Guscha-Hochfinsler traverse

Publiziert von Stijn , 6. Dezember 2016 um 19:04.

Region: Welt » Schweiz » St.Gallen
Tour Datum: 3 Dezember 2016
Wandern Schwierigkeit: T4 - Alpinwandern
Klettern Schwierigkeit: I (UIAA-Skala)
Geo-Tags: CH-SG   Spitzmeilengruppe 
Zeitbedarf: 8:45
Aufstieg: 1500 m
Abstieg: 1500 m

We had planned to drive to Cholschlag Vorsäss and start the hike there. However, unexpectedly, we find the road closed to normal traffic (at P. 917 when coming from Flums and at P. 774 when coming from Mels). I don't know if this is a permanent change, or if the road to Cholschlag is only open in summer? After some driving around, we end up at P. 1405 above Vermol, which we accept as suitably high alternative starting point.
We pass by Kohlschlag-Vorsäss and Mädems-Hintersäss, from where we take a fairly direct line to P. 1994 on the Guscha hiking path. An ice axe is useful on the final ascent to the Guscha cross, which is still a little below the actual summit.
We continue along the ridge to the Steingässler and further towards the Hochgamatsch. Directly reaching the plateau to the north-east of the Hochgamatsch summit seems impossible from a distance, however on closer inspection there is a relatively easy line over Schrofen and with two bits of easy scrambling. There is not much snow on this section, so the difficulty is similar to summer conditions (T4).
The direct route from the Hochgamatsch towards the Hochfinsler goes across an exposed ledge directly west of the Hochgamatsch summit. Unfortunately, the conditions on the ledge are pretty bad. The weak snow does not offer secure footsteps and there would be no recovering from a mistake, so we give up the idea of using this route. Instead, we try to reach the Hochgamatsch summit directly along the north ridge. This involves going along the east side of the summit ridge for a couple of metres, followed by a short, steep scramble onto the summit ridge itself. I'm not sure how hard it would have been without the snow, maybe about T5+ and II? With snow, it is definitely on the limit. In summer, some slightly easier routes to the summit should appear from under the snow. I have not included this optional Hochgamatsch ascent in the overall grade of this hike.
After climbing up and down the Hochgamatsch summit, we make a necessary detour, descending towards the south-east to an altitude of ca. 2200m, then joining the Hochfinsler normal route (indicated on the map). There is so much snow on the eastern slopes that snow shoes would have been useful. Overall though, it was a good decision not to carry that extra weight. We can also take advantage of the trail that was broken by a local who climbed the Hochfinsler a day earlier. Apart from the normal routes on the Guscha and the Hochfinsler, there were no human footsteps anywhere. (There were some older ski-tracks across the mountain, though!) On the other hand, animal tracks in the snow were plentiful all along our route. They even used the ledge in the Hochgamatsch west face that was clearly too risky for us!

After the Hochfinsler, there is still one more highlight: the traverse of the Apöstel, an enjoyable ridge with different four summits that are marked on the map. Only a few individual spots require some brief scrambling and/or short diversions from the ridge line. There's not much snow to speak of on the Apöstel. This changes when we reach the Chläuifurggla and descend into the shadowy Kohlschlag valley. All the way until P. 1659 there is a continuous cover of nice, hard snow. Afterwards, it's a long walk on unpaved roads back to the car.

Equipment used: ice axe and MicroSpikes (full crampons for madu).

Tourengänger: madu, Stijn

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