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via alpina in switzerland (urgent))
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jens fröberg
via alpina in switzerland (urgent)) on 09/04/2010 01:12:51 MDT Print View

hi here i am now in stans, close to interlaken, i was on the via alpina from vaduz,on the 26 august snow falls all over 1500 meters in most parts of switzerland, i succeeded hiking over klausenpass at 2000 meter, but at altdorf trying to pass over the surenenpass at 2200 meters an avalanche had fallen down on the small pass, and made it pretty much impossible to cross over, so i walked around the lakes of luzern on the via jacobi, so the question

i am thinking of getting on the via alpina again at meiringen, now it has been clear and sunny weather since 30th of august, and between 26-30th rain or snow almost all the time.

i was hoping for a summertrip in the alps, maybe little bit to hopeful, so my equipment is

shoes montrail namche

one gossamer gear hiking pole the lighest non foladable

one pair of thick woolsocks, and one thin pair of merinosocks.

the hexamid tarptent

wm highlite

150/gram smartwool pants and top

one golite t-shirt

one balaclava

dropped my gloves

i have marmot mica, and good rainpants
but i have to have a new rainjacket, because somehow it is not at all good

the crux halotop bought it before i found information about it, it pretty much sucks.

i think it doesnt goes colder than 0c in the night, atleast if i stay under 1500 meter which should be possible if i dont get stuck on a mountain.

the road takes me to grindewald where they have europes only montbell store, so i am thinking of bying a rainjacket and i need advice here, and thinking of bying the Breeze Dry-Tec.U.L. Sleeping Bag Cover.

from meiringen to grindewald there is a car road so if the road seems to dangerous i will walk on it, and once at grindewald i have to decide if i walk the via alpina or walk back to via jacobi at interlaken. after grindewald it rises to around 2800 meter, and is not much civilization, but i could sleep in the hostels around the path.
so much apriate some replies.
what would you do?

here is the map of both the via alpina and via jakobi,

here is info about the walks

sorry for the much confused and not so well written post, i have very little time, so it became like this.
i hope for some response
and i very grateful

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: via alpina in switzerland (urgent)) on 09/04/2010 16:36:47 MDT Print View

Hi Jens

We did the Via Alpina right thru Switzerland in 2009. Enjoyed it greatly, although there was plenty of hard work involved.

Your gear sounds good enough to me.
I would certainly buy new gloves!
Instead of buying an expensive heavy rain-jacket I suggest you look at some of the *light, cheap* ponchos most everyone over there wears. They work fine.

> but i could sleep in the hostels around the path.
We used our tent some nights and hostels other nights. Not a problem - but accommodation costs more of course. However - they have good meals!

> from meiringen to grindewald there is a car road
True, but the walking track is so much better! We took the cog railway up the Falls - great views and worth it.

I see no reason to stop travelling! Keep going, camp when convenient and Refuge other nights.


Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: via alpina in switzerland (urgent)) on 09/04/2010 22:52:39 MDT Print View

"the road takes me to grindewald where they have europes only montbell store, so i am thinking of bying a rainjacket and i need advice here, and thinking of bying the Breeze Dry-Tec.U.L. Sleeping Bag Cover."


I have two early-model MB Torrent Fliers: they're OK but in really heavy rain in England I got soaked, mostly due to the poorly sealed mesh-backed pockets which were also in the way of a pack hipbelt. Later models had the pockets on the chest only and were not mesh-backed, so see what you think. I have a theory though that gear produced in rainy countries will work better than gear produced in drier countries: in that respect I really like my RAB eVent jacket, which also has its pockets in the right places. In theory Breeze Dry-Tec is as breathable as eVent but I've had no direct experience with it - Miguel may be able to chime-in.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: via alpina in switzerland (urgent)) on 09/04/2010 23:36:26 MDT Print View

In theory Breeze Dry-Tec is as breathable as eVent but I've had no direct experience with it - Miguel may be able to chime-in.

Back in 2007 I did the Tour du Mont Blanc. I wore a Montane Superfly eVent jacket on the rainy days. I had always thought eVent was superior, but on my trip the Superfly got completely soaked on the outside and the wetting out of the outer fabric caused me to go almost become hyperthermic in the cold. My teeth were chattering badly and my lips turned blue. I immediately stripped it off and just wore my Montane Litespeed wind jacket with two base layers underneath, and in the rain, all day I was warm and dry. I never used the Superfly again after that on that trip.

