Gspon Höhenweg

We took the bus to Stalden Saas and then the small cable car first up to Staldenried and then the second stage to Gspon. The cable car to Staldenried often stops suspended over the valley in mid-journey as there is a request stop at a church half way up. What none of the guidebooks also tell you is that on the first two Mondays of every month the cable car is closed all day for maintenance.

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 The start of the walk at Gspon looking south with the Balfrin range towering above the Saastal

  Leaving Gspon (1803m) the signposts show Kreuzboden as Chrizebode (whilst the maps show Chrixbode)! To the north is the pyramid-shaped Bietschorn, in the Bernese Oberland, whilst to the south-west is the Balfrin Range on the opposite side of the Saastal. The lane heads south to Findelnalp (2035m) and then climbs more steeply around gullies, following an old water irrigation channel in places. At one point this is now carried in a suspended pipeline due to an earth slide on the mountainside. Signposts also instruct walkers not to stop because of the danger of falling rocks. 

The path near Ober Schwarzwald where it crosses a steep gully.

At Ober Schwarzewald a mountain hut was passed, but we didn’t stop for a drink. At Färiga, just before the Mattwaldbach, we mistakenly took a side path, which follows the aqueduct up a side valley. Returning to the correct route (now signposted in a non-standard way, on small white boards, for Saas Grund, Saas Fee and the Gspon Hohenweg) the path drops down to the Mattwaldbach before climbing through woods and on to the mountainside. 

The Balfrin (left) and Färichorn

Reaching  Swiboden (2191m) the path goes across a flat alpine pasture with superb views of the upper Saastal and Mischabel range; an ideal spot for lunch. We continued to a junction at Linde Bode at 2243m) where the Gspon Höhenweg splits. The original route falls steadily through woods towards Saas Grund. However, we chose to follow the higher route to Kreuzboden.  

Looking back towards Grübe and the Fellbach

This slowly rises and then falls into the Fellbach. Beyond it climbs steeply onto the rocky slopes of the Jegihorn, passing the path to the Leiternweg. We continued on the very rough and rocky (but well way-marked) track to reach Kreuzboden about 5½ hours after leaving Gspon. 

The path passes over the boulder field on the side of the Jeggihorn with superb views up the Saastal to the Mattmark dam and beyond the Monte Moro pass. On the right is the Feegletscher above Saas Fee.

One thing that surprised us about the Saastal was the early end of cable car operations. The last time from Kreuzboden was at 16.45. We’d left Gspon at 09.30 knowing this, but it is clearly necessary not to delay the start of the walk, or dawdle too much en-route.  

The Lagginhorn and Weissmies from above Kreuzboden.