14: Sunnbuel - Schwarenbach - Schwarzgratli - Ueschinengrat - Gallihorn - Sunnbuel
A circular walk from Sunnbüel along the Gemmi to Schwarenbach, up to Schwarzgrätli and back along the Ueschinengrat to the Gällihorn
The Daubensee and the southern Alps from Wyssi Flue on the Ueschinengrat:
There are very many variations of walks that include the Ueschinental valley, the high-level Ueschinengrat path, and the Gemmi. This variation starts and finishes at the cable car at Sunnbüel and could be done in either direction.
Take the path along the Gemmi from the top of the cable car at Sunnbüel, following signs for Schwarenbach. It takes about 1 hour to Schwarenbach, with one section of climb that has two alternative paths - the right-hand path has a few more zigzags. At the far corner of Berghotel Schwarenbach is the steep path up to Schwarzgrätli, gaining about 300m in an hour. Towards the top, there is a small, intensely blue lake (and usually a flock of sheep). Watch out for gentians and alpine pansies around the carpet of alpine flowers here. From the summit at Schwarzgrätli there are excellent views along the Gemmi and down the Ueschinental. Do NOT believe the timings to Sunnbüel on the sign here - they are at least 30 minutes too short! Options from Schwarzgrätli include:
- Going down into the Ueschinental valley and back to Kandersteg either via the Allmenalp cable car or by walking down to Eggenschwand from Restaurant Löhner at Ueschinen
- Going up to Tällisee and over the Chindbettipass to the Engstligenalp taking cable car, bus and train back home to Kandersteg
- Following the high-level Ueschinengrat path along to the Gällihorn and back down to Sunnbüel
The Ueschinengrat variation climbs another 100m from Schwarzgrätli to Wyssi Flue at 2471m - an excellent viewpoint. The path drops fairly steeply from Wyssi Flue and you may find patches of snow on this section, even in July. Along the Ueschinengrat you will probably find both brown sheep and the Walliser variety with their comical black faces and knees. The Ueschinengrat is a beautiful place for alpine flowers and some of the best thistles on the planet! There is an emergency refuge along the way but it really would need to be an emergency to use it. It is nearly 2 hours walking from Schwarzgrätli to the base of the Gällihorn (so how the sign at Schwarzgrätli hopes to get to Sunnbüel in 2 hours 10 minutes on this route is beyond me!). The top of the Gällihorn provides fantastic views over the Kander valley, the Ueschinental, the Gasterntal and the Gemmi and is well worth the extra 15 - 20 minutes climb. The top of the Gällihorn is one of the very few places around Kandersteg where you may find edelweiss. You may also find people arriving "the hard way"! It is a favourite place for climbers to come up the rock face of the Gällihorn.
The way down to Sunnbüel takes a steep (but excellent) zigzag path, taking about 1 hour from Gratsattel at the base of the Gällihorn, to the cable car station.
This is a medium hard walk with an overall height gain of about 550m, taking about 5 hours 30 minutes actual walking time but you probably want at least 7 hours Sunnbüel-to-Sunnbüel, allowing for stops.
- 2009-06-11 - 13:27