That hadn't been the first time that had happened with the Superfly. When I first bought the jacket I again came close to getting hyperthermia and had to change to my wind jacket to regain warmth and protection from the wet. I've since checked and rechecked, carefully washed it and used both Nikwax Washin-In Direct and Grangers, then did the strong shower test, but the problem always recurs. I'm not sure if the eVent layer itself is wetting through, but my one experience with an eVent jacket has made me very wary about spending more money to find out whether it's worth using it. It could very well be the outer fabric which is the culprit, but I don't have the cash to casually try out another jacket. That Superfly was very expensive!

I've used Breeze Dry-Tec quite a lot and it works very well for me. I tend to not mind getting a little wet (soaked is different) as long as I'm warm. I think Mont Bell's rating of the rain jackets is very accurate, mainly because, with Japan having so much torrential rain, it is important for Mont Bell to advertise the correct ability of their rainwear. That being said, Japan is often so hot and humid in many cases wearing a rain suit, like those made with Gore-tex, can be a very hot and wet-from-the-inside experience.

I use the Breeze Dry-Tec U.L. Sleeping Bag Cover all the time now. I find it works better than my BPL Vapr Bivy because it is waterproof, breathes very well, and doesn't have a silnylon floor, which tends to roll up on top of me while sleeping (unless I stake it down) and the condensation from my breath soaks my sleeping bag and clothes. So far I've had zero condensation problems with the Breeze Dry-Tec bivy. I'd recommend getting the "long and wide" version to accommodate your sleeping pad inside, or if you are taller.

I'd say Breeze Dry-Tec is perfectly adequate for the Alps. I did perfectly well for one week after the incident on the Tour du Mont Blanc with just a wind jacket and warm base layer, even in the rain, though I would like to have had my Mont Bell Versalite Jacket with me for a little extra protection. I also experienced two days of getting snowed off the trail, but the following day the snows retreated and it was easy walking.

Even though I am used to climbing in the Japan Alps (which are much rougher than the popular walking routes in the Alps in Europe), I was mentally unprepared for the much higher peaks and the "hugeness" of the weather. It felt much colder and darker than the mountains in Japan. And that, traveling alone in a foreign country and unfamiliar mountains, was daunting enough sometimes to make me doubt my ability to finish the walk. But as I took each new step and woke to another day of walking and got familiar with things there, the fear gradually subsided and I just took conditions as they presented themselves.

Andrew Skurka, in a reply to an email I asked him about preparing for the long walks he goes on, once gave me this fantastic advice: "Don't pack your fears". It really makes you think about what you are bringing, but also how you see that place you are attempting to walk.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
and then there's Paramo ... on 09/05/2010 08:15:07 MDT Print View

Have to say, having been riding to work in the winter rain for the last few months (hallelujah), I've been packing my Paramo Velez and my Montane Lightspeed: the Paramo definitely keeps me drier than any of my goretex (I got soaked) or the eVent. The Lightspeed is for the warmer, non-rainy ride home. I also wore the Paramo and Lightspeed on a 120 k day ride last week.

jens fröberg
thanks on 09/05/2010 16:38:46 MDT Print View

hello and thanks.

i will buy the bivy because it rains like hell, last time it rained it rained from i set up the tent at 19.00 till 11.00 in the morning, i stayed dry but i dident sleep because i was little to affraid i was gonna get wet.

the weather has been quite extreme here, i have heard about 7 people who have died close to where i have walked only the last couple of weeks. its been raining or snowing heavily for 10 hours in a row, and maybe 15 hours of day or more it has been snowing or raining.

and when i tried to pass the sun had been lying on for one day so the the pass when one meter high full of snow all wet and slippery, so it was very dangerous.

now its been good weather, but on tuesday and wendesday and maybe thursday it will rain and snow like before. like 15 hours a day.

i have walked much times before, from sweden to spain for a half year and i never had worse weather than his two weeks ive been out now, first snowing raining like crazy than super hot so everything becomes avanlanches and icy and melting.


thanks for all advice. i walked to gridewald today on the path and it was tryly beatiiful, especially a pyramid shaped green mountain. i have some nice picturers but i can not upload now. i dont know how to do with rainjacket. i think a poncho is not so nice in rainstorm when it rains for more than 10 hours in a row.

even thou the weather is really bad, i am enyojing the trip so much. i will take it easy and safe. i have much time. so i will see what happens.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: thanks on 09/05/2010 17:12:02 MDT Print View

Arapiles, I didn't mention Paramo only because I thought it might be hard to get in Switzerland and because Jens was asking about eVent and Breeze Dry-Tech, but I agree with you, there is nothing more breathable or comfortable in the rain out there. And the new light series are reasonably light enough to be used all year. I would always recommend Paramo over any other system, except for the weight, if you intend to go really light.

