Vilan (2375m)

For this hike Afroz and I recruited another one of our colleagues: Razvan would join for the first time. We got lucky and the first day of October was a beautifully sunny day. More than that, it was a temperature inversion day, where it was warmer high up than low down. This meant that we'd rise out of the fog and have a rolling layer of clouds below us. Great atmosphere (figuratively and literally ;-P).

Nice garden, building and statue!
Secluded steep path leaving the village.
Afroz looking serious.

Going by my usual algorithm of "any hike I haven't done yet is great" we chose the Prättigau in Grisons this time around. We started in the tiny village of Seewis and headed up to Vilan via its long East ridge. Nice trail, not very exposed but still offering great views. Along the way there were some doubts whether the route might be too long and whether some/all of us would turn around. Strategic deployment of gummi bears patched over these temporary lapses of motivation and judgement and all three of us reached the summit together.

Others taking advantage of the weather: glider plane being dragged up.
Afroz and Razvan coming up.
A paraglider.

My original plan would have us go back down towards the North and circle the entire mountain to arrive back at the car. Given the current time and energy levels this seemed a bit too ambitious. So we decided to go towards the cable car at Älpli. This was a fine alternative if it wasn't for two minor snags: first, one is meant to reserve the cable car in advance to get a spot. It's a tiny and slow one. Second, it gets us down to an entirely wrong village, far away from our starting point and car.

Afroz' favorite mountain range, the Churfirsten, peaking just above the clouds.
Coming down the steep grassy slopes on the Northern side.

The eventual solution was for Afroz and Razvan to have a coffee on the terrasse of the cablecar top station, waiting for the next available slot, while I hiked down to get the car. I literally ran down the mountain and managed to reach the base about the same time as the other two got a ride - about 1100m of descent in an hour. When I volunteered for this little extra mileage I only eyeballed the map and glimpsed over the fact that the trail went down too far, adding a 500m climb back up to the car. The mountain has an odd shape where one needs to navigate a huge ravine and cliff by descending all the way to its base and then climb back up the other side. It's a beautiful trail, but at this point I was out of water and soon out of daylight. And I was still moving as fast as a I could in order to not make the others wait for too long. I arrived back at the village by dusk and was greeted by Alphorns playing.

Great day out. Several personal records broken in the group in terms of elevation gain in a day or fastest descent time ;-P

Looking back at our descent route.
Rega flying someone off the mountain. Lots of action in the sky today...
This was after I left the others on the terrasse of the cafe. The trail went right through this group of male (!) cattle. Made me a tad uneasy. I have crossed many meadows with cows on them on my hikes, only once have they ever been aggressive. But just two weeks later Sandra would tell me a story of how one of her friends got trampled by cows so badly that when they finally found her she had to be airlifted to the hospital...
Natural picture frame.
Quite spectacular trail, cut into the side of the mountain.
Sun going down. Better hurry!
The red part is what we did together, the blue is my bonus sprint.

No comments:

Post a Comment