SWITZERLAND


Climbing Barrhorn (3610m) in 1 day, Switzerland 2015

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Highest Mountain Hike in Europe or Highest “snow-free” Mountain in Europe

This is how the Barrhorn summit is often described. What does it really mean ?
Barrhorn summit claims to be the highest mountain in Europe which is “snow-free” during summer and can be ascended via the normal route by an experienced hiker without any climbing gear.
I have came across this mountain while searching the web for a summit over 3000 which can be ascended in 1 day without previous mountaineering experience and without crossing any ice/glacier. One of the biggest problem was the distance. I was about 300km away from the starting point of the north Barrhorn route. After a short research stage (about 2 hours) I decided that there is a slight chance to climb Barrhorn in a single day if I get up early enough and the weather will allow the ascend. I was lucky with the weather, reached the summit at about 16:00.

At the end my journey looked as follows:
04:45 – Getting up and preparing for the trip
05:30 – 4.5 hours drive to the starting point of the Barrhorn route: Sänntum by Gruben/Oberems (ca.1900m)
10:00 – 1.5 hours climb to Turtmann Hut (2519m) via Stausee
11:30 – 30min break at Turtmann Hut
12:00 – 4 hours climb to Barrhorn
16:00 – reaching the summit of Barrhorn (3610m)
16:15 – 3 hours descent to Turtmann Hut (2519m)
19:15 – 1:15 descent to Sänntum (ca.1900m)
20:30 – 3.5 hours drive back home
24:00 – Coming back home
Total time required: 19hours 15minutes

I want to point out here, that this is NOT how the ascend should be done. The ascend need to be started early in the morning to get to the summit much earlier than at 4pm. The weather in the mountains usually gets much worse in the afternoon so being at 3610m attitude at 4pm and having at least 3 hours to the hut is not a good idea unless you are really well prepared.

Barrhorn map - my climb

1.Sänntum car park (1900m) 2.Stausee (2177m) 3.Turtmann Hut (2519m) 4.Äusseres Barrhorn (3610m)

In order to reach the Sänntum car park you have get to Oberems, follow the road to Gruben and continue driving until you get to a small bridge crossing the river. This is where the public road finishes. You cannot go any further. There isn’t really a car park here, the cars need to be parked along the road.
I have arrived to the end of the road at about 10:00 and started my hike choosing the path on the right. The sign indicated 2h to the Turtmann Hut. I knew that I had very little time so I pushed hard and reached the hut after 90min. I had enough food for the tour in my backpack but no thermos with hot tea. Knowing that I might not eat or drink anything warm for in the next couple of hours I decided to try the homemade Goulash soup. It was delicious and gave me a kick to start the ascend to Barrhorn.

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Stausee at Turtmanntal

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View from Turtmann Hut (2519m) over the Turtmann Glacier

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The beauty of Turtmann Glacier (German: Turtmanngletscher)

The route to Barrhorn is quite well marked with white-red-white strips painted on bigger stones and cannot be really missed in good weather. After leaving the hut a narrow path leads to steep rocks where a short via ferrata brings you to a higher level. It is one of the most interesting parts of the route and gives a small kick of adrenaline… The weather was quite good, not too sunny with light wind and I reached 3200m with shorts and t-shirt. After that the sky got more cloudy and a quite strong, cold wind start to blow. I changed my shorts into hiking pants and put long sleeve on. After another 200m hight I had to put my jacket on and really regretted that I left my gloves at home….

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View towards the Turtmann Hut

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After passing the short via ferrata. Turtmann Hut in the background

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Time for the soul. Let the body rest for a while…

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On the way to Barrhorn

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On the way to Barrhorn

There were astonishing views on the way to Barrhorn but the Barrhorn was still not visible. The mountain is so flat that you see it first when you get really close to it. But finally I saw it in a distance. Seeing the summit makes you happy but you also realize how far it is still from the point you are admiring it. For me it was time to make the decision. It was 15:00 and still about 1 hour to the summit. A pretty steep ascend… I had enough strength and the weather was still ok so I continued. The last part of the route was very steep and exhausting… I had to stop couple of times to take a deeper breath.. but I finally got to the top! I reached the summit at 4pm which is very,very late… I should be back in car by now or at least at the Turtmann Hut and not at 3610 attitude!
The clouds in the distance looked like it could rain within the next hour and there were some tine snow flakes falling from the sky. It was certainly the time to leave… The weather kept good until I reached the hut and there was only light rain which started about halfway from Barrhorn to the Turtmann Hut. I arrived at the hut at about 7.15pm where I had hot tea and continued descending until I reached my car at 8:30pm. I made it… I was back on the flat land…From here it only 3 hours drive home…

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Barrhorn finally shows up

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North from Barrhorn: Bisshorn 4153m and Brunegghorn 3833m

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View from Barrhorn towards Zermatt

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7:15pm, arriving at Turtmann Hut

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Saying good bye to the Turtmann Glacier. Terrace of the Turtmann Hut

Barrhorn 3d hiking map

3D hiking map of the Barrhorn route via Turtmann Hut. Link: Barrhorn 3D hiking map

LINKS:
www.myswitzerland.com – Barrhorn “Highest Mountain Hike in Europe”. Maps & Description
www.geotrails.ch – Barrhorn 3D hiking map
www.turtmannhuette.ch – Official website of Turtmann Hut
www.summitpost.org – Info about Barrhorn
mountainsforeverybody.com – Good information about Barrhorn
www.turtmanntal.ch – Article about Barrhorn (in German)
www.turtmanntal.ch – Description about Turtmannhütte-Barrhorn route
www.turtmanntal.ch – General information about Turtmanntal
www.hrm-auer.ch – Good description with map


