Gross Chärpf (2794m), attempt, returned from ~2605m

Ok, I'm officially pissed at the weather now. We had rain pretty much every single day of July. Today was no different. The trail is rated T5 (challenging alpine level hike) with the last leg on the ridge having no trail at all and requiring some easy climbing. It turned out difficult for all the wrong reasons:

  • I was sloshing through deep mud created by cows using the soaked trail
  • visibility was next to nil so finding trail markers turned out to be quite difficult
  • ever tried walking on dripping wet grass on a steep incline?
  • patches of heavy wet snow hid even more of the trail and presented another slippery slope
  • apparently the mountain is famously dangerous for its rock falls. I can confirm this. Pieces of rock would come off the wall regularly

Anyway. I'm adventurous, not suicidal. Soaked to the bone with a feeling as if I was walking in buckets of water instead of hiking boots I decided to turn around after reaching the summit ridge and climbing parts. Incredibly frustrating.

Near the top it was windy with temperatures just above freezing. I'm glad I did bring my gloves this time ;-) ~1550m elevation gain, ~1700m descent, ~20km in 8.5 hours. At least the Swiss public transportation system didn't let me down. 5 minutes after I reached the road a bus picked me up and I was on my way home.

Sooo close!

All pictures:

2011-07-30 Gross Chärpf


Brisen (2404m)

After spending the last weekend in Germany with Anita (a night on the Reeperbahn and a day in the Sauna Oasis) Helmut visited this weekend. Ignoring an abysmal weather forecast of nonstop rain we went for a hike up the Brisen (2404m). We only had about 4 hours of rain. On the other hand it was actually snowing (in July!) on the ridge and summit for about another hour. So we got thoroughly drenched. And I learned to pack gloves for the next time. I always ignored the warnings and considered them overly cautious but almost failing to take pictures on the summit because my fingers were frozen stiff taught me a lesson ;-)

We spent most of the time in dense clouds, so unfortunately couldn't enjoy the vistas. Well prepared and planned as my mountain expeditions typically are, we took the wrong way up the summit (a "blue" difficult trail instead of the "red" easy one) and descended into an entirely wrong valley as well. In my defense the Post Auto dropped us off at the wrong stop in the morning and my hastily printed map was turned into a useless ball of paper slush by the rain. So there!

Nevertheless we walked the originally planned distance and height almost to the decimal point. About ~22km, 1600m elevation gain and 2000m descent. Hiking from 8 in the morning to about 5:30 in the evening.

All in all it was still an enjoyable experience - I've learned something and we moved Helmut's personal boundaries a bit (he has this thing with steep cliffs ;-) ).

We spent Sunday sight seeing in Zürich.

Summer, where are you?!

2011-07-23 Brisen Hike


Fronalpstock (2124m)

The weather forecast for today had rain and thunderstorms on the menu. I was lucky though and the first drops of rain fell exactly the second I sat down in the train on my way back. It turned into quite a ferocious thunderstorm too, so I was glad to be back down from the mountain. Anyway, for the facts: Fronalpstock (2124m), 1679m elevation gain and loss, 21.5km walked, 7 hours total time (starting late at 10:00).

There was some sort of airshow going on in the valley. Terribly annoying as fighter jet engines in a narrow valley surrounded by near vertical cliffs produce monstrous noise and echoes. So much for the quiet hiker idyll. But I guess I had a prime spot for viewing the action without paying for it ;-) Formation flights, helicopters and jets doing some looping stuff and lots of fake smoke.

The mountain itself was kinda boring. Summit buzzing with insects.

All fotos:
2011-07-09 Fronalpstock


New toys!

I don't have ceiling lights, a shower curtain or furniture yet, my desktop computer is dying, but I bought some new mountain gear - one needs priorities ;-)

2011-07-08 Equipment

BTW, I have some Google+ invitations now, so if you don't want to buy them on eBay just holler ;-)


Federispitz (1865m), Plättlispitz (1764m)

The plan for today had Tim, Friederike, Jan, Christian and me hiking some smaller mountain. Unfortunately that shouldn't happen. Friederike broke a toe, so she and Tim were out. Although we intended to start no earlier than 11:00 Jan overslept and was unreachable (shame on you!). So it was down to Christian an me.

