The Leiternweg

This page is included, not as recommended walk, but as a warning that not all walks shown on Swiss walking maps are quite as they appear. You may wish to avoid this route!!

Our original plan, on arrival at Saas Grund, had been to walk from Kreuzboden to Hohsaas, but a study of the map 1: 25000 map revealed an apparently more interesting route. We decided to take the Gspon Hohenweg (path No. 8) from Kreuzboden (2397m) to just before Grüebe where at 2453m a path goes uphill (path No. 65) towards the lakes at Ze dri Seemjine. Here the Leiternweg (path No. 59) traverses the slopes of the Jegihorn at about 2800 m before eventually dropping down to the Weissmieshütte at 2726m. I estimated that this should be possible to walk in about 3 to 3½   hours, based on the information on signposts and the map. From the Weissmieshütte it is a further 1¼ hours to the gondola cable car station at Hohsaas. A good day in the mountains we thought. We were wrong!  

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The stunning view from Kreuzboden looking across to the Mischabel range above Saas Fee

  We set off from Kreuzboden, initially on a good path. At 2449m the Gspon Hohenweg path leaves a path down to Saas Grund and heads off northwards, across the relatively recently constructed route over the boulder field slopes of the Jegihorn. Much boulder hopping is necessary on this section and progress was a little slower than expected. 

The section of the Gspon Hohenweg path between Kreuzboden and the junction of the route up to the Ze dri Seemjine crosses the boulder field below the Jegihorn.

About 1 hour after Kreuzboden we took the path signposted to the Leiternweg and Ze dri Seemjine. The path climbs steeply up a small valley but soon becomes indistinct and so we had to rely on a few cairns and red/white blazes. After about 45 minutes, we arrived at the junction with the Leiternweg path. The letters SAC and an arrow pointed the way towards the hut but, puzzlingly, the yellow signposts were completely blank. We decided to look at the lakes but only saw the lower one, as the larger lakes are higher up in a corry.

  We then set off on the Leiternweg. This is an extremely rough path across boulders, generally about 2700/2800m, but with some extremely difficult sections across gullies in the mountainside. A lot of hand and bottom work was necessary to cross some of the enormous boulders encountered. Way marking was absent except for cairns. Very few people were seen on the path. Progress was extremely slow and at one stage we considered turning back. Great care was needed in places.  

The appalling "path" through the boulder fields below the Jegihorn summit. Some of these boulders are over 2 metres high!

  Eventually Kreuzboden and the Weissmieshütte came into sight and the boulder field came to an end. A narrow path appeared which we followed up some zigzags. The path appeared to be heading for a route through the cliffs on the south face of the Jegihorn. Suddenly the path came to an abrupt end at what seemed to have been a rock fall on the mountainside; the rock was cleaner where the fall had taken place. 

The point on the Leiternweg where the path appears to end - it goes over the rocks at the bottom left corner of the photo. In the middle of the photo can be seen the Weissmieshütte. In the background are the Lagginhorn and Wiessmies.

There appeared to be no way forward, so we retreated about half a kilometre to the lowest point on the path. Fortunately, there was a safe and relatively gently sloped dry gully, with grass and small stones, which allowed us to descend to Kreuzboden. We arrived in the valley at Kreuzboden 5 hours after leaving. The terrain was by far the worst we have ever experienced and the walk was not one that we would like to repeat.

The Jegihorn with the "route" shown in red. 

  We have discovered from the Internet that it appears that the path does indeed descend the cliffs on the side of the Jegihorn using ladders and ropes to go down the 50m drop. However, we are not into Klettersteig experiences!!

We would like to hear from any reader who has any experience of this route. Click here to email us