Calanda circle tour

Published by michalaron , 25 September 2011, 13h59.

Region: World » Switzerland » Grisons » Calanda
Date of the hike: 4 June 2011
Hiking grading: T4+ - High-level Alpine hike
Geo-Tags: Calanda   CH-GR   CH-SG 
Time: 2 days
Height gain: 2750 m 9020 ft.
Height loss: 2750 m 9020 ft.
Route:Vättis - Kunkelspass - Calandahütte - Haldensteiner Calanda - Calandahütte - Vazer Alp - Berger Calanda - Vättis
Access to start point:By car to Vättis
Access to end point:By car to Vättis
Accommodation:Calandahütte SAC - beautiful and comfortable hut with very friendly and helpful guardian couple Daniela and Roman.

Finally we arranged to make our first summer mountain tour of the season!
We had already planned for a longer time to visit Haldensteiner Calanda (the idea came when we saw the beautiful massive of Calanda during ascent to near Falknis). We decided to start from Vättis mainly because our time limit – we only had two days, and we did not want to make either 2300m ascent or descent (or even both) in one day, which would have been necessary if we had chosen the usual way from Haldenstein. But also the fact that the north way from Vättis is much less frequented was a plus for us.  At first, we planned to take the direct way from Vättis up to the summit and than descent to Calandahütte, but we were quite afraid, that there can be still some snow which can be probably a big problem on this path (as I have read on another report - So we decided to take the much longer, but "safer" way across Kunkelspass. Later, we found out that this was probably a wise decision, since the hut keeper at Calandahütte told us that this path is no longer being maintained and there will be probably some problematic snow covered passages, since we experienced some snow (and unfortunately on some quite exposed places – where you have to traverse it on quite steep slope) when returning back to Vättis on the second day.
SATURDAY 4.6.2011:
Started closely before sunrise already by the daylight (around 6 AM). The first part up to Kunkelspass was just a walk on a wide paved road only very slowly gaining height (although it was not absolutely unproblematic because of a extremely big herd of cows which blocked the road completely in one place :-)). We reached the Kunkelspass pretty fast and continued up to Taminser Älpli by the smaller and steeper track through a nice larch forest – but still nothing difficult. After an early lunch break at Taminser Älpli, we had to walk a long traverse to Calandahütte (almost no height gain / loss, but quite a long distance). In this part, the path was sometimes not noticeable (and also not very well marked in some places), so it took us longer than we expected to reach the Calandahütte.
We reached it finally around 1 PM, when a little rain shower had just started and met there our friend, who started at Vazer Alp and after a short break continued up in a direction of Haldensteiner Calanda.
The way up was without any technical difficulties up to p. 2755 (although we already felt our already long way in our legs and therefore as we were approaching the summit, we were looking really not as the strongest and most fresh climbers of the day :-)).
The last part from p. 2755 up to the summit is a little more technically difficult and exposed than the rest of the way, but really only a little. Somewhere I read that it can be considered as climbing UIAA difficulty I, but I would really not call it real climbing, it is just short scramble over big stones, and you have to use your hands a little.
We enjoyed the great view from the summit, but did not stayed there for very long time, since we already saw some darker clouds coming. Approx. last half hour of the descent, we walked in quite a heavy rain :-)
After arriving back to Calandahütte, we had dinner and some nice time with our friends and also with the very pleasant and friendly “Hüttenwartspaar” Daniela and Roman. Finally, around the time of sunset, we said goodbye to our friends, who went back to their car in Vazer Alp the same day (or rather night in the end :-)) and went to well-deserved sleep after a very long day.
SUMMARY: total time around 12 hours (but with long rests – totally about 3 hours), difficulty T3-T4. We did not meet a single other person on the whole way (except our friends which we intendely met on Calandahütte and a about 4 other people, which were already at the Calandahütte when we arrived there), which was quite surprising due to quite nice weather an good conditions (no snow at all on any path of this day).

SUNDAY 5.6.2011:
We had no hurry in the morning, slowly had breakfast and left Calandahütte at 8:45. Also on the way to Vazer Alp across Wolfegg we really had a relaxing tempo, taking photos, running to near hillocks near the path, enjoying the views and great weather…
We reached Vazer Alp around 10:45 and decided (well – after a short arguing with my girlfriend ;-) ) that we still have enough time and energy to variegate the way back to Vättis by going to the “summit” of Berger Calanda first. Berger Calanda is no real summit, it is virtually just highest point of the north ridge of the Calanda massive. But still, the views from the top are great and the landscape around is really spectacular, so I can only recommend it. There is no marked or at least unmarked path from Vazer Alp to Berger Calanda, you just have to go all the way up (about 500m ascent) trough a quite steep meadows. But you can not go wrong in normal visibility, you see the highest point all the way and just have to go up and up until you reach the highest point:-) We arrived to the top around 12.30.
After enjoying the views and having a short lunch break, we started to descent in a direction back to marked path (leading from Vazer Alp to the north), copying the Berger Calanda east ridge. We planned to make somewhere a shortcut to the north and join the path more north from the saddle to save same meters, but it appeared to be not much possible due to steep and rocky north slopes of Berger Calanda.
So we joined the marked path near the sadde at p. 1844 and continued further north. We did not want to go all the way north to Alp Salaz and then return all the way south, so we made a shortcut to the west through a saddle bellow Stelli (this was unproblematic – only a short way through a meadow to the saddle and than joined sort of a path, which took us to the marked path on the west side of Calanda massive going to the south and back to Vättis).
After joining this path (around 14:30), we expected, the remaining way down to Vättis would be quite fast and easy, but this appeared to be not quite true.  Actually it was still quite a long distance (first we the path makes quite long traverse to the north-west before starting to lose height) and we were 2 or 3 times delayed be remaining snow “tongue” running down on steep passages. Traversing these fields of snow was sometimes not so easy as one could think, we were sometimes quite scared of potential slip, which could be fatal and had to go very carefully or walk around a few tens of meters lower to avoid the snow field completely. Later, when the path finally started to descent, it was sometimes hard to find the path, since it was poorly maintained and marked and sometimes completely overgrown with grass and not noticeable. And finally, the lower we were, the steeper the path became, so even the last 200 height meters was definitely not a piece of cake :-) We were quite happy when we finally reached the Tamina tal around 18:30 (!) and about and hour later finally got back to our car parked south of Vättis. We refreshed ourselves by a cold bath in Tamina and cold beer cooled also in Tamina and have to handle “only” an eight hour driving back to Czech Republic.
SUMMARY:  total time around 11 hours (but with long rests again), difficulty T4+ (due to quite steep unmarked ascent to Berger Calanda, quite difficult traverse of the snow fields and steep hard-to-find path down to Vättis). Met just one couple going from Vazer Alp to Calandahütte, but again no one at all except of that.
Great, spectacular, with greatly diverse landscape and views, but a little bit physically demanding. Can strongly recommend to everybody!
Vivat Calanda!

Hike partners: michalaron

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18 Aug 14
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