Gamplüt-Säntis-Weg is a medium length, high intensity hiking trail in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen. As the name implies, its destination is iconic mount Säntis, crown jewel of the Alpstein range.
The trail leads through cattle pastures, a lush valley full of alpine flowers, then up to Zwingli- and Rotsteinpass, whereafter the trail becomes narrow and steep, following the Linsengrat ridge.
My version of the trail starts and ends at the Laui / Alpli parking lot, forming a long circuit.
- There is steel rope to hold onto during the many exposed sections, but the rock is slippery from being polished by millions of shoe soles. A good head for heights and sure-footedness are recommended, as a slip and fall would be deadly.
Just like with ‘Churfirsten-Weg’, I had already planned a custom route to Säntis before Schweizmobil added the “Gamplüt-Säntis-Weg” tour, which I called “Säntis von Wildhaus”.
Originally, I had planned a different approah to the ascent, but since I was now going to photograph the route for Schweizmobil as one of their “Fotopaten” (semi-volunteer photographers), I adjusted it to match, prolonging it by two hours.
Good exercise for the 11.5 hour stage 4 of the Nationalpark trail I will probably not get to do this year.
Given the choice due to my vacation having just started, I opted to go on a supposedly slightly cloudy day because those are preferred to clear blue skies over at Schweizmobil.
Checking the weather forecast again, I figured the fog would clear up soon.
And so it did, after just roughly half of the official route. I’m sure the view is usually lovely from here.
I was also warned by some people at Zwinglipass hut that there was now rain forecast in an hour or two. Great.
I contemplated aborting the route at Rotsteinpass, getting back to civilization on what I originally planned as my ascent route to avoid getting into a storm in the mountains.
I decided to check the forecast and rain radar again at that intersection.
Around here, the trail also turned from regular Swiss mountain trail into something I definitely wouldn’t want to experience wet.
Having reached that decision making point, the forecast had changed once again and now had Säntis in the sun for at least another two hours. With 1.5 hours to get there, I made a judgement call to continue and get the tour into the camera.
I can’t say I enjoy trails like these, especially when the rocks are polished and slippery. As such you have to excuse the lack of pictures showing the most “interesting” bits, as I was mostly using my hands to hold on for dear life. Taking pictures was lower on the list of priorities at the time.
The views from Säntis were great, though not exactly the alpine panorama advertized in the route description. I may have to go again. I just have to wait for my brain to do its thing and suppress the bad memories, leaving only the cool stuff behind to motivate me to do it all over.
At this point, the weather forecast had changed to “cloudy but dry” and since I’m a stubborn idiot, I decided not to take the cable car down the wrong side of the mountain and finish my planned route instead.
I can’t really speak to the quality of my chosen route back to the car, as I’m sure the experience would have been entirely different in good weather.
As it is, I did not have a good time. Right about halfway down from Säntis the fog turned into a mist, and all the dew collecting on tall grass and other plants slowly soaked my shoes and pants. Since there was no way to abort now apart from going back to Säntis, which would take longer than finishing, and since I didn’t feel like doing those ridge climbs again, I continued on.
Not to go into too much detail (you can see that in the full gallery below), I slipped a few times, once into stinging nettle, and managed to slightly sprain my ankle once I was back on tarmac and relaxed just a little bit too much.
I got away with some bruises, but I learned my lesson and I’m writing this so you may learn from my mistakes (if you didn’t already know better.)
Lesson 1: Listen to your brain when it tells you what the wise choice would be in a potentially dangerous situation. Don’t be stubborn.
Made obsolete in this case because of my new rule:
Lesson 2: Don’t go into the mountains if there’s rain forecast nearby, even if your specific mountain is supposed to stay dry. Also, fog may be wetter than expected.
Maybe I’ll repeat this route in the sun sometime and get some answers on its quality and validity. I will update you if I do. And if you subscribe below, you may even get wind of it.
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:||2022-08-07|
|Net Hours (Est.)||10.5|
|Net Hours (Act.)||9.75|
|BP Weight (kg)||10|
|Max. Alt. (m)||2502|
|Net Hours (Est.)||5|
|Max. Alt. (m)||2502|