Vláďa's visit - snowshoeing, wintercamping, and Luzern sightseeing

At the beginning of February (7-11), I hosted Vláďa on a visit. Hosted is a strong word, as we spend half of the nights in the countryside.

After arrival, we borrowed an avalanche kit and left for the pre-Alps area. The plan was to walk almost 15 km assuming path for the most of the hike, which I had experienced previous week on the ski tour.

Quite a friendly free pig at a farm at the beginning of the hike.

But we had two significant problems. We were ordered by lumbers to take a different path and then quite a substantial part was in deep snow without a track. After almost reaching the track, we stopped by a steep slope with slight signs of gliding avalanche danger. As it was getting dark and we were just in the middle of the hike, tired by powder, we decided to return to a shelter on the way.

Steep slope with “fishmouths” with sheer avalanche corridors, the reason for retreat.

This little cabin with partially covered kitchen saved our night. It was a pleasant place, and the sunrise here was fabulous.

Sunny morning made our day!

We drove by two of the rare open mountain passes to Muothatal, where we planned to hike to the cabins I have seen during my autumn biking trip. We would not go to this area without lowering avalanche risk, but the forecast was nice to us and made this plan possible.

Pristine snow, on pictures I love it, but walking first quickly changes your mind. The ridge in the background is the southern slope facing Muothatal. We have seen several avalanches falling there, the longest past over a minute and scared us by noises. But our north slopes were pretty safe.

This way up, just 4.5 km.

Again, we were surprised by deep powder, that made our steps much harder. Even deeper snow and almost 600 meters of elevation made me worried if we reach the cabin by light. Our pace was just around 1.6 km/h. Luckily, after 2 kilometers of making the path, we were blessed by four ski tourers who emerged skiing down. Thanks to them, we got almost twice that fast.

Walking in the track was much better, but we still had to change in leading.

Before reaching the cabin, we used the last chance to fill water, and I tested that combination of my boots and gaiters are waterproof even for a minute in 30 cm of water. Praise the proper mountaineering gear and no more underestimate water accessibility in winter!

Cabin! Snow depth around 1.5 meters. The stream in the foreground is frozen.

Digging out the entrance is well-learned experience from Norway.

No beds, but still a cozy place in the middle of nowhere.

As the skiers’ tracks ended just by the cabin and continued opposite direction, we decide we have not enough strength to reach Chingiz pass cabin the next day. In the morning, we met skiers that would make us a track for maybe a next kilometer, but they brought updates on the forecast, which got worse due to winds in higher altitudes. Again, we were glad to return back.

On the way back, we were finally thoroughly enjoying the conditions. Warm sunny weather, just us and the almost intact nature! There were even slopes where we liked the deep powder - slopes that you can run and jump into the snow :).

On Sunday, we decided to go to a chocolate factory Aeschbach Chocolatier. For 25 CHF, we could eat all that we want, which we used instead of lunch :D. And then we followed to Luzern, where we did the basic city tour with all the sightseeing.

Luzern lake

Historical bridge

We, bridge and Pilatus

Lion Monument

On Monday, I left Vláďa to walk over Zurich while I returned to work.

Written on February 12, 2019