in order to hike the Schlierengrat.

Enchanted forest.

It was snowing the moment we stepped out of the car. Leaving Zürich in the rain it felt like we had arrived in another world. A magical winter wonderland. The fresh green of spring and blooming flowers covered in fresh snow. It didn't take long before we were breaking trail through twenty centimeters of fresh powder in a schizophrenic world of flourishing vegetation and ice.

The poor flowers must feel deceived.
Anita scrambling up the scarp.

We scrambled up a pathless couloir, trying to find our own way before we planned to get onto the trail proper. This proved to be too tedious, so we abandoned that idea and stuck to the trail instead. Anita decided to strike out on her own at this point and stay in the valley, follow the Schliere river and meet up with us at the end.

Björn.
Paweł.
Starting on the ridge proper.

I remembered seeing this ridge from my last hike two weeks ago. At the time there was very little snow and I figured two weeks further and we'd only have to expect "patches of snow". This is how I announced the hike to the others when I planned it. My prediction turned out to be almost comically wrong. Or, as my companions so pointedly remarked, yes, there was only a single, very big, patch of snow. We were breaking trail on the ridge all the way.

Once we reached the end of the mountain range and came back down to the valley we met back up with Anita in the single open restaurant. A quick meal and we parted ways again. Anita waiting for the bus while we returned to our starting point, this time following the river Anita came up on. Her lonely footsteps in the snow were almost completely covered again, it was snowing so hard.

It turns out the bus is only running in the summer months, but Anita got lucky and hitched a ride in a police car. Must be the girl bonus. Earlier, on the way through the valley, a random farmer invited her in for a coffee. "It's such a long way!". She declined ;-)

One tree white and in bloom, the others white with snow ;-)

We covered around 32km and 1500m elevation gain. Fantastic atmosphere in great company. The only downer is that the knee of my bad leg acted up on the way down. This happened for the first time ever during a hike four weeks ago and really pisses me off. It became so bad that my gait deteriorated to a painful limping hobble. Anyway. "Tritt sich fest".

Thanks to Paweł and Björn for donating their photos!