Hörnligrat to Urdenfürggli has to wait

For the second half of the Easter weekend, Barbara and I had booked ourselves into the Hörnlihütte for the night. Our intention was to walk from Hörnligrat to Urdenfürggli the next day. A ‘snowshoe’ trail we’ve wanted to do for some time. Getting to the Hörnlihütte was relatively easy following the marked Heidi and Gigi Wanderweg from Prätschli. Getting from Hörnlihütte to Urdenfürggli turned out to be impossible…

We set off for Arosa from Zürich around midday. Aiming to get to the hut late afternoon. Just in time for a sundowner. Followed by dinner. And then into bed, ready for an earlyish start the next day on our intended trail. The first part of this scenario went according to plan. We arrived just in time for sundowners… treated to a spectacular sunset while sipping on an apéro can’t be all bad… then it was dinner-time. The first course is a scrumptious barley soup! Followed by a dish consisting of meatballs, mashed potatoes and leeks. All locally produced! When she served our desert, Chiara, our hostess, said it was her favourite. We didn’t disagree.

Then we looked at the map for our next day’s hike and discovered that the area had turned deep red… meaning a high risk of avalanches, especially in a stretch of about 400m as shown on the map below.

The high-risk avalanche zone (B to C) on the Hörnligrat to Urdenfürggli traverse
The high-risk avalanche zone (B to C) on the Hörnligrat to Urdenfürggli traverse

We decide it’s not worth the risk. Hörnligrat to Urdenfürggli will have to wait until a next visit to the area. The staff confirms that it is not advisable. Chiara mentions that a friend of hers does research on avalanches. She tells us that the sands that had blown across from the Sahara a few months earlier had created a thin layer, which meant that subsequent snow could not bind properly with lower layers. This thin layer has destabilised the slope, thus increasing the probability of avalanches.

We decided we’ll catch a lift with the cable car from Hörnligrat to Urdenfürggli the next morning, then make our way down to Lenzerheide from there. With less pressure the next morning, we take our time and enjoy our excellent breakfast. As a matter of interest: the Urdenbahn cableway, which is 1.68km long, is suspended between the Hörnligrat and Urdenfürggli. The cars can carry 150 passengers and travel at a speed of 12m/s (43.2km/h)! Which is pretty fast for a ‘vehicle’ suspended from a cable…

Much to our surprise, we can’t buy a ticket for the cable car. You have to buy tickets at the bottom cable car stations. We tried to buy tickets online, but the website failed to recognise our SwissPass ID numbers. So, we weren’t able to do that either. Bummer! What now? We consider our options and decide that we’ll walk back down along the Heidi and Gigi Wanderweg, past the Schwellisee and simply enjoy the splendid scenery.

So, here comes the moan! The Arosa-Lenzerheide tourist website describes various trails which uses the Urdenbahn to connect from Hörnli to Urdenfürggli, and vice versa. No mention made anywhere that you have to buy your tickets at the valley station? And, nowhere on the website does it state this. (If it does, I couldn’t find it.) Big fail!

PS! We’ll be back sometime to come and walk these routes. Meantime, here are a few pictures of our trip… Enjoy!

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