Jens, have you looked at the Altus Poncho? It is like a poncho, but also like a regular rain jacket, called a cagoule. Here is a review.

Edited by butuki on 09/05/2010 17:13:41 MDT.

jens fröberg
Re: Re: thanks on 09/05/2010 23:52:47 MDT Print View

hello, i feel little similar to you miguel about travelling in the alps. it is also my first time here in the alps. and i also feel its so huge, and the weather is changing so fast. it was very comforting to read how you procceded in the alps. and i think i will try to do the same to wait out the snow if it gets to hard to cross.

i would certainly consider the altus poncho, but i have no idea where to find it, if i dont find it here in grindewald, i will have to buy another one, mabe it will be enough with a windjacket and my marmot mica, i think it would keep me dry enough.

sounds awful with your experience with close to hypothermia. i know how it feels. after being up alone on central massive, the zipper of my sleepingbag broke and it was -15 c in the night, my sleepingbag was turning into ice. and i really had no tools to proberly close it.

jens fröberg
Re: Re: via alpina in switzerland (urgent)) on 09/06/2010 00:20:58 MDT Print View

roger, i just wonder, how would you say the path goes on from grindewald. im just little worried about the 2778m-high Hohtürli, that being mountains has been covered in snow at 1500 meters, and the snow at 2500 meters has not been melted at all, or atleast there is plenty of it,and this being said its been almost 30c in the sun now for maybe 5 days. and now its going to be two or three days of what they call dauerregen, torrential rain.
since it is already september and i still have to go for about 150 kilometers its very hard to predict how the weather is going to be. so i must say i am little worried, but i can always go back if i feel its too dangerous.
thanks jens

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: via alpina in switzerland (urgent)) on 09/06/2010 04:36:27 MDT Print View

Hi Jens

Many of the high mountain Refuges stay open till about October. The lower ones are often occupied much longer. That means there should be Guardians in them for at least a few weeks yet. When you get to one of the Refuges, STOP and ASK the Guardian about the safety of the route ahead. They know the area, they know the conditions, and they will give you advice.

Herewith a VERY condensed summary. It ignores the physical problem of climbing the height of the next pass ... but we managed.

Grindelwald - Kleine Scheidegg- Lautebrunnen - easy enough.

Laut - Rotstock Hut: we stopped early at the Rotstock Hut. A long climb.

Rotstock - Sefinenfurke - Griesalp - Ober Bundalp - Easy upwards, then new 'steps' and cable going down over scree. Pass is usually OK - check with Guardian at Rotstock. Do not stay at Griesalp; don't even eat there! It is an extremely expensive bus-served tourist trap. Ober B is fine.

OB - Hohturli - Kandersteg - the climb is a bit steep! Oh yes! If it is open (check with Guardian) then it should be OK. Nice dairy with milkshakes on the way down. Oeschinensee looked like a tourist trap as well. Kandestersteg is OK.

K - Bunderchrinde - Adelboden - Pass looks difficult, but isn't. Adelboden is a hideously expensive tourist centre - camp somewhere.

A - Hahnenmoos pass - Lenk - no problems, grass.

More info later on if you want.
Look, go for it, but do check with the Guardians, and you can always have a rest day somewhere. You won't be alone!

Good luck

jens fröberg
Re: Re: Re: Re: via alpina in switzerland (urgent)) on 09/08/2010 13:10:55 MDT Print View

hi roger, thanks i had a look at what you wrote in lautebrunnen. and now i am in kandersteg at the scout center. i had quite nice weather so what i feared a bit was one of the more easier days of the trip. the snow had melted, was a bit slippery.

it was nice of you to offer to write more, but now it feels much easier. so i think i can manage now, i feel safe and happy buying the bivy and a windjacket.