Friday, May 11, 2018

Sachseln to Giswil via the complete Arnigrat

It’s the time of year for training tours! Andrea had the really good idea to revisit the Arnigrat, this time doing the "full" version based on a couple Hikr reports. We weren’t quite sure what the conditions would be like on the approach or the ridge itself, so we brought along ice axes and gaiters.

The start from Sachseln was under a blue sky, with some scattered low clouds about. Up, up we headed out of town, crossing dew-covered fields that soaked our shoes (yay for GoreTex!) and pants legs, always up. Thanks to the really high humidity we both end up with soaked T-shirts too, but the temperature is nice and the going is good. After passing through a bit of cloud we come out into the sun around Oberbüelen. Not too long later we find a good, dry sitting rock and take a short break to eat something and enjoy the views. The first other people we’ve encountered today are above us, slowly making their way up. After the nice break we continue up up, past the two older gentlemen,  always up towards the Dössli and Höch Dossen.

Not too far below the Dössli we hit some steep snow and wet grass and are happy to have the ice axes with us. A bit of kicking steps and edging through the grass takes us to the ridge. From this point on we stay on (or very close to) the ridge. After a bit more climbing and following the ridge we hit the Hohmad, where we enjoy a lunch break with fantastic views in all directions.

From this point we are following the ridge for about 3km of pure fun. conditions are great, the views are fantastic, wonderful stuff. It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 10 years since the last time we did this (in fact, while discussing it during the hike we were convinced that it hadn’t been that long)! Certainly Greg is a lot more comfortable now than he was the last time. :-)

At the Wandelen we take another short break and eat a bit before starting our way down. First we have to come up with a route down though. Heading down to Stockalp doesn’t work because the  bus isn’t running yet. The quick route down to Sachseln isn’t doable thanks to a bunch of steep, ugly snow. We head over the Wengenhorn to the next saddle and that route down, but that has the same steep, ugly snow problem. Ah well, we can just head down the other side; so we start along the trail towards Chlister.

The first part of the route down ends up being a bit of adventure, with some steep grass slope descents to cut corners, a bit of steep down through the woods to get on the path, and then a path that is surprisingly tricky to follow (despite being marked green on the online map). Still, we make it down to a road which we then follow, for what seems like a very long time, until we hit Giswil. There we have plenty of time to buy some snacks and cold beverages before getting on the train and starting the trip home.

Stats: 23km, ~2370m up, ~2350m down. (Those height stats are somewhat suspicious, drawing the track on the map gives ~1740m of altitude change, but that doesn't seem like enough and the fact that the ascent and descent numbers are so close to each other is reassuring)

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