Lago Ritom, Ticino, Switzerland 2015

The natural lake Lago Ritom, located in Piora valley, Ticino, Switzerland is used as a reservoir to generate hydro-electric power for the Gotthard line.
Our plan was to cycle up to Lago Ritom and cycle some of the trails around the lake. Unfortunately all trails were covered by snow and we only got to the lake after breaking through some small snowdrifts and a road blocked by an avalanche… There was no chance to get further.
I am posting some pictured from our short ride. I am hoping to come back to this place in Summer and explore the area on a bike …

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On the way up

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Some parts of the road leading to Lago Ritom were fully covered with snow

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The biggest obstacle on the way – road blocked by an avalanche

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View towards Quinto

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Ritom dam

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Ritom dam

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Happy bikers

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Frozen lake Ritom

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Map of all trails around Lago Ritom

LINKS:
www.ritom.ch – Official website
www.lagoritom.ch – Mountain Lodge Lago Ritom


Ski Holiday Brienz & Haslital, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland 2015

The winter holiday were approaching and we still didn’t have anything booked… This year instead of going to Klewenalp-Stockhütte we decided to try something new … The prices during winter holiday for accommodations located close to ski slopes are pretty high so we decided to stay in a much cheaper place located not far from a good ski resort. Our choice was Brienz which is located only 14km from Meiringen-Hasliberg resort and ca. 17km from Axalp ski resort. We booked Brinezersee apartment from Casagrande Holiday for 5 nights. It is a family owned business with several chalets and apartments spread in different locations in Brienz. The owners were very friendly and helpful.
Maria, thanks for everything !!! You made our stay even better !!!
The apartment has a superb location in the centre of Brienz with only few steps to the Bakery… The interior of the apartment has it’s swiss style with old-style furniture and decoration. It has a small balcony with a great view over the lake Brienz and surrounding mountains. We spent every evening sitting with kids on the balcony wrapped up in the bed sheets.
The first day we tried the Axalp ski resort. It is located not far from Brienz but you have to climb the switchbacks in order to get to the ski resort. Another option would be to take a bus directly from Brienz.
The other 3 days we spent at Meiringen-Haslital ski resort. The road to Meiringen cable car station is easy and safe. You can leave your car just in front of the cable car station, take your gear and off you go…
The best starting point is Bidmi station at 1420m where all the Swiss Snow Sport School courses start and all the Children Ski Area is located. From here you can either go up to Mägisalp at 1710m with the cable car or to Käserstatt at 1840m with the 6-person chairlift.
My favorite place is the Kuhstallbar Mägisalp where I enjoyed Chäsbrätel (melted cheese on a piece of bread) with my son.

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View from the balcony in the morning

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Old houses in Brienz

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Church in Brienz

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View over the lake Brienz

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Axalp

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View from Mägisalp – slope in direction Bidmi/Reuti

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Hääggen 2010m – it was a cold morning …

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Hääggen 2010m – my son just before heading down to Mägisalp

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The 6-person Bidmi-Käserstatt chairlift

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Sun is coming out … Time to leave Brienz…

meiringen-haslital slope map

meiringen-hasliberg slope map

meiringen-haslital slope ski resort

Basic info about Ski Resort Meiringen-Haslital. Source: http://www.skiresorts-test.com

LINKS:
www.meiringen-hasliberg.ch – Official website
www.axalpsportbahnen.ch – Official website
chalet.casagrande-beo.ch – Casagrande chalets
www.brienz-tourismus.ch
www.haslital.ch – Information about the Haslital region


Monte Bar, Switzerland 2014

Bike tour to Capanna Monte Bar

Starting point: last car park after Capriasca (Coordinates 46.091608, 8.999696)
via point: Capanna Monte Bar hut 1620m


End point: car park

Monte Bar

Route Map from Runtastic

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On the way to the last car park at the end of the road

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Monte Bar covered with snow

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View towards Lake Lugano

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Some parts of the trail were fully covered by snow

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Time for a cup of warm tea …


Family trip to Naturfreundehaus in Emmental, Switzerland 2013

Have you ever wondered why Swiss cows wear bells?
To keeps the cows contented ? So you can hear them from the distance on the foggy day ? or just to remind you that you haven`t got a glass of milk yet?
Whichever reason is behind those cowbells- there is nothing more amazing then waking up with this lovely tunes:) and then falling asleep with this sweet lullaby…
Once they remind you that it`s breakfast time you can enjoy your glass of milk or Ovaltine and swiss bread called Züpfe ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zopf )

Aemmital_cows

In the spring, when the snowmelt is finished, villages send the cows with the cowherds to high alpine meadows to graze during the summer months. The event, called Alpaufzug, is celebrated in each village with a procession through the village into the high pastures. The cows are decorated with floral wreaths woven through the horns,and the best milk-producing cow in the village leads the procession wearing the largest bell. The bells are made in various sizes, and cows are awarded bells according to the milk production of the year.
In the fall, the event is repeated, but this time called an Alpabzug, as the animals return from the high meadow. The best cows from each herd lead the procession through the village.

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Naturfreundehaus Ämmital

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On the tarrace

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The Team needs some energy. On the way to Napf.

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Boys are testing if the electricity is strong enough to stop the cows

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What is on the menu today ? Sausages or mash mellows ?

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Everybody enjoying the home-made Lasagna made by Peronik (he`s not on the picture as he is bringing second servings from the kitchen)

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The Team just shortly before heading home


Creux de Van, Switzerland 2011

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Iseltwald, Switzerland 2011

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River Rafting Lutschine, Switzerland 2011

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Switzerland Tour 2006

Szwajcaria 363

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Szwajcaria 357

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Szwajcaria 340

Szwajcaria 320

Szwajcaria 147

Szwajcaria 138

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schweiz 265

schweiz 235

schweiz 214

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schweiz 186

schweiz 131

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