We picked the Federispitz (1865m), since it isn't too difficult and reachable in little more than an hour from where we live. We arrived at the trailhead around 13:00, climbed up to the Federihütte, had some breakfast and summitted Federispitz and Plättlispitz (1764m). The latter one doesn't really count though because it was part of our regular way down. Nevertheless, it sports a name and a summit cross, so what the heck.

The weather was as good as you can possibly hope for, with a slight breeze, a clear sky offering phenomenal long distance views and temperatures around 18-20°C. A lot of paragliders were flying around. One in particular circled us several times when we were at the summit and we even had some sort of shouted "conversation" with him. This looks like a fun pasttime I should really try sometime.

All told we spent about 7 hours on the mountain, hiking for a distance of around 16km and 1460m elevation gain and loss. Definitely a fun trip and I'm glad we went despite the original plan not panning out.

All photos here:

2011-07-03 Federispitz, Plättlispitz Hike


Chaiserstock (2515m), Fulen (2491m), Rossstock (2461m)

Today I intended to hike with our resident Kiwi hacker Ben. He chickened out at the last minute though because he got blisters from "playing with the girls". Too bad for him. So I went alone. I started very early, getting up before 6. Public transportation didn't leave me much choice in the matter because the valley I was going to is only reachable by "Postauto" which goes there twice a day (once in the morning and once in the afternoon). There is a saying in Hiker circles "Morgenstund hat Blei im Arsch". I can definitely identify with that!

In any case, I went on to hike up Chaiserstock (2515m), the highest peak of the range. It's graded as a T4, high level alpine hike. It doesn't really merit that rating except for some small climbing parts and a narrow exposed ridge just below the summit. All well secured with cables and chains. The view from the top was disappointing because I was basically standing in a soup of clouds.

I still had some juice left, was hoping for the clouds to clear up and thought now that I'm here I may as well benefit from having started early. So I went on to climb the next peak of the range, the Fulen (2491m). Still no real luck with the view. Fuck it - next one. Rossstock (2461m). At the end of the day I had gained almost 2000m in height. My record for this year (for now ;-)).

The whole area seems to be prime climbing territory, with the Liderner hut suitably situated as base camp and the Schmal Stöckli rock needle that was obviously designed for climbing. And indeed I spotted some folks chosing the vertical route to the top. Apparently there are some very nice routes up the Chaiserstock as well. I shall return one day...

I descended down the Rossstock Lücke and through the Seenalp and Hürtital towards Muotathal. A looong trail. At the end I totalled about 27km, 2000m elevation gain and 2600m elevation loss. I left my house at 6 in the morning and returned at 10 in the evening. 5 hours spent on public transportation and 11 hours of straight walking/scrambling. I was pretty much wasted. So wasted in fact that a random stranger at the train station walked up to me, looked at me and said "go to sleep". Which I found kind of amusing ;-)

I have encountered lots of animals this time. Marmots and an assortment of domesticated ones. I had a lot of fun with a group of what I called my "Commando Sheep". You see, most sheep would run away from me when I approached. Not this group. They actively stalked me and followed me around for several hundred meters. One in particular trailed me so closely it literally stepped on my foot several times. Maybe they liked the salt on my skin or something - they kept licking.

My hikes are getting surprisingly expensive for public transportation alone. I seriously consider buying a "Generalabonnement" which is essentially a flat rate for a whole year. Spending ~3000CHF once may well be cheaper than ~70 a weekend. I don't know if I can keep this up through the winter (skiing?). On the other hand - I have pretty much exhausted the mountains close by, so I need to go further each time ;-)

The count is Germany 3 points, New Zealand 0 - your turn Ben!

All images here:

2011-07-02 Chaiserstock, Fulen, Rossstock Hike