Ken Baldry crosses Switzerland on Foot -

Ischgl (A) to the Heidelberger Hut (CH) & to Ardaz in the Engadine

Original route start from Gargellen

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Ischgl to the Heidelberger Hut & to Ardaz (Fuorcla da Tasna)

The 2011 trip started by rail from London-St Pancras - Paris - Zürich - Feldkirch (Austria), where I stayed in the nice Hotel Bären.

Thursday 30th June 2011

Starting in Feldkirch, I took another train to Landeck & a bus to Ischgl. In Ischgl, it had looked as if the path by the gondelbahn was gesperrt, so I walked up by the church on the road. I passed a chapel where the closed path should join. It took 2 hours & 9,000 paces to get to the Bodenalpe, where I stopped for a beer. There is a little chapel there dated 1610. It took another 2.5 hours to the hut, making 5 hours altogether & 20,600 paces from Ischgl. This is all road or jeep track. The frontier is a joke, now, with an aged, obsolete, customs sign & wild horses. There was fitful Sun all afternoon. Over dinner, I mainly chatted to a young couple of mountain bikers from Stuttgart, she complaining of the effort from Ischgl (hardly) but they intend to go to Samnaun tomorrow, which will start with a push & have another later on.

Map (not to scale) from the Official Map of the Automobil-Club der Schweiz, (with their permission) which is on this link.
Ischgl is just off the top of the map.

Where one starts in Ischgl

Ischgl from above


Friday 1st July 2011 Fuorcla da Tasna to Ardez

I had not slept well even though I had a room, because the restless guide in the next room turned his lights on & they leaked into mine. Today was the sort of experience that has one asking, "Are your solo back-packing days over?" Good buffet breakfast at 7 & out at 0750. The route is the same as for the Kronenjoch until a big cairn on the way up to the joch after the big wash but there is no signpost there. Before the split in the path, I put on my Blacks anorak, as it was now pretty cold & none of the promised Sun, although I had put sun cream on in anticipation. The split is marked by a large cairn, with blue waymarks going up to the Kronenjoch & red ones going off South towards the Fuorcla da Tasna. The waymarks are quite good on this side of the Fuorcla da Tasna, which I needed to cross to get to the Engadine. However, there were many large stones & snowfields to negotiate to get to the pass. So far, so ok after a quite tiring 2 hours, 50 minutes, which seemed about right.

Up from the West side of the hut

Boggy area & a long way to go, yet

The big wash. View from the top of the dots on the previous frame.

Where the path splits. Left to the Kronenjoch.

By the small lake. Cross its exit stream.

2845 metres. The Top.

More tedious snow, then stone fields from the pass down to the lake, the Lei du Fasch Alba & now, rather erratic way-marking.

Looking back up from the South side of the top

Lai da Fasch Alba

From Alp Vermala 1979m,
the National Park hills appear

It was difficult to get down by the run-off from the lake, although the waymarks were now good. It was one of those delicate loose rock moraine paths & quite steep. But just before the 'route' reached the cataracts from the lake, there was a round waymark & no more. It was steeper, shaly & no obvious way past the mess next to the cataract. A snow storm started. It took me about half an hour to negotiate the next 100 metres & at one point, I slipped but saved myself at the expense of getting covered in shaly black mud, both trousers & anorak. I later learned another German word: hagel meaning hail & high-speed hailstones Hurt, especially when trying to work out how the hell am I going to get down to & across this waterfall. In the end, I got into a side gully which was not too steep & moved down the middle of it, getting my boots full of water. When I got over the waterfall, the waymarks mysteriously reappeared for about half a mile, starting with another round one, suggesting that this piece of the 'route' is never stable & you're on you're own in negotiating it. Then, they disappeared again. The dodgy waymarking suggests that this route is not fixed & probably depends on the depredations of the previous Winter every year. After crossing a wet field, I crossed the stream again & found more waymarks. Only eight more miles to walk down to the Inn valley. It must be clear that this is not a very recommendable route, especially for 68-year-olds.

At Ardaz, I tried the Hotel Muntanella. Full, but the girl rang the other hotel & thankfully, it had rooms. This was the Hotel Alvetern at the other end of the village & looked better modernised than the Muntanella. It may have been cheaper as well.

Caste Tarasp in the Engadine (Inn Valley)


Hotel Alvetern in Ardaz

Fortunately, Swiss landladies are very tolerant of the appearance of an over-worked sewer man. Both my trousers & anorak were bespattered (so heavy were my trousers with mud that they kept trying to fall down) & washing them filled the shower with mud, I jest not. Dinner was spätzli , mixed with ham & vegetables, then a Coupe Danemark. I rang Avis on the landlady's mobile & was not particularly frank about the day. The landlady was pretty mobile herself - one of those bird-like characters. I was out for 8.5 hours altogether but only 36,008 paces.

Original route start from Gargellen

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Other Paznauntal start from Kappl

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Contact: Ken Baldry, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 or e-mail him
URL: Last revised 14/9/2009 © 2009 Ken Baldry. All rights reserved.