Tag Archives: Prättigauer Höhenweg

Hiking the Prättigauer Höhenweg – Day 4

St. Antönien (1416m) to Jägglischhorn (2290m) to Madrisa Bergstation (1939m)

13.4km, 850m up and down

To Yasuko’s surprise, Philippe decided to accompany her for the last leg of the Prättigauer Höhenweg. He may have regretted it later (silently) as the wind for model airplane flying was good.

We started early from St. Antönien because the weather forecast announced a cloudy afternoon. The well-maintained road from St. Antönien continued quite high up and we saw the sign of “Zu Verkaufen” (For Sale) on the hotel-restaurant Bellawiese which we visited a while ago. It had a nice terrace and was popular with mountain bikers and hikers alike. Sad.

A quaint farmhouse
A quaint farmhouse

The asphalt road continued quiet high up to the alps and led all the way to farm houses at Arschariner Alp. A vast pastureland spread in front of a limestone cliff backdrop. Then the path went directly toward the soaring cliff of Rätschnhorn. Steadily climbing up the hiking path and gaining altitude. Looking back to the north-west, a panoramic view of all the mountain range of Rätikon appeared: Glegghorn, Grauspitz, a distinctive peak of Schesaplana, Kirchlispitzen and Drusenfluh, Schweizertor and Sulzfluh. They are all mountains we saw on the Prättigauer Höhenweg and it was wonderful to have a bird’s eye view. Schesaplana is so towering that we could not really see it at close, and now we could admire the majesty from a distance. 

Arriving at the pass of Jägglisch Fürggli (2257m), a complete different view appeared: the entire Prättigau Valley with all the villages below and the snow-covered mountain peaks such as Weissfluh in the south. 

A sweeping view from Zastia
A sweeping view from Zastia

The wind was strong, the air cold. Quickly going up to the top, Jägglischhorn (2290m), Yasuko admired a 360-degree view of the Rätikon mountain chain in the north, the Prättigau Valley and all the mountain peaks in the south. 

A sign of Zastia Kiosk on the rock
A sign of Zastia Kiosk on the rock

Dodging the cold wind, we had a short lunch break in a full winter gear, admiring the view. Too cold to stay long, we started heading down to a quaint hamlet of Zastia.  Several farmhouses were spread but no one seem to live there for a moment. 

Zastia Kiosk
Zastia Kiosk

Under the roof of one of these farmhouses was an un-manned kiosk selling bottles of water and beer. If we want to buy any, we simply put money in the red coffee cup on the shelf. The coffee cup was full of coins and it was heart-warming to see that trust is being practiced. 

From there the path led to the slope of the steep cliff of Gross Tärzanälla through rocks and boulders. At several places brand-new robust anti-avalanche fences were installed just above us, preventing snow from falling down to the bottom of the valley, several hundred meters straight down. It would be the case for us if we would fall…

Steep Sasser Calanda
Steep Sasser Calanda

With just a little push for the last climb, we came out to finally see the Madrisa Bergstation. On the way several benches are installed to admire a view but it was too windy to sit there long. We hurried to the tele-cabin station and hopped on to save our knee from a 700m decent and went down to Klosters with no sweat : )

In fact, the official Prättigauer Höhenweg adds another strenuous 10km ( ! ) to this final stage by going down via Schlappin, but we have done this stretch before and decided to spare us any unnecessary suffering…

Overall, we enjoyed this Prättigauer Höhenweg immensely. The scenery was spectacular and by walking through all the Rätikon region we could know this complex, intertwined valleys better. 

Hiking the Prättigauer Höhenweg – Day 3

Schesaplana Hütte (1904m) – Cavelljoch (2239m) – Carschina Hütte (2220m) – St. Antönien (1416m)

24km, 1’050m up, 800m down!

The day started with a gorgeous sunrise and cloudless sky and made us feel warmer than the outside temperature of 0°C. Having a quiet breakfast before a group of school children from Lichtenstein arrived at the table, we put our backpack together for a long day hike. We were planning to reach Carschina Hütte (estimated for 5.5 hrs) and then go down all the way to St. Antönien (2.5 hrs), which means 24km in total, with roughly 1000m up and 800m down at the end : ((

Mountain Cruiser
Mountain Cruiser

We have never done this stretch from Schesaplana Hütte to Carschina Hütte and we are looking forward to this very scenic trail with spectacular limestone cliffs such as Kirchlispitzen and Drusenfluh.

But when I put on my hiking boots I noticed that my shoelaces were torn out!  It seems that my shoelaces could not stand my never-ending abuses in the Canadian Rockies, the  2-week hike in the Swiss Alps and other numerous walks. They were holding together but it was worrisome considering we had to do quite a distance with ups and downs in one day. 

The air was fresh at 8 am in the mountains and the sky was clear. We set out in a full winter gear and hiked through the stones and rocks at the foot of the Schesaplana mountain range. 

Cavelljoch
Cavelljoch

Cavelljoch (2239m) was today’s highest point at the border dividing Switzerland from Austria. The sign “Austria” stands at the pass where we looked down at Lünersee (Lake Lüner). Some snow patches were there after a recent cod spell. Then we continued just under the towering Kirchlispitzen. 

