Biet and Rütistein - The classic ski tour at Hochybrig in very warm and sunny weather

Published by 360 Pro , 2 April 2009, 22h07.

Region: World » Switzerland » Schwyz
Date of the hike: 1 April 2009
Ski grading: PD-
Geo-Tags: CH-SZ   Westliche Sihltaler Alpen   Nördliche Muotataler Alpen 
Access to start point:cff logo Hoch-Ybrig, Talst. Weglosen
Access to end point:cff logo Hoch-Ybrig, Talst. Weglosen

Biet together with the Rütistein is a ski tour classic and they have been described on hikr before already (see MaeNi: here, and kleopatra: here). On a weekend with good conditions you find dozens of other touring skiers here, on this day I was the only one on Biet and only saw very few other people touring in the whole Hochybrig area.

One problem with ski tours in spring, when you try to always use public transportation, is to get to your starting point early enough. In spring and in particular on a warm day like this you usually don’t want to ski way past noon for several reasons. The first bus to cff logo Hoch-Ybrig, Talst. Weglosen only arrives there shortly after 9, which doesn’t really leave a lot of time. One way to make up for it is to do the tour a little faster…

After getting out of the bus, I could already walk in my T-Shirt. The melting snow was dripping of the trees left and right. Down in the shade while walking up to Laueli and Chäserenwald, it was relatively cool, but as soon as I got out of the forest into the sun below the Druesberghütte, the snow was very wet and heavy already. Instead of going all the way to the Druesberghütte, I turned left to the Sattlerhütte and along the north side of the Schülberg to the Lehhütte, and further to the huts at Hinterofen.

Here I caught up with another touring skier who started earlier than me. We shortly chatted about the very warm temperature and agreed that an hour later would have probably been too late. She then decided that it was even too warm and too dangerous to continue all the way up to Biet right now, and turned around towards Rütistein.
Now what? Should I go anyway, even though an experienced looking touring skier thinks it’s too dangerous?

Well, I did and here are my thoughts and reasons why I decided to go anyway.
First: The obvious danger was the very steep east flank of Fidisberg, which gets sun very early in the morning already. As kleopatra already mentioned in her report (and actually saw too), some avalanches (dry and wet) might come down from there. However, if you don’t go up towards Hinter Wannenhöchi on the side of Fidisberg, but further east more towards the huts of Hinterofen, the danger of avalanches coming down from Fidisberg that far over is extremely low (in fact there is even a little dell there so avalanches would have to go back up on the other side).
Second: The way I went up from Hinterofen to the summit of Biet is on the southwest side of Biet, were the sun has only gotten to for a short period. The steepest parts there are only around 30°, but mostly less. In addition, a lot of snow was more or less blown off there with some snow free patches too. Further up, after the first cross, the steepness is not critical any more.
Third: For my way down and over to Rütistein, I didn’t ski down the direct way in south flank towards Rütistein, (which is up to 35° steep), but instead I decided to go down to Hinterofen the same way I came up.

So, in my opinion it was just fine to go up to Biet even under these circumstances and I didn’t expose myself to any unnecessary danger. However, since this other person decided to turn around and I decided to go anyway, I was left with a queasy feeling.

After I was back down in Hinterofen I put the skins back onto my skies and crossed over to Hinterofenhöchi. From here on, the snow was not wet and heavy any more, because the slopes of Rütistein are all north facing. I went up all the way to the summit, made a short break, skied down to the Druesberghütte (which was closed) and then down to the path on Chäserenwald From there i skied along the path back down to Weglosen. The snow was only enjoyable at the very top of Rütistein, about half way to the Druesberghütte, then it got heavier and heavier and very slow. Since I missed the 12:53h bus at Weglosen, I got to wait in the nice and warm sun for 3 hours until the next bus came, which was quite alright, because I didn’t really feel like going back down in foggy Unterland already anyway.

cff logo Hoch-Ybrig, Talst. Weglosen – Laueli – Chäserenwald – Sattlerhütte – Lehhütte - Hinterofen – Biet – Hinterofen – Hinterofenhöchi – Rütistein – Druesberghütte – Chäserenwald – Laueli – cff logo Hoch-Ybrig, Talst. Weglosen

Hike partners: 360

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