• Badi
  • Pizol 2844m And The 5 Lakes Classic In Heidiland

    Tiina Kivelä

    It’s the heatwave in Europe (like you wouldn’t have heard already). And there’s no air conditioning in the Swiss home, which also works as my office. Or “works” as working productively in 30°C  is simply impossible. And so, I’ve found cooling in the IKEA (also nice cabin role plays they offer) and mountains,  and so on Tuesday I found myself on top of Pizol (2844m) and speedhiking the famous (and super popular) 5 lakes trail in the Heidiland tourism region, Eastern Switzerland.

    Pizol is not in any way iconic peak nor in the alpine mountain category beautiful and famous like Matterhorn or Eiger. But it offers some nice scrambling on the bluewhite alpinwanderweg and excellent views down to the turquoise Wildsee lake, the second by the classic 5 lakes trail. There’s also something left of the Pizol glacier, though like every glacier in the Alps everywhere in the world, it’s step by step dying (stupid climate change).

    If thinking of going, you may reach Pizol from the Wildsee/Pizolhütte/5lakes direction, or take the less popular alpine hikingrtrail from the south, trailhead of which can be reached by bus from Bad Ragaz (in where there’s also nice baths to take care of the wellness side, as the name suggests).

    When taking the 5 lakes trail instead, please note that it’s a very popular route (can’t blame though – the lakes and views are awesome), especially during the holiday season and weekends. Crowded paths and easy pace is more than sure thing in here.

    To save your time and knees, you may also take the gondola and lifts from Wangs/Sargans to Pizolhütte and trailhead, and end your tour in the Gaffia lift station. My Tuesday route in here – for me it was about 5,5h with short breaks, but I would suggest you reserve at least 7h for the whole thing, the 5 lakes trail and Pizol. Oh and add more, if you’re gonna swim (in every lake).

    I headed home after the hike, though now in the sweaty home office I do think I should have never left these waters, ice and snow…

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Ps. Happy birthday dear Switzerland! I love you and for this a silly but oh so happy face of mine.


    Where: Sargans – Pizolhütte – Wildseeluggen – Pizol – Schottensee – Schwarzsee – Baseggla – Baschalvasee – Gaffia (map) – Sargans

     

  • Appenzell
  • Alpinwanderweg Marwees – A Mental Exercise

    Tiina Kivelä

    From a movie I watched recently I picked up the sentence go beyond your body’s complaints. In there it was said by a person with not so good intentions, but for me, it pretty much sums up most of my exercises and mountain endeavours, in a good way. And for me, it’s going beyond both the body’s and mind’s complaints, especially when doing things by myself.

    I did the season’s first alpine hike on this Saturday, on a mountain called Marwees in the Alpstein massif in Appenzell, which offers a nice ridge and about an hour of demanding alpine hiking route, alpinwanderweg (further explanations in here), with excellent views (if you manage your nerves well enough to pay attention to them). And it was definitely a tour which brought me beyond my body’s and mind’s complaints.

    It was steep, it was narrow and it was challenging, and it was more than once I thought why did I come up here, head all dizzy and legs a bit shaky. But in the end, I did it, and even though the legs were mashed especially after the final downhill (total 17,5km, 1199m up and 1199m down, 6h) it was again one of those things which brought me forward, mentally and physically and trained my nerves.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    For the same tour (note that it’s demanding and only for the very experienced hikers) go from Wasserauen (in Appenzell region in Eastern Switzerland) to Seaalpsee and head up to Meglisalp from there. Then, turn left and up from the tiny settlement and in the crossroad of paths on the shoulder choose the blue-white path leading to Marwees (or well the exact mountaintop stays in the left while you continue the path on the right side to the ridge) and eventually to Bogartenlücke and back to Wasserauen.

    On this tour, many were passing me another way round, so I guess it’s good (might be even better) the other way round. That way, you also have the excellent chance to continue the bluewhite path to and over Hundstein and from there down to Fälensee.

    This time, as it was a very hot day, I did a little detour in the last section, to dip sweaty myself into the Seealpsee, which that time of the day around 6 pm had gotten rid of most of the day tour and picnic crowds and was just enough cool to give a brief remedy to the aching muscles and joints.

    Extra tip: Alpine routes aka the alpinwanderweg are extremely good for the skilled ones during the high season since the easily reachable sights like the Seaalpsee normally have almost (just almost though) too many people on the paths leading to there and back. This time lack of funds also kept me away from the cable cars, which is another good way to avoid time wasted in lines and crowded paths (and save money and get extremely good exercise). 

    And if you wonder, that wagon over there is the station bar in Wasserauen. One of the cutest I’ve seen in my adventures. 

     

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    The trip was easy. It was no more dangerous than crossing the street, or driving to the beach, or eating peanuts. The two important things that I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavor is taking the first step, making the first decision. And I knew even then that I would forget them time and time again and would have to go back and repeat those words that had become meaningless and try to remember.

    © Robyn Davidson – Tracks


    Where: Wasseruaren – Seealpsee – Meglisalp – Marwees – Wasserauen, Alpstein massif, Appenzell, Switzerland (map)