Travel
2020 Travel: Hiking Swiss Alps
2019 Travel: Hiking 4 Days in Swiss Alps, Furka & Grimsel
2019 Travel: Hiking 5 Days Gotthard Region
2016 Travel
2015: France & Italy
2014: Central Europe
2013: France & Italy
2012: Italy & France
2011: Europe: Three Tours
2010: India
2009: France: Two Tours
2008: Tour de Romandie
2008: Zug - Bern - Zug
2008: Strasbourg
2008: Europe
2007: France
2005: France & Italy
2004: USA: Denver - Sedona
Travel 2004 Marseille
Travel 2004 La Gomera
Travel 2003 Sardegna
Travel 2003 La Gomera
Travel 2002 Korsika
Travel 2002 Bordeaux
1998: Switzerland
1997: USA
1996: USA: Colorado & Arizona


"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

Nelson Mandela
from "Long Walk to Freedom" 1995

2020 Travel: Hiking Swiss Alps

written by Rene K. Mueller, Copyright (c) 2020, last updated Sat, July 18, 2020

Updates

Sun, July 12, 2020: Brief diary & photos, and reflection.

Quick Facts

Date: June 27 - July 10, 2020

Duration: 2 weeks

Distance: ~200km

Elevation: 2000m - 2700m

Countries: Switzerland

Villages: St. Gotthardpass/UR, Olivone/TI, Ilanz/GR, Elm/GL, Weisstannen/SG, Sargans/SG

Mountains/Passes: St. Gotthardpass, Sellapass, Pass Maighels, Bornengopass, Lukmanierpass, Greinapass, Diesrutpass, Panixerpass, Muotatalsattel/Heubützlipass, Heidelpass

Camping: Wild (100%)


Hiking 2020 Swiss Alps Map



Greina Plaines - most beautiful


Heubützlipass

Brief Description

After years cycling with a recumbent, I switched to slower pace with hiking and explore more close region where I reside: swiss alps.

I started at St. Gotthardpass at 2000m elevation and continued for a few days near that same elevation hiking east, and only descend to villages to buy food again after 4-5 days (Olivone/TI, Ilanz/GR, Elm/GL) otherwise stay up in the mountains. The beginning of July 2020 there were just a few snow fields mostly at northern slopes and some steep sections were more tricky to hike over. I visited breathtaking places, most beautiful scenery up in the mountains at 2000m or more elevation, it wasn't highest alpine but high enough for my preference.

Impressions & Highlights

beneath Unteralppass ~2400m
2020/06/28 13:16
2020/06/29 09:58
2020/06/30 14:43
2020/07/01 13:53
2020/07/02 07:20
Campo Blenio / Val Camadra
2020/07/03 10:44
2020/07/04 08:19
Lake of Pigniu
2020/07/06 11:54
2020/07/07 12:06
Muotatalsattel crest (narrow hiking path)
2020/07/09 08:19

Saturday 27.6. 2020: St. Gotthardpass 2100m

At the evening I arrived at the St. Gotthardpass and pitched my tent apprx. 10 min walk away from the hospiz / mountain hostel. 22:00

Sunday 28.6.: St. Gotthardpass 2100m - Giübin 2750m - Sellapass 2700m - Unteralppass ~2400m

Leaving 7:00, beautiful blue sky, I head toward Giübin mountain, first snow first fields, wide view. I skip the snow covered peak of Giuebin and descend further. Offline maps helps as the path is covered by snow. Steep descent, but I detour below the Unteralppass, blue marked path (climbing path). 12:00, about 14:00 pitch my tent, it's windy, more clouds, 18:00 first rain, and through the night.

