Saturday, May 19, 2012

Climbing the Mythen

 We've been talking about climbing the Mythen for years: you see them from the train as it heads past Schwyz and they just look fantastic. We decided to definitely do them this season as part of getting ready for the mountains, but up until now they've been a bit too snowy. Finally though, we've got a good weather forecast and mountains that look, from the webcams, mostly snow free. Off we go!
After a tram-train-train-train-bus trip, we start in Brunni along with five or six other people and head up to Holzegg. The path is pretty muddy at times, but the going is otherwise good. At Holzegg the path takes us up a bit more, across some snow fields, to the foot of the Grosser Mythen. 
approaching the Grosser Mythen
Now it's just 400m of climb along a really nicely made path (mountain-hiking lite :-) up, up, up to the peak. We're not, by any stretch of the imagination, alone on the path, but it's not too crowded yet. It's clear that the path hasn't been clear of snow that long: there's still some maintenance work going on, but there's no problem at all reaching the top. We've made good time: 1:35 from Brunni, the signs say 2:20.

Up top it's not too crowded yet, but you can tell that the guys at the Bergrestaurant are looking forward to kicking off the season with a good day; hard to imagine what it must be like up here during high season. We enjoy the views and have lunch, scope out the Kleiner Mythen (looks like there are ~10 people up top... looks nice!), and then head down. On the way down we pass a bunch of people heading up; it's going to be crowded up there!
the Kleiner Mythen from the top of the Grosser Mythen
Back at Holzegg we turn left and walk along the base of the Grosser Mythen towards Zwüschet Mythen. There's a bit more snow on this path (north-east exposure, base of the mountain, no surprise there), but the going is still good. At some point we pass a guy doing maintenance work: shoveling snow off the path. Only in Switzerland! :-)

At the still-under-construction new Alp Zwüschet Mythen the path takes us up through the fairy-tale woods to the cross and saddle of Zwüschet Mythen. From here there's a clear trail that leads us up, up, up the Kleiner Mythen. This is our first real mountain path of the year: it's quite steep and it's clear that the numbers coming this way aren't that huge. It's warm and the sweat is flowing quite nicely by the time we hit the Vorgipfel.
Kleiner Mythen from the Vorgipfel
We take a short water and snack break and admire the peak (still a good number of people up there) and the seeming complete lack of a path heading up there (that's mostly Greg). From here onwards it gets somewhat scrambly with some nicely exposed bits; good adrenaline for Greg. The "standard" way isn't 100% clear in the last bit, but the climbing course stands us in good stead and we're up top without any real trouble. The big group up there is a set of five guys working: setting big bolts in the ground (a new cross?), otherwise there are just two other people who leave not long after we arrive. Random difference between the two Mythen: on the Grosser Mythen there are jackdaws everywhere (very cheeky jackdaws), on the Kleiner Mythen it's swallows. After a short sandwich break (not too long up top, Greg's spending too much timing thinking about what climbing down the first bit is going to be like) and some enjoying of the views, we head down. We find a route down that's scrambly, but a lot better than the one we came up (yay!), head back to the Vorgipfel, and then down, down to the saddle.
scrambly bits between Vorgipfel and Kleiner Mythen
After consultation with the SBB app and the clock we decide to head back to Brunni. Ten minutes after getting back down we're sitting on the bus to start the bus-train-train-train-tram ride home.

A really nice day in the mountains. Quote of the day from Andrea: "Well, now we've done the first T5 of the year, so we don't need to think about it anymore."

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