Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hiking Alpstein

Last weekend I went on an amazing hike to the Alpstein region of Switzerland, east of Zurich. I began in a town called Weissbad, and hiked there to Brulisau, which is at the base of the mountain Hoher Kasten. The climb from Brulisau to the summit is about 1000 m, ending at a final elevation of 1750. From there, I hiked down through the valley in the rain past two mountain lakes along a ridgeline before turning down to the base of the valley to a place called Bollenwees, where I stayed on Saturday night in a mountain hut. It was a great scene there, with hikers enjoying the traditional Alpine fare in a truly picturesque location. By the time dinner came around, the weather had cleared and a beautiful sunset over the mountains hinted at the great weather to come on Sunday.

On Sunday morning I woke up in Bollenwees to the aformentioned perfect weather. I left for the meat of the weekend's hike at 8:30 in the morning, with an acceptable breakfast and a few of my own peanut butter sandwiches for added protein packed away. I did not realize it in the planning stages, but the entirety of Sunday was all climbing, varying from gradual to extremely steep on equally varied terrain. Some points were truly terrifying, with 1500 drops m down relentless scree faces only a foot to the side of some of the marked trails. Suffice to say that you do have to pay close attention to every single step.

The 4 hour morning climb ended at the summit of Altmann, which demanded another 1200 m of climb ending at 2450. From the saddle of Altmann, I descended back to 2100 on an equally steep and scary decline, holding onto the guide ropes without which the hike would be impossible. I had lunch at Rotsteinpass, which sits there at 2100 in between the peaks of Altmann and the much better known Santis, to the northeast.

After lunch and a short nap in the warm sun, I continued for the last leg of the hike to Santis, at 2500 m. The hike there was fantastic, offering some of the best views of the entire weekend. I highly recommend this area for anyone who is looking for a great place to hike. Its not in the Alps officially, but man was it awesome. All in all, a total of about 2500 m of ascent and 700 m of descent over the course of 22 km.

Here are some panorama photos spliced together; for full effect, definitely click to enlarge.


Sunny Jaspal said...


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j teach said...

Hi! Thank you for including so much info about your trip. I am finally finishing our photo album from a 35th anniv. trip in 2008, and was hoping to find some elevation info about our hike from Brulisau to Bollenwees. We were lucky to make it with an Appenzell native, coming past the house she grew up in with her parents and grandmother - including shutters and signs painted by her grandmother.
We agree - the views along the ridge are amazing!!