Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tour around the Piz Segnas and Piz Sardona Day 1: Elm->Sardonahuette

The forecast for the weekend called for nice weather on Saturday and rain coming from the West in the afternoon of Sunday, so Andrea planned a tour in the East. Day one is a real Andrea special: 2:40 on trains and and bus and then 1700m of climb.

We get out of the very full bus in Elm and head out of town, past the camping spot, to the gondola station. We're not wimping out this morning, so we walk past the gondola and start our way up. The path is initially through woods, then through the really pretty gorge of the Tschinglenbach, then back to fields. Nicely climbing, climbing all the way. Past the top of the gondola station, then steeply up on some serepentines, across rivers, through meadows, over rocks, etc. A very nice climb under the jagged teeth of the Tschingelhoren (no, not that one) with the Martinsloch ("There's a hole in my mountain, dear Liza, dear Liza, there's a hole in my mountain, dear Liza, a hole") frequently visible. After around 900m of climb we do a water and snack break to rest the legs a bit and then continue up, up, up. At some point the landscape becomes purely alpine: only rocks in front, all the green is behind us... nice. :-)

Finally, after four hours of climbing we reach the little hut ("Mountain Lodge") at the pass. We get lucky and find a place to sit so that we can enjoy the view with our cool beverages and sandwiches. We haven't seen that many people coming up our side, but on the other side of the pass you can take a gondola up so that only a couple hundred meters of climb are necessary, so it's not empty up here.

After our lunch break we head down the other side. The first part is pretty steep and secured with some iron hoops set into the rock, but then we more or less follow the contour lines around the bowl. The views of the Martinsloch, the Tschingelhoren, the Piz Segnes, etc. are panoramic and excellent. Onwards we go, around the corner and into the Segnas Sura, through rocks and past cows. We have another break in the sun with a great view of the Trinserhorn across the valley and the glacier and Piz Sardona at the end of the valley. Onwards, through the valley, across a couple rivers, then up a bit to the Fuorcla Raschaglius. Here, and on the easily walkable peak just above, there are plenty of people: there's a gondola up to the top on the other side. :-) Down the other side we go, and then around the corner. When the path heads off downwards towards Bargis we abandon it and continue more or less level, following traces of a trail and cow paths up the Val Sax. There's not really a path, but our destination, the Trinser Furgga is clear as is the last bit of trail to the top of the saddle. At the end of the valley we head up that bit of trail and climb to the saddle. Just before the top Greg notices a frog hopping along the trail. ~2500m seems like an unlikely spot to meet a frog, but there you go. The last few vertical meters are spent coming up with species names like "Swiss Mountain Frog", "Alpine Frog", etc.

From the pass we have excellent views in both directions and can see the Sardonahuette for the first time. The path is very steep and, in the first 5-10 vertical meters, rather loose and scary. As is usual in these situations, Andrea goes first and Greg follows. After the first bit the path is in much better shape: what would otherwise be scary as hell is easy and fun. Someone clearly spends a lot of time taking care of the path. Around the end of the valley we go, descending all the time, until we reach the hut. The hut is full, but the family that runs it is friendly and very well organized and we have a very pleasant evening.

A very, very, nice day of mountain hiking!

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