Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dallenwil to the Buochserhorn via the Gitzitritt

 It's getting late in the season, but the forecast for Sunday was really good so we had to get out into the mountains. After flipping through two of the "More difficult hikes" books we decide to do the Buochserhorn. We'd noticed this lovely pyramid when we did the Stanserhorn tour earlier in the year and were enthusiastic about the short travel time to Dallenwil. The book calls for a start with the gondola, but we opt instead to do the whole thing on foot; nothing wrong with walking uphill. :-)

From the train station in Dallenwil we head a bit down river then cross over and start the climbing. Past the church, past houses, following a trail that mostly cuts the corners on the zig-zagging street, through somewhat muddy pastures, past cows, always up, up with great views all around (including fall colors!).  At around 1100m we leave the trail for the Buochserhorn and head towards Buochs. Briefly down, then turning on an unmarked trail to traverse the slope under the peak. This is a very nice narrow path that gently ascends through the woods. After a bit we reach the Ribihuisli where we do a quick snack and tea break before heading onwards on the blue-white marked trail up towards the ridge. Up, up we go with the path getting progressively steeper until we reach the Gitzitritt, where there's a cable to help get up through the very steep trees and rocks. There are enough holds on rocks and tree routes to make the cable mostly unnecessary, but I can imagine it's quite helpful on the way down.
On the Gitzitritt
Some quite enjoyable scrambling (luckily not muddy here!) later and we're on the ridge with nice views to both the north and south.

Now we just follow the ridge, sometimes in the open, sometimes in the woods, the last 300m up to the Buochserhorn, with its fantastic panoramic view including bits of the Berner Oberland to the west and the glaciers of the Glärnisch and Tödi to the east.
View from the Buochserhorn back along the ridge
We've been mostly alone all day (one other couple on the path towards the Gitzitritt and then a few people up on the ridge), but we're back in a seriously popular area now. We pick a comfy place to sit and enjoy the views and have lunch and a brief nap in the sun. After our rest, the trail leads us down the other side of the Buochserhorn, down, down to the fork at the Bleikigrat. Here we continue along the ridge, do some really nice scrambling in the rocks of the Rätzelen (dessert!), and come out on the Musenalper Grat. This broad grass ridge leads us to Ober Musenalp with its gondola station and restaurant.
After a cool beverage in the sun, we start the long way home. This shouldn't normally be that much of a pain, but the beautiful weather has lured lots of people into the mountains, so there's a wait at both gondola stations, a standing-room-only train from Niederrickenbach to Luzern and then a really crappy connection to Basel (RE to Olten, also standing-room-only, and then a transfer to Basel), so it ends up taking almost four hours to get back.

It was a really nice day in the mountains with great views and some fun scrambling mixed in.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Stöckalp to Frutt

Our original plan for the weekend was to do our first self-organized Hochtour and to head up to the Grassen with Yvonne. By the end of the week it became clear that the weather was not going to play along (rain/snow all day on Sunday), so we picked an interesting sounding day hike instead: Stöckalp - Älggi (geographic center of Switzerland) - Abgschütz - Frutt. We've done the first part of this before but we have good memories of it, and it was a while ago anyway.

We leave Basel at a reasonable time and do the train-train-bus thing to get to Stöckalp around 9:15. The weather is a dream: clear, blue skies, cool, perfect Fall hiking weather. All three of us like hiking uphill, so we all really enjoy the climb up through the trees, particularly after the other group that started at the same time as us turns off along the path to Chlisterli. At Stepfen we enjoy the first views (ooooooo, aaaaaaaah!) and then follow the path up further up the ravine and then up the side to the alp at Innenbach and then to the ridge at Bachegg. From here we can see down to Älggi with its very unusual layout (the houses right up against the cliff on the southern edge of the meadow). The parking lot is pretty empty: a promising sign. Down we go, across the meadow (luckily the marshy ground is mostly dry), and to the marker at the geographic center of Switzerland. A few pictures, a lunch break, and then we're on our way again.

Älggi Alp with the geographic center of Switzerland
The next bit takes us back across the meadow, along a fun path up the cliff, and then more climbing up to the very attractive lake at Sachsler Seefeld. Now some more climbing up the end of the bowl and then we're at the saddle (Chringengrätli). Great views from here across to the Berner Oberland (Mönch, Eiger, Wetterhorn, Rosenhorn, Dossen, Ranfenhorn, etc.), but it's incredibly windy so we don't spend too long in the pass itself. Down a bit, along the contour line, another nice steep climb, and then we're at the Abgschütz. Here we find a wind-sheltered spot to take a break and enjoy the views to the Southeast: across the Melchsee-Frutt to the Titlis, Wendenstöcke, Sustenhorn, Gwächtenhorn, etc. Not the Grassen though, that's blocked by the other mountains. We also have a very nice view of ridge that runs from the Hochstollen (just to our left) to the Rothorn: that's a must-do.
View from Abgschütz to Melchsee-Frutt

After a bit of descent we cross the valley floor to Frutt, have a quick beverage enjoying the views, and then take the lift down to start the trip back home. It was a great day with varied hiking, lots to see, and good weather. What more could we ask for?