Chli Aubrig from the Wägital


Published by Stijn , 9 December 2013, 21h29.

Region: World » Switzerland » Schwyz
Date of the hike: 8 December 2013
Snowshoe grading: WT2 - Snowshoe hike
Waypoints:
Geo-Tags: CH-SZ   Etzel-Aubrig-Kette   Zürcher Hausberge 

Snowshoeing is almost unknown in the UK, even though some showshoes certainly would have been useful a couple of times doing some Scottish winter routes. In Switzerland it is however the number one winter activity for those who love the outdoors but can't ski. (That includes me, though hopefully not for long.) So I was quite eager to give it a go. With my Scottish winter experience, I didn't expect to struggle much, but the unknown always makes it a bit more exciting.

Through CouchSurfing I got in touch with Brigit, who kindly let me use her spare pair of snowshoes. Brigit's CouchSurfing guest Sig - a tall Icelander - drove with us to the Wägital as well, but as his fitness was a little lakcing, we left him in the valley to explore and take photos at his own pace. We parked in a layby between Schrä and Brandhaltli. This involved a short drive on a very icy single track road. Those who aren't confident driving on ice, can leave their car at the dam of the Wägitalersee and walk an extra kilometer.

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Brigit and myself set off for Chli Aubrig. As I hoped, I quickly get used to walking with the snowshoes. In perfect weather we walk up past Rohr and Eggstofel, over Nüssen and to the (closed) Wildegg hut, where we stop for a lunch break. I have been wearing Brigit's old pair of Atlas snowshoes. After lunch we exchange snowshoes, so that I also get to try the newer pair of MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes. This proves to be a lucky exchange for me, because soon after the binding of one of the Atlas snowshoes breaks. Brigit very cleverly devises a temporary fix with a keyring. Meanwhile, I enjoy the panorama from the summit of Chli Aubrig. The Zürisee, the Uetliberg and Zürich City seem to be so close. Unbelievable to be within sight of home, but in such an amazing mountain scenery at the same time. The visibility is perfect. The steam coming out of the Gösgen and Beznau power plants, both at about 70 km distance, can be seen perfectly sharp. In the Mittelland, a vague hazy blanket covers the valleys, with the hills of the eastern Jura rising out behind. To the west, behind the Sihlsee and the hills around Einsiedeln, the distinct summits of the Mythen, Pilatus and Rigi are sticking out. To the east, behind the Grosser Aubrig, the view extends as far as the Alpstein massif.

Chli Aubrig can be reached on a marked snowshoe trail from the Sihlsee. The trails from the Wägital are not specifically marked as snowshoe trails. One a perfect Sunday like this however, there are still several other people around on this side as well, either on snowshoes or skis. On the main routes, a clear trail has already been broken. On the way back, we take advantage of Brigits local knowledge to take a lesser known route. We go back over Nüssen and continue to Rosenhöchi, where the main snowshoe trail turns right towards the Sihlsee. But we continue on towards the Chli Mutzenstein. To the south, the Fluebrig shows its imposing icy north face every once in a while. I had not heard about the Fluebrig before, but looking on Hikr it seems to be a very interesting mountain. Lots of T4-T6 summer routes, with the normal route also possible as a (late) winter route with crampons and ice axe. That's going on my wish list. Meanwhile, the views to the east are even more impressive: Chöpfenberg, Tierberg, Bockmattli, Schiberg (with the slightly higher summit of Plattenberg just about visible behind), Brünnelistock, Rossalpelispitz, Zindlenspitz. All in beautiful evening sunlight.

The existing trail in the snow descends directly from Heizli to Tannstofel. It is a good idea however to pass directly below the north wall of the Chli Mutzenstein, roughly following the white-red-white marks of the summer hiking trail. Otherwise you'll miss the best views of the Fluebrig, as well as the great viewpoint at P. 1430.

Descending further into the Wägital, the best has been saved for the last: an amazing viewpoint at Stockbügel (P. 1153), with a fantastic panorama of the Wägitalersee, impressive mountains behind, and the ski displaying a purple-red evening glow. Amazing!

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According to David Coulin's SAC guidebook the route is graded WT3. Possibly that includes actually ascending the Chli Mutzenstein; his description is rather unclear about this. The ascent looks rather ominous, however, though there might be some secret easy way up. In any case, just traversing below, like we did, wasn't significantly more difficult than the rest of the route, so I'm grading the whole tour as WT2. It's worth emphasizing though that snow conditions where probably quite easy for us. It might be more difficult in worse conditions.

A perfect day, a beautiful route through a winter wonder land. I loved trying out showshoeing. Now I'm in the market for a pair of snowshoes for myself, because I've certainly got a taste for more!

Hike partners: Stijn


Gallery


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