The fourth day of the Kesch trek was such a great day out in the Alps I decided it needed its own post. The landscape along the route from Chamanna da Grialetsch to the Schwarzhorn (aka Flüela Schwarzhorn, 3, 147 m), my first 3, 000 m peak, and down to the Flüela Pass was stunning. The weather was on the whole great. The little imperfection in the shape of a summer storm just added a little bit of drama and made the experience even better. Overall, it is my favourite day in the Alps yet. Here is what didn’t fit into the original trip report about the whole trek around Piz Kesch.
To Fuorcla Radönt (2, 788 m)
The day started with sunny blue skies and a great view of Chamanna da Grialetsch, where we had spent the night. We looked down on the hut and the whole valley after a short ascent up the northern flank of Pix Radönt.
We continued along the valley for about an hour until we reached Fourcla Radönt. Along the way we had to hop over a whole field of large boulders, which contrary to the rest of the group I quite liked. It was a nice change to the usual simple walk, but it wasn’t particularly strenuous. And then there was some snow to cross. Despite it being early August, there was still a reasonable amount of snow in higher altitudes.
We took a short break at Fuorcla Radönt and enjoyed the views into the two valleys. The air was crisp and the view was clear. At this point we could also see the Schwarzhorn, the highlight of the whole trek, for the first time.
Schwarzhorn (3, 147 m)
From Fuorcla Radönt we first descended a little bit into the barren, stony valley dotted with glacial lakes of perfectly blue water. The path skirted directly past one of them before ascending again towards Schwarzhornfurgga. Until there we walked alone, having only met a couple, who also stayed at Chamanna da Grialetsch, shortly after we left the hut.
Although the path became fairly crowded once we joined the main route to the summit from the Flüela Pass, climbing up my first 3, 000 m peak was a great experience. I found it quite difficult and could definitely feel the thin air. Somehow I could only move very slowly and it all felt very strenuous (though it has to be said that the last bit to the summit was very steep). It just reminded me that really I wasn’t very fit. Reaching the summit was even sweater for it.
Climbing a 3, 000 m peak was a perfect finale to the four day trek around Piz Kesch, which was already a very good trip. We had exceptionally good weather, stayed at very nice huts and had a bonfire to celebrate 1st August (a Swiss national holiday). Standing on top of the Schwarzhorn we could look back all the way to Piz Kesch. By then the blue skies have filled with a considerable amount of clouds and turned rather gray. It was clear that a storm was coming. We quickly ate our lunch and set-off towards the Flüela Pass.
To the Flüela Pass (2, 383 m)
The descent to the Flüela Pass was quick. Partially because it was a short distance, partially because we were spurred on by the coming rain. We managed to cover most of the altitude difference before the storm came. It was strong and included a good pummeling of hailstones. But, it was quick, pushing down the valley and leaving a blue sky behind. Seeing the abrupt and complete change of weather was impressive.
At the Flüela Pass we cooled down in one of the lakes and then drove on to Zuoz, where we rounded off the day with pizza and beer. By then I was completely wiped out after a diverse day in the mountains. High peaks, amazing views, blue lakes, rain, snow, sun, hail we had it all.
Have a look at my other trip reports from summer 2013:
- The reverse Kesch Trek: 4 days, 3 huts and 1 dog blanket
- An attempt at the Rumer Spitze
- Crampons, rope teams and Zirebenschnaps. A mountaineering course on the Dachstein.
What was your best day in the Alps like? Feel free to share it in comments.