Niederbauen Chulm

Published by Stijn , 19 July 2013, 16h51.

Region: World » Switzerland » Uri
Date of the hike: 8 June 2013
Hiking grading: T4 - High-level Alpine hike
Geo-Tags: Bauen - Brisen - Bürgenstock   CH-NW   CH-UR 

Having just moved to Zürich, I met up with two CouchSurfers for my first ever hike in the Swiss Alps. A perfect day for it as well, with impeccable weather. We took the train to Brunnen, a quick yet stunning ferry across the Vierwaldstättersee, and the Treib-Seelisbergbahn to gain 300 meters of altitude before the start.

The objective of the day was the Niederbauen Chulm (for which many alternative spellings seem to co-exist), via Alp Laweli, above which a white-blue-white path ascents a couple of ladders through a tunnel in the rock ("Stollen"). A fun and original feature! We were a little worried if remaining snow might still be blocking the tunnel. The ladder section itself however was just about clear of snow. Above, before reaching the relatively flat summit, the path ascents a steep grass slope with a number of zigzags. Here, two left-over snow fields, and the wet ground caused by their melting, made things a little precarious, but with care we managed to reach to top of the route, which is just minutes from the actual summit of the Niederbauen Chulm. Surrounded by the Vierwaldstädtersee in all directions except for the southwest, the summit provides a stunning panorama of the Lake and it's many famous neighbouring hills, such as Pilatus, RIgi and Mythen. Quite a lot of people were having lunch on the summit (most of them having done a much easier ascent via the Niederbauen cable car), but not too many to spoil the beauty of the view.

We wanted to descend back towards Seelisberg, but ended up missing a path and finding ourself descending towards Bauen. Lesson learned: in Switzerland, the 50:000 hiking maps. with signposted hiking paths highlighted, are much more suited for planning and navigation than the 25:000. In contrast to the UK, the extra detail of the 25:000 doesn't add much, and the paths are often hard to recognize on them, with no distinction between the paths which are signposted / marked on the ground, and those that aren't.
Anyway, a by chance a couple of hikers, whom we met on the descent, offered us a lift in their car from Bauen to the train station in Flüelen, which came in very handy.

Before that, we almost had an accident on the descent, when one of my companions slipped while trying to cross a stream. The stream obviously was a lot wilder than normal (presumably because of the large amounts of snow that were melting higher up), which made the crossing very precarious. Luckily he didn't hurt himself much, and he even had come prepared with a spare pair of socks to replace the wet ones.

Apart from that little misadventure, it was a fantastic day out.
And just by looking around at the surrounding mountains, I collected plenty more ideas for future hikes as well.

Hike partners: Stijn

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