SCHLAPPINTAL

Our original plan had been to walk the Prattigauer Hohenweg from St Antonien to the Madrissa Bergbahn above Klosters Dorf. However, as the day was clearly going to be a very wet and misty one we decided that we would try to walk to the Austrian frontier at Schlappiner Joch. Above 2300m snow was forecast to have fallen despite it being August!

  We took the lane by the Schlappinbach from Klosters Dorf – a very steep road rebuilt to service the various dams and sluices for a small HEP plant in Klosters Dorf. We reached Schlappin village (1643m) after about 1h 15m. Here the valley floor clearly once held a much larger lake than the present dammed one. A photo in one of the restaurants shows the lakebed used as a winter airstrip. It was obvious that the snow level really was as low as 2300m on the Madrisahorn (2826m) but the Joch appeared to be clear. 

Schlappin with the Schlappinjoch pass over to Austria above

We started on the path up but as it was very steep and extremely wet and slippy we quickly abandoned that plan and retreated to the safety of one of the village restaurants to decide what to do. The third plan of the day turned out to be a most interesting walk. We headed up the Schlappintal for about 6 km to Kübliser Alp (2026m). The route we used was a gravel farm track, which gained height steadily but with two or three noticeable “steps”. One interesting feature of the valley were the hundreds of piles of stones (like cairns) that had been gathered together in the higher pastures thus giving some grazing on this poor land for animals. Surprisingly we had clear, if very dull views of the mountains at the head of the valley: all about 2800m

At Kübliser Alp (reached just before one) we met a farmer moving his cattle across the river to fresh pasture. He spoke insistently about it being too dangerous to go higher because of the snow. I told him we were going to have lunch and turn back. He very kindly opened a farm hut for us to have lunch inside. It was a most welcome shelter. 

Our refuge at Kübliser Alp

  We returned down valley to Schlappin for coffee and cakes and then to Klosters, beating the times on the signs significantly. Weather reports spoke of snow on most of the mountain pass roads and footpaths closed between Mannlichen and Kleine Scheidegg near Grindelwald.