Hirzli and Planggenstock

Publiziert von Stijn , 20. Mai 2014 um 21:11.

Region: Welt » Schweiz » St.Gallen
Tour Datum:18 Mai 2014
Wandern Schwierigkeit: T3 - anspruchsvolles Bergwandern
Geo-Tags: CH-GL   Oberseegruppe   Zürcher Hausberge 
Aufstieg: 800 m
Abstieg: 800 m

My brother was visiting over the weekend. With his Berlin running club, he participated in the SOLA estafette run on Saturday. Not tired yet, we went for a hike on Sunday, to the popular panorama summit of Hirzli. The subsequent ridge to the Planggenstock had more snow than expected, and became a little more difficult than desired.


A little cable car run between Niederurnen (460m) and Morgenholz (983m). The official schedule has it running at most once every half hour. On this beautiful sunny Sunday however, it is running continuously, and still struggling to get everybody up. My brother and I get squeezed into the tiny cabin, which in addition to the official maximum of eight adults, furthermore contains three children and a pram. The cable luckily does its job without complaining.

We take the normal route (T2) from Morgenholz to Hirzli. The ascent is a little tedious. Some interesting wood sculptures of different animals along the path, provide some welcome entertainment. A more challenging route is possible by taking the East ridge, as described on Hikr here or here.

The summit of Hirzli is busy with hikers enjoying the view. Hirzli is a perfect vantage points for not just one, but two different major lakes. The narrow Walensee, backed by the Alvierkette, makes a perfect postcard picture. On the other end of the Linth canal, the Zürichsee is less alpine but not less splendid. Those with very good binoculars can watch cars queue on the Seedamm and people stroll by Rapperswil Castle and on the Holzsteg. Further highlights are the snowy Alpstein summits, visible through the gap between Speer and Mattstock. Vrenelisgärtli peeks spendidly above the walls of the Gumenstock. And towards the west, Pilatus on one side and Rigi on the other provide a remarkable background for Gross Aubrig.

Until now there has been some snow on the paths, but his hasn't caused any additional difficulty yet. I don't expect this to change on the path from Hirzli to Planggenstock, but this turns out to be a mistake. Certain stretches of path are clear of snow, but on other bits there really is a lot. The Eisheiligen really took their job seriously last week, to bring so much snow to this modest altitude of about 1600m in mid-May. Normally this path is T3, but in these conditions the final section towards the Planggenstock is more like T4. Unsurprisingly my brother, not having solid hiking boots, is struggling. If I had known it would be like this, I would not have taken him here. Normally, two rocky passages protected with a rope (the second one leading directly to the Planggenstock summit) would be the crux of this route. Now, however, a steep and fairly exposed snow field to be crossed in between is the trickiest bit. I scout a different route, which takes to the ridge, avoiding the majority of the snow, but also bringing even more exposure, so I decide against having my brother follow me here. He instead carefully makes his way across the snow, and we are both a little relieved when we reach the summit of the Planggenstock.

The Planggenstock is a lot less busy compared to Hirzli, but the view is still just as good. The only thing missing is the direct view down into the valley towards Ziegelbrücke. But to my pleasant surprise, the Walensee is still visible pretty much in its entirety behind Hirzli. As an extra bonus, the Grosser Mythen has now appeared from behind the Chöpfenberg, and that of course never spoils any view. The sky meanwhile is busy with a tow plane pulling up one glider after the other from the Schänis airfield.

The path on the other side of the Planggenstock is a considerably easier, to our relief. Soon, a path forks left, offering a return route towards Morgenholz. We however follow the ridge until P. 1470. This is a very worthwhile detour. The path here (an easyish T3) is much more of a ridge hike, keeping to the ridge itself much more than the path between Hirzli and Planggenstock. The view is usually limited by trees, but it's still an enjoyable path.

After P. 1470 we descend to the Muesalp and further down along a bridleway. We watch some rather large rockfalls cascade down the north face of the Chöpfenberg. A little later, we reach the Hirzli restaurant at Bodenberg for a well-deserved ice cream.


Hirzli is a beautiful (and accordingly popular) viewpoint, easily reached from the Morgenholz cable car. The Hirzli-Planggenstock path is an interesting continuation, a little too interesting for us actually due to the surprising amounts of snow that we found on the route. It certainly made my brother's first hike in Switzerland quite an experience for him.

Tourengänger: Stijn


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