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Cheibehore (Gurbsgrat + Chirelgrat)

Published by Stijn , 19 September 2016, 21h46.

Region: World » Switzerland » Bern » Simmental
Date of the hike:11 September 2016
Hiking grading: T5 - Challenging High-level Alpine hike
Climbing grading: I (UIAA Grading System)
Geo-Tags: CH-BE 
Time: 7:00
Height gain: 1200 m 3936 ft.
Height loss: 1600 m 5248 ft.

I have already been a fan of the "Schweiz 3000" and "Ostalpen 3000" books published by Rother Selection. When I noticed the new "Gratwandern Schweiz" guidebook by some of the same authors (congratz Pit,  t2star and Omega3), I did not hesitate. There are plenty of great hiking ideas in there. Many routes were already known to me, but there are also some ridges that were not on my radar at all before buying the book, for example the Gurbsgrat and the Chirelgrat onto the Cheibehorn. Eager to explore new territory, we embarked on a day trip from Chreis Cheib to the Cheibehorn.


The Diemtigtal Postauto drops us off at the Wiriehorn ski lift (only runs on selected days). From the top station at Nüegg, we start on the relatively popular Wiriehorn hiking path. When taking the ski lift, you even get some lottery tickets that you need to stamp off along the way... On the saddle between the Wiriehorn and the spectacular Tierlaufhorn, we turn right, traversing to the Gurbssattel ("Gurbsgrat" on the signposts). Here, the ascent route of the Cheibehorn leaves the marked hiking paths and continues along the ridge, the Gurbsgrat proper, which I continue to climb on my own.

The ridge starts off gently and grassy. The first more interesting section is the "Silberne Fluh", consisting of some brittle yet grippy plates. At ca. 2380m, the Gurbsgrat becomes more challenging. To avoid the first rock step, I follow traces into the north face, where the terrain quickly becomes somewhat uncomfortable (moist ground and loose rocks, T5). I stay in the north face until an obvious wide gully leads me to the ridge again. The remainder of the ridge until the summit is now surprisingly easy with only short bits of scrambling. I did not encounter any UIAA grade II scrambling, nor did I see the "untrustworthy" fixed rope that should be there. The likely explanation is that I stayed in the north face for too long and that the intended route returns to the ridge more quickly, though I did not see an obvious way to do so.

There is a log book inside the Cheibenhorn summit cairn which only has about 15 entries for 2016. A real hidden gem, this summit. Moreover, the best is yet to come. The descent along the Chirelgrat is continuously exhilarating. There are some rocky bits in the upper part of the ridge, afterwards there is mostly a vague path along the moderately exposed, grassy ridge (T4). The joy is only tempered by the question: "how do I get down from this ridge"? At around 1980m, I turn left and work my way down through very steep terrain with a mix of long, moist grass and dense bushes; a somewhat unpleasant affair (T5). There might be better ways to reach the Alp Bütschi from the Chirelgrat, but none of the descriptions that I've read is particularly clear about where and how...

From Bütschi, we walk back to Nüegg via the Alp Schwarzeberg, once again on the marked hiking paths of the "Wiriehorn Rundwanderung". Those travelling by public transport like us, will by now know if they were quick enough to catch the 15.59 bus or not. We took it slightly more relaxed, which means we have to wait for the 17.59 bus. Unfortunately, the ski lift (and "trottinet" rental) closes at 16.30. This gives us the choice between waiting forever down in the valley (at least there is a restaurant, if you choose this option) or staying longer on the mountain before walking down on foot. Though the Nüegg restaurant is not a particularly idyllic place, we go for the latter option anyway. When it's time to walk down to the bus stop, we discover that the hiking path no longer runs like on the map, but instead makes a (badly marked) detour to Underi Heitere first. Apparently the original shorter route has been sacrificed to make way for some mountainbike trails... We nevertheless make it down in time for the Postauto without problems.

Hike partners: Stijn

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Comments (2)

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t2star says:
Sent 20 September 2016, 12h41
look at the pictures from the first link "ähnliche berichte", look again in the book, then you get an idea about at least one author - the others are hikr's as well;-)

Still lots of fun on any ridges,

Stijn says: RE:
Sent 20 September 2016, 19h00
Nice one, I had not realized that yet :).

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