Map

Thumbnail for the map of the modified Schweizmobil 'Gamplüt-Säntis-Weg' (039) hiking trail. Opens link to interacive web map.
Source¹

Elevation Profile

Elevation profile of the modified Schweizmobil 'Gamplüt-Säntis-Weg' (039) hiking trail.
Source¹: Bundesamt für Landestopografie; Drawn with schweizmobilplus.ch

Useful Links

Original Route
Bus Stop
Paid Parking
Weather
Cable Car 1
Cable Car 2

Short Description

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.

Notes

  • 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.

Impressions

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.

Thumbnail for the map of the custom 'Säntis von Wildhaus' (C-107) hiking trail. Opens link to interacive web map.
Source: Bundesamt für Landestopografie; Drawn with schweizmobilplus.ch

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.

“Partially Sunny / Slightly Cloudy” Swissmeteo calls this. Also, start of the official route.

Checking the weather forecast again, I figured the fog would clear up soon.

View during the ascent.

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.

So near, and yet so far.

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.

This would turn into a slide in the rain.

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.

Yeah, no, but oh well.

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.

“Should I take the cable car down, followed by a one hour bus ride and 40 minute walk back to the car on the other side of the mountain? Or should I go through the fog and finish my planned route, trusting the weather forecast that there won’t be any rain?”

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.

Dew transfers from wet grass to formerly dry pants and shoes. Incidentally, there seems to be a law that new pairs of C-Trails always have to get soaked on one of their first hikes with me.

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

Full size images without watermarks are available for licensing to interested parties. Check romans.pictures for a selection of my favorites, or contact me for details.

NEWSLETTER

Don’t miss a hike 🙂

Basic Data

Date of Hike:2022-08-07
Participants:Roman (Solo)
Technical Difficulty:T3+

Stats

Roman’s Version

Km25
Net Hours (Est.)10.5
Net Hours (Act.)9.75
BP Weight (kg)10
Ascent (m)2253
Descent (m)2253
Max. Alt. (m)2502
Loop?Yes
Cable Car?No

“Official” Version

Km10
Net Hours (Est.)5
Ascent (m)1500
Descent (m)400
Max. Alt. (m)2502
Loop?No
Cable Car?Yes
Share this on Social Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.