Yearly Archives: 2016

Into Rätikon

July 8th

Itinerary:  Gargellen cable car upper station – Gafier Joch – St. Antönier Joch – Riedchopf, 2530 m – Plasseggenpass – Gruobenpass – Tilisuna Hut – Sulzfluh, 2817 m – Gemschtobel – Carschina Hut

Distance: 24,4 km
Time:  7 hours 35 minutes (plus 1 hour 50 for the stops)
Vertical distance:  1945 m uphill; 1835 m downhill

Good weather at first, then clouds slowly building up. Late start with Christoph after a good breakfast and taking the cable car at 8.30 a.m.  We climbed up to the Gafier Col we reached yesterday, then went north along the ridge and marked paths to the St. Antönier Col, where we arrived just before a large group coming up directly from the cable car.  Then on directly to the Riedchopf summit, where we were able to eat, drink and take photographs and leave just before the large group arrived.  We had to drop down over 500 m before being able to climb up again to the Plasseggenpass, then skirt around the amazing limestone rock formations of the Schijenflue, with a lot of up and down, before reaching the Tilisuna Hut for soup and beer.

We left the hut again at 3 p.m. for the Sulzfluh summit, mainly walking on limestone slabs and scree, and finally on snow, leaving our rucksacks about 20 minutes before the summit.  We were the last on the summit that day.  We went down the fairly steep snow couloirs and scree of the Gemschtobel – Christoph said it was the most enjoyable and least tiring descent he had experienced for a long time.  The sole of his freshly glued boot had held well all day.  Finally, we traversed under the imposing south face of the Sulzfluh to the Carschina Hut, reached in time for supper.


1.  Christoph on Riedchopf
2.  Schijenflue
3.  Dancing across a snow field

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Gargellen – twice!

July 7th

Itinerary: Schlappin – Rätschenjoch – Gafier Joch – Gargellen upper cable car station – Schlappiner Joch – Schlappin

Distance: 24.9 km
Time: 7 hours 55 minutes (plus 40 minutes for stops)
Vertical distance: 1750 m both uphill and downhill

We had a logistical problem with the car: we had to bring it round into the Austrian Montafon, without losing too much time. Finally, we booked rooms in Gargellen, made our circuit on foot to the Gargellen upper cable car station, then we returned to Schlappin to fetch the car and made the car journey to Gargellen in 2 hours

It was beautiful and sunny all day. Christoph and I left with the lightest rucksacks possible at 7.40 a.m. We climbed almost to Schlappiner Joch, where a well-marked path took us under the Schaffürggli to an unnamed col at 2618 m and shortly afterwards to the Rätschenjoch at 2602 m. Beautiful view of a large massif of white limestone, culminating in the Rätschenhorn. We descended some 300 m (in height) on soft, wet snow, following the Prättigauer Höhenweg, before making a steep climb to Gafier Joch, 2415 m, where we reach the border for the first time today. There follows an easy descent to the upper station of Bergbahnen Gargellen, also called Schafbergbahn, where we have a well earned beer!  The descent by cable car would have brought us out 250 m (in height) too low on the road to the Schlappinerjoch. So we walked down and went back up to this pass under sweltering heat.  Christoph found that the sole of his shoe was beginning to come off: emergency repairs with shoe laces and he managed to finish the circuit. The sight of the nice little lake in front of Berggasthaus Erika encouraged him to swim for a few seconds (water perhaps at 8°C).

We leave Schlappin by car and go to Pizolpark centre (Migros et al) in Sargans where a not very enthusiastic Mister Minit managed to glue the sole on again (for how long?)  We get to Gargellen (for the second time) in time for supper.


1.  Hallucinogenic mushrooms on cow pat
2.  Rätschenhorn
3.  No comment!

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July 6th

Itinerary:  Schlappin – Carnäira Joch – Hinterberg, 2682 m – Valzifenzer Joch – Schlappiner Joch – Schlappin

Distance:  22,3 km
Time:  6 hours 55 minutes (plus 1 hour 35 for the stops)
Vertical distance:  1610 m uphill and downhill

I left the very nice Berggasthaus Erika in Schlappin at 5 past 8 a.m.  The start was some 6 km of a gravel road up the valley.  I did not want to do this in mountain boots so walked in running shoes and put the boots and spare socks in my rucksack.  In the end this worked well – the shoes got wet in a grassy meadow and I was able to put on dry socks with the boots at the first col.  The Hinterberg was the only summit in the area I could do safely, going up steep grass and scree on the south side.  All other summits were either too rocky or only accessible up steep snow slopes,

Weather:  more cloud than sun, some cold wind (the forecast was sunny).

Before supper, I collected Christoph Brändle from Klosters Dorf station.  He accompanied me for day last year and will now be a good companion for the next few days.


1.  Kübliser Alp
2.  Selfie at Col Carnäira
3.  and 4.  Conversion of a path into a mountain bike highway

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Rest day

July 5th

Drove by car from Guarda to Schlappin (north of Klosters Dorf) via the Flüela Pass.  This means I have finished with the Engadine and the Silvretta!

A relaxing day?

July 4th

Itinerary:  Silvretta Hut – Scharte – Plattenjoch – Seetal Hut – Alp Sardasca (above Klosters)

Distance:  16,7 km
Temps:  7 hours 5 minutes (plus 1 hour 20 for the stops)
Vertical distance:  1120 m uphill; 1810 m downhill.

