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
3. No comment!