St. Gotthard
2020/06/28 06:55
2020/06/28 06:55
Lago della Sella
2020/06/28 07:47
2020/06/28 07:47
2020/06/28 07:59
2020/06/28 07:59
near Giübin
2020/06/28 08:07
2020/06/28 08:16
2020/06/28 08:33
2020/06/28 08:51
2020/06/28 09:13
view toward Leventina
2020/06/28 09:16
2020/06/28 09:16
2020/06/28 09:16
Sellapass 2701m
2020/06/28 09:58
Valley Wilde Matten, Unteralppass & Pizzo Barbarera
2020/06/28 10:04
beneath Unteralppass ~2400m
2020/06/28 13:16
2020/06/28 13:16

Monday 29.6.: Unteralppass ~2400m (Restday)

It stormed through the night and rain - dark misty sky - around 9:00 the sun briefly comes through. I stay in the tent until noon, the sky slowly clears. I decide to talk my own route tomorrow in order to maintain elevation without descending further.

2020/06/29 09:38
2020/06/29 09:58
2020/06/29 09:58
2020/06/29 12:05
2020/06/29 16:17
2020/06/29 17:39
2020/06/29 17:40
2020/06/29 17:41

Tuesday 30.6.: Unteralppass - Pass Maighels 2420m - Pass Bornengo 2680m - Valley Cadlimo 2570/2400m

Slept well, 7:00 packing, 8:00 leaving on my own route, keeping 2400m elevation without descending to Vermiggelhuette, but walk near Wildenmatten und Porggeren. Rather climbing up steep but doable I reach near the Pass Maighels (~50m near by). Quick 5min rest then continue steep on snowfield to Pass Bornengo. The descent then is hard, no solid ground but big loose stones, almost takes me 1hr until the junction to ascend again. The path is in a terrible condition and signalisation is bad as well. Steep ascend, with passages to climb with hands. About 14:00 I reach Capanna Cadlimo SAC/CAS and continue mild descend until I reach Val Cadlimo, about 50m above the trail I pitch the tent. 16:00, about 8 hrs hiking non-stop I'm exhausted. 17:00 eat dinner, washing arms and face and drink plenty water. 19:00 resting.

2020/06/30 08:19
2020/06/30 09:18
near Pass Maighels (altnerative route)
2020/06/30 09:18
2020/06/30 11:00
2020/06/30 11:01
2020/06/30 11:26
2020/06/30 11:26
2020/06/30 11:34
ascend to Pass Bornengo (north to south)
2020/06/30 11:36
Pass Bornengo 2680m
2020/06/30 12:11
2020/06/30 12:11
2020/06/30 12:38
2020/06/30 14:43
Capanna Cadlimo SAC/CAS
2020/06/30 14:43
2020/06/30 14:51
2020/06/30 15:07
reached Valley Cadlimo
2020/06/30 17:10
2020/06/30 17:11

Wednesday 1.7.: Valley Cadlimo ~2400m - Lukmanierpass 1917m

6:00 awake, mild night, was covered sky, the sun barely comes through. 8:00 I leave the site, about 40min later I meet the shepherd Nicola, whose cabin is like an altar of a buddhist temple. He is very devoted to the tradition, we find some common ground: his background is non-veda tibetan buddhist tantric teachings, whereas I'm more esoteric/veda affirming inclined to put some terms or labels. He devotion contradicts the non-attachment teachings of the buddhist tradition but makes him very likeable. He tells me that tibetans monks keep visiting bim, also some gathering happening within the next 2 weeks. 11:00 I leave after heartfelts goodbye - he is a lama in disguise for me, empowering the entire valley of Cadlimo. Around 13:00 I reach the Lukmanierpass at 1900m low, it's warmer. I walk 20min further past Alpe Corse at the beautiful meadow - awaiting the stormy evening. 14:00. Took the chance to shower with 1.5l water and dried myself in the few moments in strong sun. 15:00

2020/07/01 07:45
2020/07/01 08:17
2020/07/01 08:36
Nicola's buddhist cabin
2020/07/01 10:59
2020/07/01 11:25
2020/07/01 12:29
reaching Lukmanierpass 1900m
2020/07/01 12:31
2020/07/01 13:06
2020/07/01 13:06
2020/07/01 13:53
2020/07/01 13:53
2020/07/01 13:53

