Saturday, September 03, 2016

A couple Glarner ridges

After a few weeks of doing mountaineering we were both in the mood for more of a hiking weekend. We haven't really done a long day yet this year and would be underway with light packs, so greg pushed for something with at least 2000m of climbing and some length. The forecast was good, so we were really spoiled for choice. We ended up picking a long ridge in the Glarnerland.

We start in Mitlödi and quickly end up in a very efficient climb up the East side of the valley (last time we were in this area we went one train stop further to Schwanden and went up the other side) on a mixture of forest road and path. It's all through the woods and nicely shady. At Achseli we start to follow the contour around, past Chli Gheist, and then climb up to Mittler Gheist where we do a food break while enjoying the very nice views. After lunch it's up, up towards Ober Gheist. Now we start seeing loads of blueberries by the side of the path, but unfortunately we don't really have time to stop and pick them (it's a long tour!). Past Ober Gheist, where a couple are processing the blueberries they have picked (damnit!) and then up, up more. Now we're following a track that's initially marked by newly planted trees and then later by stonemen, up, up until we reach the end of the Güntelchamm. Here we get a fantastic view of a really, really cool high plain (this is one of those "wow" moments that happens while hiking... so nice). We descend to the plain, realize that we're losing the stonemen, and stop to do a bit of route planning. We want to get up to the Breitchamm as soon as we can, but certainly after any of the really rocky bits that require climbing. So, based on what Andrea's read in a hikr report, we contour around on the blocks under the Breitchamm. It's fun walking and the views of the high plain really are nice. When we hit the grass flank above the Bei den Seelenen we continue along, now starting to climb, and basically pick the "logical" route along the steep flank until we come up onto the Breitchamm between p2395 and p2351, where we re-join the marked trail.

high plane underneath Güntelchamm
The trail takes us up a bit to the Gufelstock, where we do another quick food break and enjoy the views. Now that we're back on a marked path there are once again people around, but not too many. The next patch is a very, very nice stretch of ridge over the Höch and the Chli Höch and the Heustock to the Schwarzstöckli. This is a tick above T3 and has the great views you expect from a ridge hike. We do this relatively quickly since we've still got a ways to go and don't want to get to the hut overly late. From the Schwarzstöckli we continue along the ridge over the Wisschamm, cross the pass at Rotärd (the name makes sense when you see the big stretches of red rock/gravel/earth up here), and then turn off at the pass at p2224. Now we start descending, down, down, to the Fronalppass, past Ober Stafel, and then steeply down (unfortunately on a farm road now) to Mittler Stafel. Further along the road until we get to the Naturfreundhaus where we're staying the evening. We check in (very surprising to discover we're the only guests given how everything else in the area seems to be full), have showers (!), and then enjoy views, beverages, and dinner on the terrace before heading off to bed.
along the ridge
We wanted a long tour and got it; stats for day 1: about 20km, 2250m up, 1390m down, 8.5 hours of hiking (including breaks).

On Sunday we set out after a good breakfast under blue skies. The path starts by taking us along the road  a bit and past the restaurant before turning off and starting to contour around under the Fronalpstock, towering high above us. This ends up being a really lovely path through woods with big moss covered boulders all around. We follow it until Hofalpli and then turn upwards towards the ridge connecting the Fronalpstock to the Nüenchamm. We have a pretty good description of the route up here, but it turns out that the whole thing is (relatively recently) blue-white marked, so route-finding isn't a problem. We climb steeply, at first through a bit of wood, then just on grass, through mixed rock and grass, up, up, past a bunch of goats, up until we hit the Fedensattel. Nice views back towards Glarnerland, but now we can also see into the valley on the other side and the Ruchen again. We ignore the blue-white path down into the valley and continue along the ridge towards the Nüenchamm. This is also marked, but since we're on a ridge the only real markings required are those that show us when to go around an obstacle instead of over it. It's a nice ridge, mostly walking, a bit of easy scrambling (though there tend to be chains in these bits), at times quite narrow, lots of fun. We're surprised to find ourselves alone on the peak (the forecast is for rain to come late in the day and it's still early), but we aren't complaining. After a lunch break and some view enjoyment we start our way down, down, down along the red-white path to Habergschwänd. It's a nice path and we do encounter some people on their way up to enjoy the views. At Habergschwänd we have a second lunch (we get a table with a view; it's too much to resist!) and then decide to rent trottinettes  for the trip down to Filzbach instead of walking or taking the lift. It's our first time doing this and it's a fun way to get down to town. We haven't paid attention to the time, so in Filzbach we end up waiting a bit for the bus that starts the trip home.
along the ridge to the Nüenchamm

Aside: we're really going to have to figure out a good tour to the Ruchen, we'd admired it before and having it looming over us for two days was almost too much. :-)

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