Gonzen – Girenspitz – Gauschla, The well-known the wild and the scenic
It was a wonderful fall day, prefect weather and three diverse and interesting peaks.
I started out in Sargans and went up to the Gonzen via the Leiterweg. In his report Schlumpf rated the hike up the Leiterweg as T2, however I would give it a T3 at least since the actual “Leiter” (see picture here) is quite exposed and the patch right before the ladder is secured with a steal rope. The Gonzen is a well-known mountain with a nice view and often visited. I had to share the view with about 20 school kids and their teacher probably on a field trip, so I didn’t stay very long.
I then walked down via Folla to the farmhouse near point 1668. Staying more or less on the same altitude I walked over to Labria and down along the street towards Oberschan to the turn at P. 1596. There I traversed over to Schafhalde (no path). Schafhalde is the south flank immediately west of P.1821, the highest peak of the Flidachöpf. Traversing from P.1596 to the bottom of Schafhalde is quite exhausting because there are quite a few alder trees in the way... Even though the way up Schafhalde to P. 1821 seems quite steep and hard if you look at it from Gonzen, it is actually surprisingly easy (T5-) see picture of Schafhalde from the bottom, beware of falling rocks though! Once on P. 1821 you can more or less follow the ridge up to the Steinmannli southeast of Girenspitz, and from there to Girenspitz along the southeast ridge. The last few meters are quite exposed and the rock fragile (T5+).
(The SAC guide is not very accurate for the Girenspitz, so let me elucidate: You can access the Steinmannil (Vorgipfel of Girenspitz) from east or west. Also, for the access from west the SAC guide says: “Vom Sattel westlich des Gipfels quert man auf Trittspuren am Südfuss der Felsmauer”. However, the mentioned saddle is northwest and the wall faces southwest.)
From the saddle northwest of Girenspitz I then traversed over through rubble and grass at an altitude of around 2100m. From above Matschuns I followed the normal route up to Gauschla.
For my way down to Mels from Gauschla I chose the route via Chemmi down to Palfris. From Gauschla I first went back down he same way I came up to around 2100m and then traversed in the northeast flank of Gauschla (snow) to get to the Chemmi. This is where you find the wooden ladder and the marked route from Palfris to Alvier. From Palfris to Mels I went down the marked path via Hinterspina, Heiligkreuz.
Exact route: Sargans – Schloss – Leiter – Älpli – Gonzen – P. 1668 – Labria – P. 1596 – Schafhalde – P. 1821 – Girenspitz – Matschuns – Gauschla – Matschuns – Chemmi – Palfris – Hinterspina – Heiligkreuz - Mels