Thursday 2.7.: Lukmanierpass 1900m - Olivone 900m - Campo Blenio 1200m

6:00 wake, 7:00 departure with clear blue sky, the sun just coming over the mountain ridge. I walk down one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen, a nature path ("natural sentiero"), first flat then steeper until the official hiking path which follows first the close the along the road with hardly any cars. The forests are beautiful, not dense but rather sparse so one sees each individual tree. I descend further as the richer and dense flora expands. The path increasingly gets steeper until I reach Olivone around 12:00. I shop a few items before I continue to ascend toward Pass Greina. Past Compo Blenio I pitch my tent close to the forest. After 1100m descend and 400m ascend again I feel my heels and overall exhaustion. 15:00

2020/07/02 07:05
2020/07/02 07:11
2020/07/02 07:20
2020/07/02 07:20
2020/07/02 07:44
2020/07/02 07:56
2020/07/02 08:08
2020/07/02 08:13
2020/07/02 08:25
2020/07/02 08:55
2020/07/02 09:48
2020/07/02 09:48
looking back to Olivone
2020/07/02 13:16
2020/07/02 13:22
2020/07/02 13:31
2020/07/02 14:15
2020/07/02 14:23
2020/07/02 15:23

Friday 3.7.: Campo Blenio 1200m - Pian Geirett 1900m - Daigra 1400m

Good sleep, 6:00 awake, but get up 8:00 to check the weather. Today is kind of restday as I plan tomorrow to talk the Pass Greina, so I just a bit higher for today. 10:00 I leave packed and after ~2hrs I reach Pian Geirett 1900m but no good place to camp with this string wind, so I descend again to 1400m at Daigra where I find a spot. Also, the region "Greina" has no camping policy, well, not many places to do so anyway and for hikers it's usually allowed to camp overnight, just not "camping" for more than a single night. Just 100m within the declared region I pitch my tent. A bit of a busy but idle day. Tomorrow better weather to expect and I plan to hike Pass Greina and Pass Diesrut in 1 day, will be a long day.

Daigra
2020/07/03 09:53
Campo Blenio / Val Camadra
2020/07/03 10:44

Saturday 4.7.: Daigra 1400m - Pass Greina 2354m - Pass Diesrut 2428m - Puzzatsch 1500m

5:30 awake, 6:30 leaving, hiking back to Pian Geirrett, it's chilly and windy 7:30. Steep first then flat toward Pass Greina, a view opens to the Greina Plaines, a mix of moon-like and then vast grean meadow with a few stones in the field - beautiful. I rest for 2 hrs before I continue toward Pass Diesrut, quite narrow path along the river. After reaching the pass the descend into the valley of Lumnenzia. Close before Puzzatsch I divert right-hand side and walk right of the river until the forest starts, eventually I find a place. 16:30

2020/07/04 06:55
2020/07/04 06:56
2020/07/04 07:14
2020/07/04 07:22
2020/07/04 07:58
2020/07/04 07:58
2020/07/04 08:03
2020/07/04 08:19
2020/07/04 08:30
2020/07/04 08:40
Pass Greina
2020/07/04 08:43
2020/07/04 08:49
Eating cheese and bread with a spoon
2020/07/04 08:51
2020/07/04 09:10
2020/07/04 09:24
2020/07/04 10:05
2020/07/04 10:06
Greina Plaines - most beautiful
2020/07/04 10:37
2020/07/04 11:23
2020/07/04 11:24
2020/07/04 12:56
2020/07/04 13:26
2020/07/04 13:54
2020/07/04 13:54
2020/07/04 14:04
2020/07/04 14:04
Pass Diesrut 2428m
2020/07/04 14:14
2020/07/04 14:14
2020/07/04 14:48
2020/07/04 15:09
2020/07/04 15:09
2020/07/04 15:26
2020/07/04 16:19
2020/07/04 18:52

Sunday 5.7.: Puzzatsch (Restday)

Slept long, 6:30 awake, continue to doze until 9:30 when the sun hits the tent. Washed some cloths and my hair again, slow day. Sunny day so I charged my battery bank again which I use to recharge the phone (I use solarpanel to charge battery bank for 3-6 hrs, and then fastcharge with it the smartphone within 1hr; not using solarpanel directly with the smartphone).

