Fürstin Gina Weg (“Princess Gina’s Trail), so named after the current regent’s late mother, is a medium length, medium intensity hike in the beautiful Lichtenstein alps, from Malbun to Augstenberg peak and back to Malbun via Pfälzerhütte.
The initial ascent may be replaced by a cable car ride.
My route includes a detour to Naafkopf peak.
- Schweizmobil says the detour to Naafkopf and back requires 1.5h extra, but that is highly misleading. It takes approximately 1.5h each way, so around 3 hours at an average speed of 4km/h. The local sign has it at 2h for the way up.
- The main trail is secured in exposed areas but you should have a good head for heights, and good shoes for loose gravel paths. This goes doubly if you include Naafkopf like I did, as there are some unsecured exposed areas during the final ascent.
At the end of a summer that never really started (in Switzerland) I wanted to do at least one “real” hike this year, so I consulted my master spreadsheet of hikes, picked the most mountainous route with the highest point that should still be under the snow line, and set off to do Fürstin Gina Weg with the optional Naafkopf peak at 2569 meters (that’s 8428.478 feet, or 8207.6518764 GTX 3090 graphics cards lined up) above sea level.
I did of course not opt to take the optional cable car, as always, if possible.
I was reminded early on of the importance of being attentive to signs while hiking, as I missed the trail and continued on the regular road for a bit longer than I should have. But that’s a lesson that just doesn’t stick with me, as you can see in the gallery and later on.
The trail got slightly technical soon, and on the loose fine gravel paths I became very aware that my trail runners’ soles had reached the end of their lifetime, so I was extra careful. The truly dangerous spots are secured by ropes, yes, but slipping on a steep mountain trail is never a good feeling.
Along the way I was bombarded with a barrage of gorgeous views of both the Austrian and Swiss alps on either side of the trail, and may have taken more pictures than necessary. Either way, I had a fantastic time.
Augstenberg peak was soon reached and swiftly left behind, as it was not really the main attraction of my route and I had a bit of a late start (as usual) and was aiming to get back to the car by or before sunset (as usual).
After the enjoyable ridge walk to Pfälzerhütte (an alpine hut / restaurant), I changed clothes to something warmer (and drier), took note of the sign that claimed it would take me two hours to reach the peak (unacceptable) and set off.
I did see the snow near the peak from the bottom, so it didn’t come as a surprise that a shady portion of the path was snowed and iced over, but I had hoped it would only be wet.
Well, it was either turn back (the smart choice, given my shoes’ condition and the fact that I was alone) or press on (the stubborn and stupid choice), so on I pressed.
Funny side note: An app that monitors your progress and a dead man switch that notifies emergency contacts with your last location if you fail to check in within a given time frame so they can call Rega (alpine rescue) sounds great on paper; until your phone doesn’t have any reception for a hour or so (because you’re in the mountains, duh) and you can’t transmit the “OK” signal, causing your wife a fair bit of panic and almost sending a helicopter your way if you had been without reception for a few minutes longer.
Well, I made it to the top and enjoyed the amazing views in all directions, had a quick bite to eat, and made my way back down.
Another Lesson: The way down is always worse than the way up, so if a spot seems dangerous on the way up, consider turning back.
I obviously survived (didn’t even slip, just almost), but I wasn’t very happy with my earlier decision while crossing that snow patch on the way down. Nevertheless, the views and experience were worth it.
Almost back at Pfälzerhütte, I was immersed in my thoughts and just didn’t notice the marmot sitting on its stone not ten meters directly in front of me. Not until it whistled at me and ran off, that is. I’ve never been so close to one and that would have been a great picture… so open your eyes, people! ^^
From here on it was just a relaxing way back to Malbun, getting to enjoy the earlier views of the Churfirsten range and Glarus alps now bathed in warm evening light. Just marvelous.
Definitely recommended, but maybe do it in summer 😉
Would you like to share your own experiences with this hike? Do you have any questions? Something to add? Feel free to leave a comment below 🙂
Route Report / Gallery
Don’t miss a hike 🙂
|Date of Hike:||2021-10-01|
|Technical Difficulty:||T3+: Difficult Mountain trail|
|Net Hours (Est.)||7|
|Net Hours (Act.)||5|
|Max. Alt. (m)||2569|
|Net Hours (Est.)||4.75|
|Max. Alt. (m)||2356|