Along the way there are beautiful mountains like the Sassauna or our home peak Chrüz in the south, and many more. The Rätikon region is very complex with lots of intertwined valleys.  It is interesting to see the region from different perspectives. 

Schweizertor
Schweizertor

Very soon we could see distinctive Schweizertor (i.e. the Swiss door), which is caved in between two massive cliffs of Kirchlispitzen and Drusenfluh. It really looks like a door or gate, literally dividing Switzerland and Austria. 

Afterwards we trailed just below the impressive Drusenfluh. The path was on the grey cliff slope and it looked dangerously narrow and steep from a distance, but it was much better than I had feared. 

A break with a view in the sun
A break with a view in the sun

We hoped that Carschina Hütte would be around the corner but we had to go around two more mountains and small passes on the path of rocks and boulders : ( 

Arriving at Carschina Hütte around 3 pm, on the sunny terrace we enjoyed a sweeping view of all the surrounding mountains over a bowl of hearty soup – Hiking is a hungry business : ) After hanging out for almost one hour, we put ourselves together for another 2.5 hour hike down to St. Antönien. Everyone who arrived Carschina Hütte except us were overnighting at the hut and relaxing on the terrace. 

We looked back at the Carschina Hütte and Sulzfluh many times to marvel at the amazing setting. Sulzfluh was shining under the late afternoon sun. The path continued, going down sharply to St. Antönien. Yasuko’s feet started aching under the relentless downhill and we were very happy when we finally arrived at the familiar, quaint village of St. Antönien. 

Today we started at 8:10 am and arrived at St. Antönien at 18:00, a total of 10 hours on the trail!  One of the longest hikes we’ve ever done.

Hiking the Prättigauer Höhenweg – Day 2

From Seewis (947m) to Alp Stürfis to Schesaplana Hütte (1904m)

15km – 1’200m up!

Starting Point
Starting Point

Philippe joined me for the 2nd and 3rd day of the Prättigauer Höhenweg. We left home early in the morning and took a bus to

Schesaplana in the clouds
Schesaplana in the clouds

Seewis. The first part was an easy stroll along the deep valley between Seewis and Fanas. While walking through the forest, the snow-laced peak of Schesaplana (2964m) suddenly appeared far away. Today’s final destination is the Schesaplana Hütte just at the foot of this mountain. It’s a majestic view – the peak floating in the clouds!

It’s end of September and hunting season in the Prättigau Valley. We crossed many hunters with rifles on their back. Surprisingly many of them were at the places where even we hunting greenhorns knew that no dear would be found. Unexpected sight: Two solo female hunters on mountain bikes with camouflage clothes carrying their rifle on the back driving down the path as if they were hunted by the devil. Probably late for work : )
Lots of hunting stands, small camouflaged cabins and lookouts everywhere. Close to Cani a group of hunters came back in a pick-up truck with a stag on the back.

Logging Cable Car
Logging Cable Car

On the path there was a new, hugely robust bridge which seems odd for this remote area. Soon an enormous truck with a heavy load of logs drove us by and we understood that there is a lot of logging going on.  Philippe spent a good amount time in observing this logging mechanism – five or six logs are bound together and sent down with a kind of impromptu cable car. The sound of it strongly reminded us of an airplane with jet engine.

It was getting warmer and after crossing the little stream Canibach we had our lunch break, followed by a power nap in the sun.  Soon a vast green pastureland appeared with several large farmhouses: Alp Stürfis. There were literally hundreds of sheep all over the place! It was quite a sight with the background of the sharp triangle Glegghorn and two other pointy Hinter- and Vorder-Grauspitz. Absolutely beautiful!

Alp Stürfis
Alp Stürfis, with hundreds of sheep (=white dots in the photo)

After leaving Stürfis we started to climb up steeply to Sanalada. We trailed on the steep slope of Sanalada cliff, with the valley several hundred meters below us. A wrong place to slip : (

As usual, we had to climb down, losing a significant altitude, just before going up again : ( to finally reach Schesaplana Hütte (1904m). We were lucky to have a room with about 30 bunks all to ourselves. No snoring tonight.

By the time we put our feet up at the hut, we were on the trail for around 8 hours, going up a total of 1200m! No wonder we got a little bit tired…

http://www.wanderland.ch/en/routes/route-072.html

Hiking the Prättigauer Höhenweg – Day 1

Spectacular Prättigauer Höhenweg (Prättigau high-level trail)

A 72km-long hike from Landquart to Klosters in Graubünden

This multiple-day hike was in Yasuko’s list for a long time, particularly the stretch from Schesaplana Hut to Carschina Hut. It is a spectacular area with soaring limestone rock peaks, which look like Dolomites in Italy. 

Prättigauer Höhenweg Day 1:
Landquart (522m) to Fadärastein (1179m) to Seewis (947m)
11km with a height gain of 650m

Crosing the Landquart river to Malans
Crossing the Landquart river to Malans

A relatively short stretch of 11 km from Landquart to Seewis. A pleasant walk along the Landquart river to Malans and then a winding path going up the Fadärstein cliff. This path was a lot easier than I remembered last time! It was very windy at the top but it had a sweeping view of the Rhein Valley! The rest of the path to Seewis was going through the deep green pastureland dotted with farm houses. I always enjoy this peaceful Swiss countryside!