Monday 6.7.: Puzzatsch/Vrin 1450m - Ilanz 700m - Pigniu 1400m

6:00 awake, 6:30 leaving and reaching Vrin around 7:30 and waiting for the bus at 8:30. I call in to reserve the follow up bus from Ilanz to Pigniu. 9:15 at Ilanz, it took 40min for 15km distance by bus. In Ilanz I shop food for the next 4-6 days: 2x bread (500g + 250g), muesli (400g), tomatopaste (200g) dried grapes (200g), 2x chocolate (2x 100g) etc. 10:35 taking small bus to Pigniu and I walk from 1400m to 1700m and before the forest ends I pitch my tent at the edge of it. 14:00

Vrin
2020/07/06 07:22
Lake of Pigniu
2020/07/06 11:54
2020/07/06 14:50
2020/07/06 14:51
2020/07/06 15:00
2020/07/06 15:00

Tuesday 7.7.: Pigniu 1400m - Panixerpass 2403m - Elm 928m - Waldhuetten/Elm 1350m

Very windy night with rain, in the morning the tent was dry though. 6:30 awake, it's chilly, cold hands while I pack the tent. 7:30 departure, as soon I reach the sun I take off the jacket but keep the scarf around the neck for a couple of hours as the wind upward from the valley is chilly. At 10:30 I reach Pigniupass aka Panixerpass and eat a bit. I slowly descend with the light shoes or rather sandals with new insets barefoot. Descending into the Glarnerland is nice, soon reach the meadows of the farmers and rather flat continue to Elm where I decide to ascend again to "Waldhuetten" at 1350m where I find soon a nice site to camp, but I'm exhausted and my feet hurt a bit due the intense ascend, descend and ascend again.

2020/07/07 08:05
2020/07/07 08:25
2020/07/07 08:53
2020/07/07 09:06
2020/07/07 09:06
2020/07/07 10:16
2020/07/07 10:16
2020/07/07 10:29
Pigniupass / Panixerpass 2403m with cabin
2020/07/07 10:38
2020/07/07 10:39
2020/07/07 10:41
2020/07/07 11:13
2020/07/07 11:37
2020/07/07 11:42
2020/07/07 11:42
2020/07/07 11:50
2020/07/07 11:59
2020/07/07 12:06
2020/07/07 12:06
2020/07/07 12:08
2020/07/07 12:26
2020/07/07 12:52
2020/07/07 13:38
2020/07/07 13:57
2020/07/07 14:29
2020/07/07 16:28
2020/07/07 18:00
2020/07/07 18:07

Wednesday 8.7.: Waldhuetten/Elm 1350m - Foopass 2223m - Fooalp 1900m - Muotatalsattel 2240m

6:30 awake, good sleep, 7:15 departure. Ascending slowly, steeper near Foopass. At 10:30 I reach Foopass and descend right away a few hundred meters as it's too windy, about 150Hm lower I stop and eat a bit. I continue to descend to Fooalp and turn right in order to ascend again toward Muotatalsattel. Short before I stop, 13:30 and later pitch my tent for a shorter day and relax my legs and feet. 19:30

2020/07/08 09:20
2020/07/08 09:21
2020/07/08 10:14
2020/07/08 10:18
Foopass 2223m
2020/07/08 10:19
2020/07/08 10:20
2020/07/08 10:27
2020/07/08 11:59
2020/07/08 13:34
2020/07/08 13:34
2020/07/08 13:34
2020/07/08 13:47
below Muotatalsattel ~2200m
2020/07/08 15:33
2020/07/08 15:34

Thursday 9.7.: Muotatalsattel 2406m - Heubützlipass 2466m - Heidelpass 2386m - Batöni 1330m

Long sleep, 7:30 awake, 7:50 departure toward Muotatalsattel, which I reach around 8:15. Tricky 30m follow on the narrow crest, then along the slope with snowfields reaching Heubützlipass 8:45. A short descend and then almost at the same elevation along and pass a few ponds until reaching short but steep ascend toward Heidelpass at 11:00. Then long and at first steep descend until I reach Batöni 13:00 with 3 waterfalls, where I rest and ponder whether to continue upward toward Lavtinasattel or descend toward Weisstannen. I don't think I have sufficient strength for today and tomorrow long descend, so I descend a bit and pitch my tent along the old hiking path 17:00.

