Tag Archives: Prättigau

Snowshoe hike to Alp Valpun

Alp Valpun (1’800 m); Distance: 10km; 400m ascent /descent; 3.5 hours of walking

Another sunny day with blue sky in pretty Prättigau.

Today we were ambitious and aimed at Philippe’s favorite mountain spot called Gafäll (2’000 m). The snow on the path to Boden was partially compressed and easy to walk, as it is classified as winter hiking path (“Winterwanderweg”), but after Boden it turned into just snow – no path. We put on our snowshoes,  getting ready for a 400m ascent in deep powder snow. Beautiful … and cardio!

After tramping on the snow for two hours, the majestic snow-capped Rätikon mountain range came into a view. We finally arrived at Alp Valpun, 1900m, just underneath Gafäll. Around the same time a group of snowshoe hikers came from the opposite direction,  St. Antönien.

The familiar Alp Valpun, where we come often in summer, was completely covered in snow, including our usual lunch spot.
Philippe’s favorite flying spot, Gafäll, was also in the deep sleep.
We had our sandwiches and a dearly needed cup of hot miso soup. But a light and very cold wind was blowing enough to make my hands and feet numb.

Soon it became too cold to keep standing and we decided to escape from this cold north slope as quickly as possible. To heat up our body we marched down at record speed!

On the way we stopped at the sunny Bodenhütte for a hot chocolate and enjoyed the warmth on our face, chatting away with friendly locals.

Autumn hike in Prättigau: Bergstation Fanas to Schuders

A forlorn yet fantastic 6-hour trail from the foot of Sassauna to Fadurer Fürggli to Schuders.  In mid-November we enjoyed the unusual sunny weather, witnessing the dramatic fog streaming into the Prättigau Valley like a waterfall.  Amazing natural phenomenon!

Eggli Bergstation 1700m – Stelli 1978m – Fadurer Mittelsäss 1839m  – Fadur Obersäss 2020m – Fadurer Fürggli 2188m – Maiensäss – Schuders1272m

Distance: 17.2km // Ascent: 820m, Descent: 1270m // 6 hrs walking; 7hrs on the trail

The 8:30 am bus from Schiers and then a small mountain cablecar from Fanas (only two of us were in it) takes us to Eggli at 1700m, today’s trail head.  The air is crisp at 9 am, but the sun is out and heating.  A cute mountain hut which is usually a popular hangout place for paragliders was unfortunately closed due to the autumn break – no coffee for Philippe :- (

 

We start hiking up towards Sassauna, which we are rather familiar with. Skirting around the steep mountain flank of Sassauna for an hour, we arrive at Stelli (1978m),  the mountain ridge with a fantastic view of our house mountain Chrüz, the soaring Rätikon mountain range and today’s entire trail to Schuders Maiensäss.  We sit on the bench and admire a sweeping view during a short snack break.  It is Philippe’s first time to be here (the second time for me) and he loves the new perspective of the Chrüz and his favorite model airplane flying spot Gafäll.  The mountain slopes are brown and look deserted yet, a different beauty.

 

From here we start the half circle around the steep valley.  On the way we see three chamois, so jumpy that at the sight of us they dash down the slope towards the relative safety of the forest (it’s hunting season).

 

We make a wrong turn and walk uphill, mistaking a cow path for our trail, then after coming down to the correct path, continue to a rather large farmhouse at Fadurer Mittelsäss (1839m) which is closed for the season.  We wonder how a farmers get here, there seems to be no road and the place is roughly 2 to 3 hours away on foot from any side….

Tasty sandwiches in front of this farmhouse, the sun and the view refill our batteries.

 

Behind this farmhouse the path goes up steeply in the direction of Fadurer Fürggli.  200m higher up there is another small and cute farmhouse at Obersäss and we have another short break on the bench in the sun. We like breaks : )

Now, in mid November the sun on this south-oriented slope keeps us warm – even at around 2000m. At this time there may have been tons of snow by now.

Finally we reach today’s highest point, the Fadurer Fürggli pass (2188m). The north side of the pass is covered with snow and a very cold wind is blowing!  So cold that we only have a quick glimpse of the Schasaplana peak, the Schweizer Tor and the Carschina hut, before happily returning on the sunny south side of the pass for our second sandwich and miso soup.

 

Around this pass there are several gates of Swiss army border defense shelter from the Second World War. This might be due to the Austrian border close by …

From there it is a 1000m-altitude downhill to Schuders…

 

On the way down we see thick fog streaming from the Rhein Valley over the mountains into the Prätigau Valley. It looks like big fog wave overflowing and pouring to our side. It’s a dramatic nature spectacle! We can’t keep our eyes from it and stop many times to take photos.

 

After a long hilly downhill stretch we arrive at the quaint  hemlet of Maiensäss. It is lined with a row of old charming farmhouses, most of which are closed and awaiting winter.

 

At the end of the hike, the fog moves up higher and higher to reach the level of Schuders village (1272m) and soon we are in the cold fog! The white sun looks mystical in the thick fog. Our body is getting cold fast while waiting for the 4:30pm bus, but we can’t complain after 7 hours of sun!

 

Click here for the tour details 

Vilan (2376m) – a hidden jewel in the Prättigau Valley

Älplibahn Bergstation (1801 m) – Vilan (2376 m) – Älplibahn Bergstation (1801 m), 12km

A fantastic summer day with blue sky – a perfect day to go up the Vilan, one of the most impressive mountain viewpoints  in the Prättigau.

A very cute funicular Älplibahn with a capacity of only 8 passengers, operated by local volunteers, took us to the station at 1800m from Malans.

After some steep uphill hike on the ridge (I tried not to look down!), we arrived at the summit and was rewarded with breathtaking 360-degree panoramas!  The entire Prättigau valley in front, the majestic rocky mountain range of Schesaplana, Drusenfluh and Sulzfluh at left, and the wide valley of Chur and beyond. Behind us, the Rhein Valley with the backdrop of the Churfirsten. Simply magnificent!

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View over the Prättigau Valley

With an amazing view, a quaint and historical funicular, friendly staff and nice home-made cakes at the funicular station restaurant, it was a satisfying outing!

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Top of Vilan
Rheintal