Braunwald Panoramaweg

A return to Braunwald for the summer perspective.

Although it was tempting to think of Friday’s climb of Piz Palü as a grand finale for my time in Switzerland, today’s sunny summer weather just couldn’t be ignored. With only a few days remaining in Switzerland – a hiker’s paradise – I decided to maximize the opportunity. So this morning I hopped a train back to Braunwald, where in March I spent an intense day postholing my way across the high country toward Schwanden. It was quite different today! Read on and check out the gallery.

Waterfall and mountains in Braunwald.
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Piz Palü

I grew up hiking in the Adirondack mountains of New York, and later the White Mountains of New Hampshire – places that are still near and dear to my heart – but ever since I was a young boy, leafing through pictorial mountaineering books from legendary climbers like Chris Bonington and Reinhold Messner, I’ve dreamed of ‘Real Mountains’ capped with snow and glacier. Yesterday, I finally had my chance and summited Piz Palü (3900m, 12,811′). Although relatively simple on the grand scale of mountaineering, it was nonetheless the most challenging mountain I’ve experienced in my 50 years of hiking. Read on and definitely do not miss the gallery – we were blessed with outstanding weather and snow conditions.

David, Patrick, and Felix on the summit of Piz Palü.
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Return to Flumserberg

Another fine day on Flumserberg.

Tuesday’s weather was promising to be gorgeous, and I could not let such a day pass me by – despite an afternoon full of meetings. Waking early, and browsing the weather maps, train schedules, and hiking routes, I decided to return to Flumserberg – because it is close and offers many options. The catch?: the best train would leave in 13 minutes. Good thing I keep my backpack ready to go! Jump on the train with me, read on, and check out the gallery.

A marmot grazing high on the slopes of Flumserberg.
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Pilatus

A beautiful day to climb a big peak.

I’ve had my eyes on Mount Pilatus for months, since a local friend suggested it as a place for hiking and (in winter) sledging.  Andy had hiked there in the fall – walking down from the summit.  Today, Andy and I decided to visit and climb up from the base.  The funicular railway is closed (due to coronavirus restrictions) so we planned a round-trip from the Alpnachstad train station to the kulm (summit) and return.  It was a beautiful day and, though a bit hot and humid for hiking, it still granted us spectactular views. Read on and check out the full gallery.

Andy descends through the alpine meadows with views of the Alps beyond.

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Alpine view

Morning views from Zürichberg.

We are blessed with a view of the Alps from our flat, across the historic district of Zürich, the northern tip of Zürichsee (lake), and beyond the forested ridgeline that separates us from the valley to the west.  On a clear morning, like today, it’s a delightful view (below).

Even better, my normal morning walking route takes me straight up the hill behind our flat, nearly to the top of “Zürichberg”, the forested ridgeline that separates us from the valley to the east.  It has a lovely viewpoint, from which I have posted many photos (notably, a series of beautiful sunrises in December).

Today, I thought it would be nice to bring you a bit closer to that view, with a 10-second video panorama… including the sound of birdsong and joggers out for their morning run. Enjoy!

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Hazy Alpine views

As the spring season remains dry, our views of the Alps have been hazy.

Every morning I climb Zürichberg to my favorite outlook, with its sweeping view of the city and Zurichsee in the foreground, and the Alps in the distance.  We’ve had a very dry spring – no precipitation since that light snowfall on March 30 and no real rain for weeks before that.  That has led to beautiful, warm sunny days, but also a fair amount of haze between me and the mountains.  Yesterday morning the view was relatively clear, and Adobe Lightroom helped me remove a bit of haze from my photos.  I can’t wait to get back to the mountains!

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Braunwald to Nussbüel

A beautiful walk from Braunwald to Nussbüel for lunch at an alpine restaurant.

Although it certainly feels like spring in Zürich – what with the daffodils blooming everywhere and tulips soon to come – it’s still early March and I’m still eager for some more winter.  So Andy and I hopped the S25 out of Zürich this morning and headed for the Glarusalps, hoping to get a little time in the snow.  Ninety minutes later we boarded a funicular train for the village of Braunwald, high above the Glarus valley, and soon left behind the green valley for a winter wonderland.  Read on, and check the photo gallery.

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Kronberg

A beautiful hike to Kronberg in the Appenzell region, under blue skies and with spring-like conditions.

Today I went hiking with a colleague from the University of St. Gallen, about an hour to the east of Zürich.  Our goal was the summit of Kronberg, 1662m, with fabulous views of Mount Säntis and the Alpstein region to the south, and deep into the Swiss Alps to the west and the Austrian Alps to the east, as well as to the grand expanse of Lake Constance to the northeast.  Read on and check out the gallery.

Someone has stomped out a Heart in the snow.

 

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Flumserberg

Skiing at Flumserberg on a sunny day after an overnight snowfall.

The forecast promised the snow flurries would end around noon, and the clouds would clear to partly-sunny skies for the afternoon. That was good enough for Andy and me! We hopped on a late-morning train along the shores of beautiful lakes Zurichsee and Wallensee, and jumped off in Unterterzen.  We walked across the street and climbed on the gondola, which whisked us steeply uphill past verdant green pastures and snug little cottages until the trees were dusted with last night’s snowfall.  We arrived at the tiny village of Tannenboden, at the base of the Flumerserberg ski area, right at noon. After renting ski gear in a local shop, we were ready to go… just as the clouds parted and the sun broke through, illuminating the jagged mountain peaks across the valley. Spectacular! and it would only get better.   Read on, and check out the gallery.

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