Muotatalsattel 2406m
2020/07/09 08:15
Muotatalsattel crest (narrow hiking path)
2020/07/09 08:19
2020/07/09 08:24
Muotatalsattel 2406m view over to Heubützlipass 2466m
2020/07/09 08:24
Muotatalsattel 2406m
2020/07/09 08:24
2020/07/09 08:33
2020/07/09 08:33
Heubützlipass 2466m
2020/07/09 08:45
2020/07/09 08:46
2020/07/09 08:48
2020/07/09 08:49
2020/07/09 08:55
2020/07/09 08:56
2020/07/09 09:03
2020/07/09 09:20
2020/07/09 09:36
2020/07/09 09:47
Heidelpass 2386m
2020/07/09 10:54
2020/07/09 10:55
2020/07/09 11:39
Batöni: Muttenbachfall, Sässbachfall & Piltschinabachfall
2020/07/09 12:34
2020/07/09 12:58
below Batöni
2020/07/09 17:14

Friday 10.7.: Batöni 1330m - Weisstannen 1000m - Sargans 480m

Slept well, 8:30 departure toward Weisstannen through the forest. I reach the small village with bus stop at 8:15, but I decide to descend by foot to Sargans. The hiking patch first on the road rather flat, near Schwendi diverts ascending (!!) again, but in the shade of the forest and finally steep into Mels and further to Sargans 12:30 where my hiking trip ends.

2020/07/10 08:23
Weisstannen
2020/07/10 08:24
2020/07/10 08:51
2020/07/10 09:12
2020/07/10 10:09
2020/07/10 11:44
Mels & Sargans
2020/07/10 11:46

Reflection

In order to save weight I did not take the cooker, but only eat cold: bread, cheese, tomatopaste, nuts & dried fruits and muesli (with water), chocolate and cerealbars. I reused the 2-person tent from my bicycle trips, which is big enough for a person, but very narrow for 2 people actually, and weights 2.3kg - but it's possible to have a sub-1kg 2-person tent. Since I pitched the tent on 2000m to 2500m elevation the nights were chilly and I required additional "winter" cloths, they added volume but not much backpack weight. With over 20kg (close to 23kg) my backpack was too heavy compared to other hikers I encounters which mostly had sub-20kg more near 15kg backpacks incl. tent; couples even had lighter backpack as they shared weight on two backpacks.

In Ticino, the italian speaking part of Switzerland, the hiking paths or trails with white-red-white marks, indicating moderate difficult hiking path, were much steeper and ofter rather climbing incl. hands and not suitable for minors/childrens or with heavy backpack like me. The hiking paths in Graubuenden and St. Gallen were well maintained, and good signaling; yet, in Uri at 2700m elevation the paths were snow covered and not marked anymore (usually on stones with white-red-white stripe) - it might be more suitable to hike at 2500m elevation or higher later in July or even August.

Although wild camping is prohibited in Switzerland officially, so called "biwak" or one-night tent pitching in the mountains is permitted - given you really leave the place cleanly behind (no trash). I prefered to stay overnight at least on 1900m, above the forest line or even higher where no cows graze and contaminate the water, as clean water was essential for sufficient drinking after long exhausting hiking day.

After nearly 14 days I was physically quite exhausted, mentally blank and still in the mind from the beauty of nature - my body changed significantly in regards to adapt hiking, e.g. more muscles on the back and around the hip, and more endurance at the ankles. Some passages of the trip were tricky, close to dangerous as sometimes no misstep was permitted and full concentration all day long - which were mentally and physically additionally demanding; it made it a full awake meditation excercise: focus in the here and now fully, for everything around oneself.

This hiking trip felt like a long breathing-in . . . of goodness and beauty.


.:.




Copyright 2007-2016, 2020 © by René K. Müller <spiritdude@gmail.com> / Google+
Illustrations and graphics made with Inkscape, GIMP and Tgif