Our very first snowshoeing outing, about two years ago, was to Dreibündenstein. Brave little soldiers that we are, we went all the way from Brambrüesch to Feldis on that first snowshoe outing. Last Sunday, a lot more experienced, and less likely to trip over our own feet, we repeated this route. And nearly got blown away by winds that were howling at jet speeds!
To be honest snowshoeing to Dreibündenstein wasn’t our first choice for the day. We had planned to snowshoe to Wildsee at the foot of Pizol. A route I had spotted a couple of weeks before. During the night the wind rattled the shutters and howled through the trees, waking both of us. So first thing in the morning, we checked the weather forecast for Pizol. And found that they were expecting winds of 100-140km/h. We decided to opt for somewhere with a little less wind. Dreibündenstein looked relatively tame, so we headed to Brambrüesch to follow the marked trail over Dreibündenstein to Feldis.
After a takeaway coffee at the bergrestaurant (they aren’t allowed to seat clients due to the pandemonium restrictions) we set off on the trail. High above on the adjoining peak we could see snow being blown across the summit-crest. Much like the spray that is blown off the top of a wave on a windy day. A hundred or so metres up the snow was getting softer, and we decided we need our snowshoes on. I nipped into the bushes for a loo-break, before strapping on the snowshoes. Then we set off again.
The wind remained relatively calm until we got about halfway up this short but steep ascent of five-hundred-and-seventy-nine vertical metres. Then it started blowing. At first just a few gusts that made the snow look like a desert sandstorm. The trail left by the snowshoers less than a few minutes ahead of us almost completely obliterated by the snow being blown over it. At the ski-lift-station we stopped for tea and a snack. Using the building as a shelter from the cold and energy-zapping wind.
Then we carried on – the wind now blowing non-stop. And it was blowing hard. And with the wind, the temperature dropped! To deep in the minus Cs! (So much for the weather forecast suggesting we won’t have much wind in this area…)
We didn’t stop on the little peak that marks the end of the climb from Brambrüesch. Except for me taking a quick picture of a bench. And to do that I had to take my gloves off… freezing my fingers! I stopped again at the cusp of the plateau, while Barbara continued snowshoeing downhill towards the stone monument that marks Dreibündenstein. This time to take pictures of some kite-skiers. Then I followed. At Dreibündenstein, the stone monument that marks the traditional border between three former Rhaetian regions, we stopped for a minute. Besides marking the border point Dreibündenstein, standing at an altitude of 2,160m, also commemorates the freedom fighters of Graubünden. We took a quick wind-defying selfie, then set off on the path that headed off in the direction of Feldis.
On a previous occasion, we took the trail from here to Pradaschier, and as we started descending, we found ourselves in a complete white-out! Snow and thick fog indistinguishable from each other. So much so that we were unable to discern which was which in places. And had to navigate carefully to make sure we stayed on the track and not walk off a precipice somewhere…
We made way across the plateau, surrounded in by peaks on three sides. Below us kite-skiers were trying to launch their kites. (One man’s fresh air is another man’s cold breeze…). Making our way across the snow as quickly as possible. Trying to get off the ridge. Onto the downhill slope, where we were hoping the wind would be less severe. Our next stop for a cup of warming tea and half a snack bar at the junction where paths from various directions meet. Then we headed off again, first over the hill, and then down towards the Mutta-Feldis chairlift station.
We finally stopped for a very late, but very welcome lunch, just past Alp Raguta, partly out of the wind, and with a fantastic view across the valley below and the mountains beyond! Then we continued onwards towards the chairlift station.
Arriving at the chairlift we decided to take the long way down. Following a red piste and tracks of other snowshoes we made our way down the piste. Gingerly in places. My ankle still playing up, I did a bum slide down one of the steepest parts, and carefully down others. Eventually reaching the lower trail and then walking the rest of the way into Feldis on a path, sometimes covered in mud, sometimes in snow, and other times in ice. Our timing just right so that we could have a cold drink at the local hotel, before we boarded the cable car to Rhäzüns, to get a train back to Zürich.
How to get to Dreibündenstein
Barbara and I use public transport for almost all of our outings. For this journey we took the train from Zürich to Chur, then changed to a bus that took us to the Chur – Brambrüesch Gondola station. (Look up ‘Zürich HB to Chur (Brambrüeschbahn)’ on the SBB timetable.) A shuttle operates from the top of the gondola station to the start of the trail at the bergrestaurant/ski-lift. We walked the short distance.
The Chur section on the Graubünden tourist website describes the snowshoeing trail from Brambrüesch via Dreibündenstein to Feldis.
Max elevation: 2173 m
Min elevation: 1460 m
Total climbing: 874 m
Total descent: -1012 m