Saturday, June 23, 2018

Along the Niesengrat: Niesen to Steinschlaghore

Text to come


Stats: 15km, 1400m up, 2900m down

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Brienzer Grat

Text and Track to come

Day one:
Stats: 14km, 1900m up, 720m down

Day two:
Stats: 20.2km, 1470m up, 2450m down

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Climbing the Rigi Hochflue

We wanted to take advantage of the good weather and get out and do a nice multipitch route. We opted to go to the Rigi Hochflue. We'd seen some of the routes on our previous hike to the peak and it seemed like a nice combination of interesting approach and good climbing.

From Brunnen we walked to the Urmiberg gondola, took this up to Timpel (no need to hike up those 700m today), and then walked to Egg on a familiar path. From here we followed a trail that contours around the south face into the woods. This is clearly the route for climbers. :-)

The path takes us through the woods, down a bit, up a bit, until it starts to get steeper as we hit the base of the cliffs. Nice glimpse of a pair in front of us who are on the "ladder". At the "Nische" we put on our helmets and climbing harnesses and continue to the very exposed iron rungs that takes us straight up (a couple of points here where we weren't unhappy that there was a line to clip onto). At the top of the steps we continue to climb, following a well trod path, until we hit the base of the routes. It's fun to have a T5 approach. :-) The pair in front of us is at the base of two of the routes having lunch; that seems like a good idea, so we continue along a bit to find our own lunch spot. Over lunch we decide that we'll start on one of the easier (5a) routes instead of immediately diving into a 5c; it's been a while since we climbed on slabs and it's still pretty early in the season.

After lunch we head to the base of the route Edelwis, put on the rest of the gear, and start climbing. The climbing has great views, is a bit scary at times (we really aren't used to doing slabs), confusing once or twice (the bolts are pretty far apart, so finding the route isn't always easy), but overall quite fun. We're certainly glad that we picked the easier route... a 5c would likely have been too much. Up top we take a short break, pack away the climbing gear, and then follow the path up to join the blue-white hiking trail that leads to the Hochflue. Up top (not too crowded today) we eat the other half of our lunch and enjoy the views.

After eating we head down the ladder (same as last time) and head down the ridge. We pass some very cool faces carved into a dead tree and eventually get to Gätterli, which is fortunately open. Yay! After cool and refreshing beverages we follow the interesting path down to Goldau and the train back to Basel.

Good hiking, good climbing, good weather, good views, good day! :-)

Gear note: Greg did this in a new pair of approach shoes: Salewa MTN Trainer GTX. They did well.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Two prominent ridges above Oesingen: Leenflue and Ravellen

It didn't end up raining the night before and it's not supposed to rain today, so we decide to head back to Oensingen to finish the Leenflue tour that we had to break off last year due to rain. We start under a sunny sky (yay!) and repeat the same bits as last year. This time since we know what to expect we've opted not to take the climbing gear with us. The scrambling is just as nice as last year, the rock's nice and dry (though it is muddy, which requires careful footwork), and it's clear the views would be fantastic if the Alps weren't covered by clouds and haze. The rope slings that were in the exposed bit last year are now gone, but that probably actually helps psychologically. After the long flat bit where we descended last year) we continue to a bit more scrambling, do the narrow exposed ridge (very nice!), and then are up top sooner than expected. What a great ridge!
on the Leenflue ridge
We make the first bit of the descent more complex than it needs to be by heading directly off the end of the ridge before looping back around the nose and finding the path down. At the picnic area we have a snack and plan what comes next... we've only been going for 1.5 hours and it's clear that there needs to be more in the day.
look back at the Leenflue from across the valley

We have a Hikr report where the author continues by heading back down into the valley and then does the ridge up to the Ravellen and continues with the Roggenflue. At least the first bit of that sounds great, so we cross the field, and pick up a nice trail down through the woods to Badmatt. Cross the river, back a bit, across the big road, and then along the road a bit more until we hit the traces that lead up to the ridge, easy to find thanks to the picture on Hikr (we're so spoiled to have access to this resource!). Here it's steeply up through the woods until we hit the rocks of the ridge. Now we just follow the ridge (and the blue markers along the way) for some nice, straightforward (definitely easier than the Leenflue) scrambling on good rock with great views, including a really nice one back to the Leenflue). 
on the Ravellen
We do a lunch break sitting on the ridge near the flag pole (soooo nice to have lunch in the sun with a cool breeze and good views!) before continuing the last bit to the end of the ridge (we stick to the ridge, a bit above the path), picking up the path, and heading to Schloss Neu Bechburg.
on the Ravellen ridge, view back to the Leenflue

This is closed, so we decide to continue onwards and upwards a bit towards the Roggenflue. Up, up, on a nice trail through the woods that hits a forest road, then up, up until we get to the restaurant below the Roggenflue. This is open and the terrace is too nice to pass up, so we stop for a nice snack and refreshing beverage before continuing on our way down to Balsthal. This is a quite nice red-white trail, at first through the woods, then along the cliffs, then steeply down along the cliffs (nice view of some people climbing the nose of the cliffs here) before taking us past the old castle and into town near the Thalbrücke train station. We grab something to drink at the Denner and then wait a bit for the train that starts our way home.

A really nice day with some cool ridges. We definitely need to go back and do the ridge up onto the Roggenflue too... that's shorter, but is also supposed to be fun. :-)

Stats: 11.7km, 860m up, 830m down.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Jura hike: Corcelles to Passwang

The weather forecast wasn't what you'd hope, so we opted for a hike through the Jura instead of something more adventurous. This was something of a play-it-by-ear hike through a section of the Jura where we hadn't been before.

We start at the train station in Corcelles and then follow the road up the valley for a bit before moving off onto trail. This is through quite wet grass, so moving off the road is something of a mixed blessing and leads to wet legs and shoes... ah well. Up the valley go, through our first herd of cows of the year, over the fence (electrified, as g discovers... ouch!) and back onto the road when we get close, past the Alp at Paturage derriere, and then onto a forest road that climbs gently up the side of the valley. This is a really nice bit through the woods. At Mittleri Hell we switch back to a trail through the grass and climb up, up, up to the saddle at Oberi Hell with its nice view forward.

Instead of heading down through the wet grass, we follow the road around the bend and head down, down, through the gorge, past Seehof, and up to the farmhouse (including a fish farm) at Stäge. Up through a narrow bit of gorge, past the hut at Hüsligrabe, and then up, up, on a lovely trail through the woods. We do a lunch break in a nice clearing and then head up, up, out of the woods, up, up, to a pass and then down to the farm at Rotloch. Note: you can see Basel from this pass, which is pretty cool. Now we gently climb to the ridge and hit the Matzendörfer Stierenberg. Last time we came by here we had a nice lunch, but today there were no tables free inside and it was a bit too chilly and windy to eat outside... ah well. Onward we go, descending to the Scheltenpass, and then along a nice bit of very typical Jura ridge hiking (yay!) until we get to Vorder Erzberg. This is open, unlike last time, and with a couple free seats, but we decide that the dining room is too loud and hot and continue on. From here the first couple of km are well known from previous trips, but instead of turning down towards Neuhüsli we continue along a very, very nice path that contours under the trees along the face of the Sunnenberg. We climb a bit after emerging from the trees, have a nice second lunch break with a view just past p968, and then continue along the road and down to the bus stop at Passwang tunnel.

This was another very nice day of hiking in the Jura. Though we didn't see much sun, it never rained on us and we got a cool new line for the map. :-)

Track, the fact that it's almost a straight line is more or less an accident:
Stats: 23.4km, 1385m up, 1024m down