After the successful tour by fair means from Zurich to Tödi earlier this year, some Huttli desired a repetition. This time, the goal was to climb Gitschen (2513m) starting from Isleten or Zurich, respectively. In the end, due to the unstable weather forecast, it was only Max and Alex who left shortly after 5:00 on 9 October from Bellevue by bike. We met the rest of the group at the trailhead three hours later. Most of them had arrived by train, except for Ingo, who had cycled from Bern on a folding bike (!) and had slept by the side of the road somewhere near Luzern.
Our group of twelve made fast progress up the steep Schartiwald hiking trail. Thick clouds clung to the trees and hid the mountains from view. We caught our first foggy glimpse of Gitschen at about 1450 m and finally emerged from the low clouds just below the summit of Schartihöreli (1692 m).
Visibility was good below the high overcast, but the trails were wet and slippery from recent rain, and more rain appeared to be on its way from the east. Different members of the group had different levels of comfort with these conditions. Jessica and her partner turned around near Rinderstöckli (1944 m). A little later, around 2250 m, Alex, Egor, and Ingo split from the main T5 trail to climb the north ridge, which they deemed more elegant and probably dryer.
The rest of us continued along the wet and increasingly exposed trail along the east side of the summit. More and more climbers turned around due to the wet and slippery terrain, especially when light rain began to fall. After some consideration, Baptiste, Carl, and Claudia pressed on. In the end, they were the first to summit, completing a loop via Steinboden and Musenalp.
Back at the trailhead, Max waited a little over an hour for Alex and the North-ridge team to return. The three climbers looked worn out but happy. The ridge had turned out to be more difficult than expected, with loose rock and grade III-IV sections that they negotiated without a rope.
Ingo gave Egor a ride to Andermatt train station on the top tube of his folding bike, while Alex and Max cycled back to Zürich at a leisurely pace, arriving around 23:00. It had been a long but satisfying day.
Text: Max Poletto