Monday, May 21, 2018

Two prominent ridges above Oesingen: Leenflue and Ravellen

It didn't end up raining the night before and it's not supposed to rain today, so we decide to head back to Oensingen to finish the Leenflue tour that we had to break off last year due to rain. We start under a sunny sky (yay!) and repeat the same bits as last year. This time since we know what to expect we've opted not to take the climbing gear with us. The scrambling is just as nice as last year, the rock's nice and dry (though it is muddy, which requires careful footwork), and it's clear the views would be fantastic if the Alps weren't covered by clouds and haze. The rope slings that were in the exposed bit last year are now gone, but that probably actually helps psychologically. After the long flat bit where we descended last year) we continue to a bit more scrambling, do the narrow exposed ridge (very nice!), and then are up top sooner than expected. What a great ridge!
on the Leenflue ridge
We make the first bit of the descent more complex than it needs to be by heading directly off the end of the ridge before looping back around the nose and finding the path down. At the picnic area we have a snack and plan what comes next... we've only been going for 1.5 hours and it's clear that there needs to be more in the day.
look back at the Leenflue from across the valley

We have a Hikr report where the author continues by heading back down into the valley and then does the ridge up to the Ravellen and continues with the Roggenflue. At least the first bit of that sounds great, so we cross the field, and pick up a nice trail down through the woods to Badmatt. Cross the river, back a bit, across the big road, and then along the road a bit more until we hit the traces that lead up to the ridge, easy to find thanks to the picture on Hikr (we're so spoiled to have access to this resource!). Here it's steeply up through the woods until we hit the rocks of the ridge. Now we just follow the ridge (and the blue markers along the way) for some nice, straightforward (definitely easier than the Leenflue) scrambling on good rock with great views, including a really nice one back to the Leenflue). 
on the Ravellen
We do a lunch break sitting on the ridge near the flag pole (soooo nice to have lunch in the sun with a cool breeze and good views!) before continuing the last bit to the end of the ridge (we stick to the ridge, a bit above the path), picking up the path, and heading to Schloss Neu Bechburg.
on the Ravellen ridge, view back to the Leenflue

This is closed, so we decide to continue onwards and upwards a bit towards the Roggenflue. Up, up, on a nice trail through the woods that hits a forest road, then up, up until we get to the restaurant below the Roggenflue. This is open and the terrace is too nice to pass up, so we stop for a nice snack and refreshing beverage before continuing on our way down to Balsthal. This is a quite nice red-white trail, at first through the woods, then along the cliffs, then steeply down along the cliffs (nice view of some people climbing the nose of the cliffs here) before taking us past the old castle and into town near the Thalbrücke train station. We grab something to drink at the Denner and then wait a bit for the train that starts our way home.

A really nice day with some cool ridges. We definitely need to go back and do the ridge up onto the Roggenflue too... that's shorter, but is also supposed to be fun. :-)

Stats: 11.7km, 860m up, 830m down.

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