Chli Chärpf, descent via Bischofalp

Publiziert von Stijn , 28. Januar 2018 um 16:28.

Region: Welt » Schweiz » Glarus
Tour Datum:27 Januar 2018
Ski Schwierigkeit: WS+
Geo-Tags: CH-GL   Chärpfgruppe 
Zeitbedarf: 7:15
Aufstieg: 1500 m
Abstieg: 1550 m

After last week's rain and mild temperatures, it was clear that we would need to go fairly high to find decent snow. Our choice fell on Chli Chärpf. Since we were thinking of taking on of the alternative decent routes (Filetsch or Bisschofalp) we park the car at the layby slightly below P. 1261 (Büelhütte), rather than on the more popular parking slightly above P. 1261.

After a mild night, the snow is not as icy as we feared. We pass the Skihütte Obererbs in whiteout conditions (visibility often limited to ca. 10m). Only when we reach an altitude of ca. 1900m we finally break out of the dense fog and into the springlike sunshine. Well-trodden ski tracks (mostly in two "lanes") lead up towards the Chäpfsattel. Only some large "glide cracks" in the snow look somewhat disconcerting.

There is a good amount of snow also on the steep ascent to the Chli Chärpf summit. However, the steepness and firmness of the snow make us go on foot anyway, carrying our skis to the top. The views are superb and the temperatures very pleasant, with only a mild breeze. Incredibly, another skier arrives on the summit accompanied by his dog!

After changing into "descent mode", the steep drop into the Chärpfscharte is not exactly a "gentle warm-up". When I've finally gathered the courage to try some swings, it just ends up with me losing control and falling on the hard snow. Nothing serious, but not great for my confidence either. Things don't get better when a short time later, while slowly traversing a completely harmless slope, my skis suddenly break through the crust of the snow, toppling me over sideways, head pointing down. When I manage get upright again, one of my poles is still lying four metres higher. Thankfully another skier recovers it for me. I'm starting to feel almost embarrassed about my skiing skills at this point...

We now leave the main Obererbs-Chli Chäpf route and turn into the Bischofalp valley, which looks pretty appealing from up here. After being careful to loop around the north of the Bischofer Chärpf (P. 2258), there is a free choice of line for the rest of the descent. There are some beautiful slopes, and even though the snow is rather hard, there are still some nice swings to be made. Even I am starting to get into the rhythm again.

Then we reach an altitude of ca. 2000m and we hit the rain crust. Suddenly my normal skiing technique does not work at all anymore. My skis really don't like to turn in this kind of snow, and as I try to move my body to try to start a turn, it invariably ends up with me falling sideways and coming to a sudden stop as I crash through the crust of the snow. Usually one ski gets stuck under the hard crust as well and requires some extra manoeuvring to get out. For a while, the terrain is thankfully fairly open. I traverse as much as I can, and every turn I achieve in between without falling down feels like a little victory. Kind-of like when I had my very first skiing lessons four years ago...

Can it get any worse? Of course it can get worse. The valley becomes narrower and filled with trees. How to get through here? On foot seems more sensible than on skis. Until I realise that wherever I put my foot down, it just breaks through the crust and sinks waist-deep into the deep, soft snow below. I am stubborn enough to try again a few minutes later, which ends up with one ski slipping away and landing in some shrubs a few metres lower. Recovering it is an exhausting detour. The obstacles posed by the trees mean that proper skiing is now completely out of the question. Where the slope is steeper, I manage reasonably well by sliding down sideways. Where the terrain is less steep, it's a matter of skiing forward a little, trying to slow down, failing to obtain any control, falling down, crashing through the hard crust and struggling to get up again. This is repeated again and again, until I'm so exhausted that I can hardly get up at all any more.

After an eternity we finally reach the freedom of the road. We deposit the skis and thankfully it's only a short walk up the road back to where the car is parked.

Of course the conditions on the lower part of the descent were quite horrible, but I still can't help thinking that my skiing technique was really clumsy as well. I think I'll wait for a decent load of fresh powder before I try this ski touring thing again...

Tourengänger: Stijn

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Kommentare (2)

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Bertrand Pro hat gesagt:
Gesendet am 30. Januar 2018 um 12:26
Don't worry, you are not the only one who has a hard time skiing in those days ! At least you admit it with a bright sense of humor - other than the "eternal winners" well known in most mountaineering websites...

Stijn hat gesagt: RE:
Gesendet am 1. Februar 2018 um 18:30
Thanks Bertrand! But I would still think that most of them are actually better skiers than me, regardless of how they write about it :).

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