Ijental (1545m)

Paweł and I went on another snowshoe trip on Saturday. This time the weather forecast was pretty gloomy with snow/rain and significant avalanche danger. Paweł also needed to be back home by 6 to pick up his family from the airport. Thus we decided to play it safe and stay low and chose a route with many opportunities for bailing. We went to the Ijental.

Still in civilization.
Paweł. Säntis in the far distance.

The adventure started with trying to find a spot to park the car. We went up a few of the small roads servicing individual farms on the mountain. These were mostly cleared of snow. The operative term being "mostly". Once I stopped so we could get our bearings and decide where to go, we got stuck. My winter tires were not finding enough purchase to get us going uphill again. So I had to roll back down the single lane road in reverse. We only learned our lesson after this happened for a second time and finally gave up and parked at the church down in the village.

I like these solitaire trees. They seem to be telling a story of a long and proud life.
Sören coming up. Check out the high-heel mode on my snowshoes. Very convenient on steep ascents.

We followed a nice trail through the forest up to the ridge that we had picked as our route for the day. Along the way we met a young ski touring couple coming towards us. She was on skis, he on some kind of snowboard. The curious thing about it was that it didn't seem to have any bindings so he was essentially using it as a surfboard, riding it down the mountain by just balancing on it. Looked very difficult.

We skirted a small ski resort (a single drag lift) where some kind of special event was going on. Lots of hollering and shouting from a small crowd of spectators and a bunch of people dressed up in ancient (military?) uniforms, skiing old wooden skis. No idea what it was, but it looked fun and involved lots of tumbling down the slopes.

Past that we had the mountain to ourselves and were breaking trail along the ridge. We were both not feeling super strong and the snow was extremely sticky, making progress laborious. Thus we decided to forgo the final 100 meters of elevation gain and the only named summit on the ridge (Bremacher Höchi 1641m) and returned via the Ijental valley instead.

Despite the depressing forecast the weather held and we even had a few extremely hot moments when the sun broke through the clouds. I was actually looking forwards to some shade beneath the trees - rare on a snowshoe trip! We covered about 15 kilometers and 900 meters of elevation gain. Another nice day out. But then, you can never go wrong by going to the mountains ;-)

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