There was no guide available today to perhaps do the Gross Seehorn (which would have been very difficult given the amount of snow on the mountain and on the approach).  In fact, there is (soft) snow everywhere above 2400 m, except for the south-facing slopes.

So I left on my own at 6.30 a.m. to a linking col 400 m from the frontier called “Scharte” – not very original (Scharte means col)!  2689 m.  Down the other side (with a short cut) to the path to Plattenjoch, 2728 m, on the frontier this time.  I left some items behind a boulder on the way up to lighten my rucksack.

Unhurried descent to Alp Sardasca, from where a minibus (cheap at 4.45 p.m. if booked ahead) took me to Klosters for a train to Guarda, where I collected the car and found a place to sleep.


1.  View from the hut at 6 in the morning
2.  At the Plattenjoch
3.  Luckily there was a bridge!

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A fantastic day!

July 3rd

Itinerary:  Silvretta Hut – Signalhorn, 3207 m – Egghorn, 3147 m – Silvrettahorn, 3244 m – Rotflue, 3168 m – Rote Furka – Silvretta Hut

Distance:  12,2 km
Time:  round trip of 8 hours 40 minutes (of which the GPS indicated 2 hours 10 minutes for the stops – but some of this time was spent putting on and taking off crampons, roping up, taking photographs, etc)
Vertical distance:  1310 m uphill and downhill

Left the hut at 5.35 a.m. With guide David.  Fog at first but it cleared by 7.30 to become sunny, with low clouds in the valleys. Beautiful views all the rest of the day.

We managed a circuit of 4 summits on the frontier with all the connecting ridges.  Some interesting scrambling, steep slopes and knife-edge ridges of soft snow.  In all, a glorious day in the mountains!  Thank you David!

Only “negative” point, the boots did not dry out last night and with the wet snow we had wet feet all day.

David went down in the afternoon, leaving me on my own for another night in the hut.  Weather forecast is good for tomorrow.


1  David on col below Signalhorn summit
2  Piz Buin (on right) from Signalhorn
3  Signalhorn from Silvrettahorn

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Piz Buin

July 2nd

Itinerary:  Wiesbadener Hut – Piz Buin, 3312 m – Fuorcla dal Cunfin –  Silvrettapass – Silvretta Hut

Distance:  13,5 km
Time:  5 hours 40 minutes (plus 1 hour 20 for the stops)
Vertical distance:  1080 m uphill, 1180 m downhill

Left at 6.30 a.m.  Some sun, but mainly overcast and windy.  Piz Buin summit around 11.10.  No view as all in the fog, but were able to telephone!

The first ascent of Piz Buin was on July 14th, 1865, exactly the same day as the first ascent of the Matterhorn!

A lot of soft snow still, which made the ascent slightly easier, but the approach and the traverse to the next hut more tedious. Good work by guide David, who broke the trail for the traverse.

Reached the hut at 1.30 p.m.  Sonia left us a bit later to go down to Klosters and return to our home in Grandvaux, to be ready to return to Abu Dhabi tomorrow.

No mobile phone network nor wi-fi at the last two huts.  Good network here at the Silvretta Hut, so I was able to update the blogs (in one language).


With Sonia and David on the summit of Piz Buin




July 1st

Itinerary: Tuoi Hut – Fuorcla Vermunt – Dreiländerspitz, 3197 m – Wiesbadener Hut.

Distance: 9.4 km
Time: 4 hours 45 minutes (plus 1 hour 15 for the stops)
Vertical distance: 1010 m uphill, 820 m downhill.

As expected, the weather is quite good.  Some clouds and beautiful sea of fog in the valley.  Start at 6 a.m., summit at 10 a.m., at the hut at midday.  One advantage of having a guide is that one does not waste time finding the path and looking at the map and the GPS.

Good snow conditions, there were tracks and we did not need to put crampons.  A very nice climb successfully completed!

The Dreiländerspitz is the triple point shared by the three “countries” of the Grisons, Vorarlberg and the Tyrol. It is on the watershed between the Rhine and the Danube.

Bad weather

June 30th

We have arranged to meet a guide, David, this evening at the Tuoi Hut, the other side of the mountains.  The forecast of rain and the bad visibility preclude going there directly over the Jamjoch.  So:

Down to the car in Galtür, 8 km in 1 hour 30, partly in the rain.

Drive from Galtür to Guarda in the Lower Engadine, via Landeck, in 2 hours.  Rainy weather.

In the nice village of Guarda we have lunch at Hotel Meisser and take advantage of their wi-fi to update the blogs, send emails, etc.

Then we walk up to Chamonna (=Hut) Tuoi:  7,9 km, 680 m uphill and 20 m downhill, in 2 hours 5 minutes without stopping.  We arrive just before the next rain shower.  Later, the young guide David arrives.  We are the only guests at the hut!


June 29th

Itinerary:  Jamtal Hut – Kronenjoch – Grenzeckkopf (3048 m) – Pass Futschöl – Jamtal Hut

Distance:  13,5 km
Time:  4 hours 50 minutes (plus 1 hour 20 minutes for the stops)
Vertical distance:  990 m uphill and downhill

Good weather, some clouds on the ridges.  Left with Sonia at 7:50.  No special problems except we took all our climbing equipment with us, “just in case”, so our rucksacks were a bit too heavy.  A lot of snow still – we could not even attempt the Fluchthorn and nobody has climbed it yet this season – and we sank in up to our hips in the soft snow in some places (it did not freeze last night).  An enjoyable day, good for getting fit!