Adventurous Alpstein – or how I had to give up on Gamschopf

Published by 360 Pro , 20 September 2008, 23h52.

Region: World » Switzerland » St.Gallen
Date of the hike:17 September 2008
Hiking grading: T4 - High-level Alpine hike
Geo-Tags: Alpstein   CH-AR   CH-SG 
Access to start point:cff logo Unterwasser, Post
Access to end point:cff logo Schwägalp

The tours recently published on hikr about Gamschopf inspired me to give it a try as well. Unlike Delta or Alpin_Rise I don’t feel comfortable to climb a III up and down without any safeguards so I decided to approach Gamschopf from the Lauchwissattel via N ridge. Both Delta and Alpin_Rise said in their reports here and here that the N ridge as described in the SAC guide is an “easy T6” or “T5-T6” respectively, which I would normally feel comfortable to do.

My hike started with a delay of 1 ½ hours in Unterwasser. The delay was due to the fact that I had to wait for my camera to come back – it decided to make a trip to Buchs before going on a hike together with me :-) In other words: I forgot my camera in the bus. As soon as I noticed I called the Post in Nesslau, they then called the bus driver of the Postauto I was in. Luckily he found my camera and brought it back to Unterwasser on his ride back from Buchs to Nesslau. Thanks a lot to the lady at the Post Nesslau and the bus driver for returning my equipment worth thousands of franks! I actually thought for a minute not to wait for the camera and pick it up in Nesslau after my hike but then I thought: What’s a hikr-report without pictures? And I tell you I was glad I waited, because with all the things I saw it would have been a pity not to capture these visual highlights...
Since I was “behind schedule” already I decided to change my plans and also make a little detour to the Thurwasserfälle Chämmerlitobel on my way to Alpli –Schrenit and Lauchwissattel. If you’re in the area it is definitely worth visiting, especially when there is lots of water like on this day. In fact it isn’t really a detour if you don’t have a problem to walk where there isn’t a marked path. All the way at the top of the waterfall, instead of going back down to the hiking path, one can just follow the right side of the Chämmerlitobel to Eneththur, where you get back on the path. It’s actually pretty interesting to walk at the edge of the impressive Chämmerlitobel.

I’m always impressed by the view of the Säntis when I walk towards Alpli, especially on this day when the Säntis is covered with some "powdered sugar". On Alpli I saw a lot of smoke and was kind of alarmed, because I saw a hut burning! I almost called the fire department, but then I saw that it was intentional, a controlled “getting rid of an old hut”. I then kept walking towards Schrenit and started hearing a lot of cowbells and - oh nice surprise - the farmers brought down the cattle from the mountain pastures. Again, I was glad I had my camera with me to capture the “Alpabzug”.

The rising fog made me walk a little faster and soon I reached Schrenit. The fog stopped here, but I kept going up. On Lauchwissattel I looked at the N side of Gamschopf and to my surprise the whole north side was still covered with a lot of snow. Since the snow was melting and the grounds kind of slushy, I was rather certain that it would be a bad idea to try a T5/6 under these conditions. Well, my ego wanted to go up there anyway and so I started the ridge where it was snow free. At the point where one needs to go down a little into the north flank on a steep grass band, my ego lost the fight against my rationality. It was just way too slippery with the melting snow and slushy ground underneath. Maybe Delta’s east flank approach would have brought me a little closer to the summit, but the last part all the way up to the summit is facing north and I saw snow there too. Therefore, I decided to turn around and postpone the Gamschopf for another day.

So instead I followed some of the peaks on the way to Säntis, similar to the 4th part of Alpin_Rise’s Überschreitung des westlichen Alpsteins: von Stein zum Säntis or the reverse hike which NiklSchr described here. Stoss – Stosssattel - Silberplatten - Grüenhorn - Grenzchopf – Tierwis and then to Stütze 2 and down with the cable car to Schwägalp.

A few comments about the rest of the hike: In order to get up to Stoss I left the path from Lauchwis to Stosssattel and pretty much headed directly to towards the summit. According to the summit log Stoss is not visited very often (the current Gipfelbuch is only the 6th since 1923, and Alpin_Rise and his friend were the last one before me.
In order to get to Silberplatten one could theoretically take the more or less direct way over the six Silberplattenchöpf. However if you don’t want to climb and rappel you have to make a rather big detour on the eastern foothills of Silberplatten, but as soon as you pass the lowest point it’s pretty easy to go up to Silberplatten.

From Silberplatten it’s worth hiking along the ridge to Tierwis and also visit Grüenhorn and Grenzchopf. Only at around P 2067 I had to shortly go into the SE flank down to the path but the rest can be done right on the ridge. The whole path from Stoss to Tierwis is a rather easy T4 while not on the path.
Since it was kind of late and because the last bus at Schwägalp leaves around 5:30 pm, I decided to not go all the way up to Säntis, but instead take the cable car down from Stütze 2.

Unterwasser - Thurwasserfälle – Chämmerlitobel – Alpli – Schrenit – Lauchwissattel – Stoss – Stosssattel – Silberplatten - Grüenhorn - Grenzchopf – Tierwis - Stütze 2 - Schwägalp

Hike partners: 360


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Comments (4)

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Alpin_Rise Pro says: Gamschopf N-Ridge
Sent 22 September 2008, 11h05
I would clearly rate the ridge from Lauchwiessattel to Schwarzchopf as T6 II. If you take the NE Flank first, it would be probably easier (T5+?). Look at this picture, on these routes you reach the ridge just above the exposed detour in the N-flank, where the N-Ridge becomes easy.
The part in the N-flank is often slipperly and very exposed, so your decision was right to turn - if there is any snow in it gets very dangerous!

I wondered too why Stoss is not very often climbed, it's a very nice outlook!

PS: Nice foto from the Alp Apzug - I like the guys in the yellow pants ;-)


360 Pro says: RE:Gamschopf N-Ridge
Sent 22 September 2008, 11h19

> I would clearly rate the ridge from Lauchwiessattel to Schwarzchopf as T6 II.

I guess you meant to write Gamschopf instead of Schwarzchopf here...
and yes I agree it is a T6, even though I only did part of it so far...


Delta Pro says: RE:Gamschopf N-Ridge
Sent 22 September 2008, 15h05
Congratulations to this very entertaining report, as well as the beautiful pictures - not a daily occasion to take them!

Don't bother about not being able to climb Gamschopf at the first try - I even needed three... The first time (November 2005) I turned around exactly the same place as you did.

Cheers, Delta
And I'm exited you liked Stoss as well ;-)

Alpin_Rise Pro says: RE:Gamschopf N-Ridge
Sent 22 September 2008, 16h09
In my post above it should read "Gamschopf"... mixed the "heads" round there.

It's not easy to do any T6 "onsight", as Delta said! This weekend I failed at a 5a in the Churfirsten, but I blame it to the conditions (fog and Bise, cold fingers...).
I'm sure you can do Gamschopf under normal, dry conditions. And don't forget to try the ledge on Schwarzchopf east!

Looking forward to read more your reports and see your fantastic photos - glad you got your camera back easily!

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