Tällihorn (2684m), Wuosthorn (2814m), Börterhorn (2696m), Witihüreli (2634m), Jatzhorn (2681m), Jakobshorn (2589m)

Switzerland has been enjoying a stretch of stable good weather for about ten days. Anita and Leonie have been travelling to Germany to visit her parents. I have a weekend to myself. It'll be one of contrasts: I sleep in on Saturday and don't leave the apartment (or my desk chair for that matter) at all. My brother Richard and I indulge on a cooperative session of the role playing game Divinity: Original Sin II. My fitbit heart rate curve for the day is essentially flat. I make up for this on Sunday.

The handful of houses that comprise the village of Sertig Dörfli.
Fall colors!

Mark and I head for Sertig Dörfli above Davos in Grisons. I have suggested the modest goal of climbing the Tällihorn with an optional extension up the Wuosthorn. Neither one should be particularly difficult depending on the snow conditions. We quickly dispatch the 1000 meters of elevation gain and enjoy the second summit of the day in beautiful weather - not a cloud in the sky and it's warm enough to be in short sleeve shirts even at nearly 3000 meters of altitude. This after starting on frozen ground in the morning.

Sun coming up above our ridge. Tällihorn to the right.
Mark with a halo.

It's still only 11 am, so we spontaneously decide to continue along the ridge and try to tick off more summits. Our maps don't show any trails continuing from where we are, but we can spot a few (non-standard) markers. Without an idea of where they might lead us, or how difficult the path may be, we set out and follow the marks on the ridge.

One of many.
Mark brought self made cookies. Delicious!
Summit selfie.

It's very exposed terrain requiring full concentration and quite a bit of scrambling but we make good progress. Until we arrive at a near vertical drop. We scout the snow covered chute at its side but think better of trusting the thin layer of brittle snow and ice. For a while we stand on top of the drop and try to make up our minds of whether we should turn around and play it safe or risk climbing down. The climbing itself looks quite easy. It is however, extremely unforgiving. A loose rock or misstep here would lead to a 100+ meters tumble.

Contemplating our options.
Scouting the snowy chute before deciding on the direct approach instead.
Falling ill advised.

Mark takes heart and proceeds to make his way down. We both arrive safely at the base. It was a bit more risky and committing than I'd like. With no idea what lies in store for us along the rest of the ridge we hope that this was the last dicey bit. Things like this do drain mental energy ;-)

Hanging around.
Dischma valley.

Our trail markers suddenly point straight down a steep and narrow couloir. This is bad news as it's the wrong way for us and scrambling in couloirs is both uncomfortable (finding purchase on loose scree and steep grass) and unsafe (the natural line for any rockfall). We agree there's probably a reason people laid down the path where they did and the ridge ahead will likely become impassable. So we work our way down. We haven't seen, let alone met, any other people all day, so we are justified in our hope there'll be no one coming up below us. All the rock and dirt we are sending down the chute would be like deadly shotgun fire.

Looking down the annoying couloir. Much steeper than it seems in the photos!
We tried to stay semi close together so that rocks kicked loose by the follower would not have a lot of time to pick up speed.

At some point we decide that we've deviated from our original line enough and that the ridge above us looks passable again. So we leave the marked "trail" and follow animal tracks instead. After some climbing we regain the ridge and with that the final summit in this direction, the Börterhorn. There's still a lot of daylight left and we are still feeling strong so we cross back through the valley to where we first gained the ridge in the early morning. The idea is to trace a giant figure eight, or infinity symbol, ticking off every peak on the ridge.

Crossing the valley back to the saddle we started on.
Looking back. We climbed all the peaks on this ridge, including the snowy ones in the back and the one on the left.

Heading North from the Tällifurgga is a properly marked hiking trail leading to a monstrous cable car station at the Jakobshorn, one of Davos' ski resorts. Thus we meet a first handful of people. We speed along the now easy trail and tick every named summit, including minor ones with barely any prominence. We even take a detour into a dead end to the unsightly Brämabüel just to satisfy our completionist urges. From the Jakobshorn we follow a trail cutting diagonally across the face of the mountain back down to the village of Sertig we started in. Since this trail is reachable by cable car it is popular with mountain bikers. A group of about 15 of them speeds past us. We'll catch up with them 5 more times on our way down. Each time one of them is fixing a punctured tire and greets us with "Hello again. Hopefully for the last time today!". It becomes a running joke between our two parties.

Sun disappearing behind another ridge.
Not a bad day...

In the end we've climbed about a dozen summits spanning 25 km and 2000 meters of elevation gain. We hiked from dawn till dusk and there wasn't a single cloud in the sky the entire day. A rare day indeed! Two days later, on Tuesday, I took visiting teammates from Mountain View and New York up the Grosser Mythen in similarly great conditions. I think they left with a great impression of Switzerland ;-)

...not a bad day at all!

No comments:

Post a Comment