• BLOG
  • LOVE LETTER FOR SWISS TRAIL SIGNALIZATION

    Tiina Kivelä

    I miss you, Switzerland. I’ve been in Finland for three weeks now and even though it’s quite nice here too, I can’t help thinking of you every other minute. You had me at hello last year, and I can’t wait to get back to you. You keep me focused, and your quality of life is just awesome. No-one is perfect but for me, you are good enough. You keep me on track, you keep me fit and you make me happy. And you make exploring, a thing which makes me extra happy, so easy. 

    Up here in Lapland, I feel a bit lost without you. In a matter of fact, I’ve been literally lost a few times, missing your trail signalization. Not in a boring way, there’s still the excitement and challenges left. But you have the base set so that I can concentrate on the other things rather than keeping myself on track. You make sure I find my mountains and my way home in the evenings, without needing to think it so much. Up here, too many times it’s all about finding the start, the middle and the way home. Views come second when I need to translate the bizarre logic of Finnish trail signalization.

    In Switzerland, all I have to do it jump off the train or my house and find the first signs of by you at the corner of the station/street/condo. Compared to most of the countries, you understand that the trip starts from one’s mind and you don’t let me in trouble searching for the start point already. No, you put the sign pointing to nearest peak right there in the train station. And off I can go, conveniently and excited.

    Some times I have been a bit confused, even with you. When you haven’t been there in every crossroads and when you haven’t pointed to the destination I’ve been initially looking for. But in most cases, an additional map with all the trails (like this – you may click and view the hiking trails from the menu on the left-hand side) would have helped me to solve that little puzzle. After all, it’s good that you also remind me to trust myself and be comfortable with my insecurities. And many times, getting lost ends up being the best part of the trip. As long as it doesn’t end badly.

    I really hope you don’t forget me while I’m away. I’m more than fine sharing you with others but I can’t wait to meet you again next week and let you guide me higher.

    And I will follow you, always.

    Yours, Tiina.

    Tiina Kivelä

    SHORT GUIDE TO SWISS TRAIL SIGNALIZATION

    • Hiking trails (Wanderwege) are generally accessible trails and usually determined for foot traffic. They generally lead aside from roads carrying motorized traffic and are usually not surfaced with asphalt or concrete. Steep sections are negotiated with steps and areas with the danger of falling are protected by hand rails. Streams are crossed by catwalks or bridges. Hiking trails make no special demands upon the users. Signalization for hiking trails is yellow.
    • Mountain trails (Bergwanderwege) are hiking trails, which partly access difficult terrain. They are mostly steep, narrow and exposed in places. Particularly difficult sections are secured with ropes or chains. In certain circumstances streams can only be crossed via fords. Users must be surefooted, have a head for heights, be physically fit and have knowledge of dangers in the mountains (rock falls, danger of slipping/falling, sudden changes in the weather). Solid boots with good sole profiles, equipment appropriate to weather conditions and topographical maps are preconditions. Signalization of mountain trails is a yellow signpost with white-red-white tip. White-red-white painted stripes confirm the route.
    • Alpine routes (Alpinwanderwege) are challenging mountain trails. They sometimes lead across glaciers and scree, through rockfall areas and through rocks with short climbing sections. It can not be assumed that any structural provisions have been undertaken and these would in any case be limited to securing particularly exposed sections with a danger of falling. Users of Alpine routes must be surefooted, have a head for heights, be physically very fit and know how to use ropes and pick axe as well as being able to negotiate climbing sections with the aid of their hands. They must have knowledge of dangers in the mountains. In addition to the equipment for mountain trails, an altimeter, compass, rope and pick axe for crossing glaciers are essential. Signalization of Alpine routes is a blue signpost with white-blue-white tip, white-blue-white painted stripes confirm the route. The information panels at the beginning of Alpine routes indicate special requirements (more info here).
    • The signalization of SwitzerlandMobility routes (Die Wegweisung der Routen von SchweizMobil – you’re welcomeis standard throughout Switzerland. It is based on Swiss norms for signalization of non-motorized traffic (SN 640 829). It was revised for the realization of SwitzerlandMobility and today is the only international norm for standard signalization of non-motorized traffic. The yellow signs for hiking trails, white signs for the barrier-free routes and red for cycling, mountain biking and skating routes were supplemented for SwitzerlandMobility with the addition of route information panels including route names and numbers. One-digit numbers indicate national routes, two-digit numbers indicate regional routes and three-digit numbers indicate local routes. The route information panels are green for hikers and barrier-free routes, light blue for cyclists, ochre for mountain bikers, violet for skaters and turquoise for canoeists. These colours are also used by SwitzerlandMobility to illustrate the various routes e.g. on maps, information signs and the Internet. 

    Source & more information: Wanderland.ch / Difficulty scales by Sac.ch


    Tiina Kivelä


    FI: Puhutaanpa hetki ulkoilureittimerkinnöistä / LinkedIn Pulse

     

     

  • BLOG
  • LOADING BATTERIES: NIEDERHORN TO HABKERN

    Tiina Kivelä

    Last Sunday, the last one in Berner Oberland before a three-week break. Had a dear (and fit) friend over and the situation just called for a good hike, this time from Niederhorn to Habkern. Luckily, the weather was also on our side and we had amazing and almost too warm sunny hike day before the typical July afternoon thunderstorm (during which we were already enjoying our well-deserved burgers and beers in Habkern).

    As the style goes, Scandinavian blondes did the trail 2/3 of the time suggested. Even with stopping for few pics and awwwws for the views. I still have problems believing the landscape is real and understanding I can call this place my home. What have I done to deserve this? So grateful, so damn grateful.

    Next time though I’d hike the trail the other way, starting from Habkern and ending in Niederhorn. Because uphills are way funnier than downhills. When hiking and life in general.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina KIvelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Niederhorn to Habkern


    FI: Viimeinen sunnuntaihaikki hetkeen Bernin ylämailla viime viikonloppuna, ennen kolmen viikon taukoa.

    Oli norjalainen ystävä kylässä, juuri hän jonka kanssa voimme aina laskea kulkevamme noin kolmasosan nopeampaa kuin kyltit ehdottavat. Tällä kertaa nopeus oli valttia sekä norjalaista illalla odottaneen suoran lennon vuoksi (oi Bergen, joka tarjoat suoria lentoja Sveitsiin myös kesällä – milloin Rovaniemi, milloin?) että iltapäivästä tyypilliseen heinäkuiseen tapaan iskeneen ukkosen – sitä ennen ilma oli toki mitä parhain, melkein liiankin lämmin. Mutta vain melkein. 
    Reittimme kulki Niederhornin gondolin yläasemalta Habkernin kylään ja vaikka maisemat olivat taaskin henkeäsalpaavat, niin seuraavalle kerralle tai muille kiinnostuneille vinkkinä viilaisin reissua sen verran, että kulkisin reissun ennemmin Habkernista Niederhorniin. Koska ylämäet vain ovat parhaita, haikatessa ja elämässä yleensäkin.