Posted on 03 Februar 2013
Sorry that it took such a long time to write this trip report vom my first winter trip in November 2012.
I did it again. After my aborted trip at the Greina Plateau in October I was again in Switzerland for a hiking trip. This time I was once again in the Engadin together with Anatol from Austria. We both had some free time and needed a time out. And what could be better than I trip in to first snow and minus degrees during the night. Anatol picked me up at the train station and we started our journey to Switzerland. In the late afternoon we reached Buffalora where we planned to spend our first night, because it was already dark.
Our first night we spend in a traditional lavvu with an open fire on the Picogrill. After a bottles of Italian red wine, sausages and bread we crawled into the warm sleeping bag, because it was a hard and long day. It was a very cold night in the the morning everything was covered with hoarfrost.
Instead of the normal way which all skier choose we decided to ascend via the Fop da Buffalora.
The conditions on this morning were perfect. No clouds at the blue sky and the sun was shining. Without my Julbo sunglassas it was not possible to see anything because I was blinded by the snow. Walking without snowshoes was not possible and the crunchy snow mad it difficult to walk.
After a while a walking we decided to make a lunchbreak and to dry the gear. We found a nice spot and spread out the equipment on some trees. Old trees provided us with plenty of dry wood so we could melt some water for a hot tea and the water bottle.
Bushbuddy Ultra in action.
Because the weather was so excellent we climbed up to the Mount Buffalora. Finding the right way was difficult, because we did not know if there would be any avalanches during the climp up.It was a steep rise. Below the summit we had a view into the snow covered Val Chaschabella in Italy.
Mount Buffalora was in front, but we decided to descend, because it was late in the afternoon and we had to find a campsite for the night.
After a long and steep descent at the Minieras da Fiern we walked along the Jufplaun plateau into a wonderful sunset.
Our aim was to reach the treeline at the Fuorcla del Gal (2279m) where we planned to stay for the night.
It was getting dark until we found a campsite on a nice place between the trees. The Locus Gear tents were pitched very quickly and we started to collect wood for a campfire.
The warm fire lit up the snow and the trees and we enjoyed a warm tea and reflected this first day. Everything was perfect. Weather, snow and landscape. Before we boiled water for our dinner we made a photo session to document this splendid scenery. The sky was clear and starry and we could also see the milky way. There was a fantastic silence. Only the footsteps could crack the frozen snock.
With a good meal in the belly and melted water for breakfast we went to bed.
During the night the thermometer went down to -12°C. It was cold in the morning so I had to put on my RAB Infinity down jacket. We dug out the water bottles out of the snow and made a good morning tea. We were late on this morning, but the sun was far far away and after the tea we decided to pack and walk into the sun.
Our morning workout was not easy. We had to cross several steep slopes. We changed the head constandtly because making a track in this virgin snow was exhausting. After we climbed up on the Jufplaun pleateau we found a nice spot for late breakfast or rather for lunch.
With the view into the Val Mora we enjoyed a warm coffee, cheese and other goodies. Again we used this break to spread out all our wet gear in the sun to dry.
It was pretty warm and we could sit there only in a merino shirt. A bearded vulture took advantage of the excellent thermal and was looking for food at the slopes.
After this extensive break we climbed up on one of the hills around us. We left our packs behind and carried only some bars, water and the camera.
On our way up we found some old edelweiss.
We did not climb up on the top of this mountain, because we had to cross the complete plateau of Jufplaun and we were late on this day. The view next to the summit was perfect. On the one side we could the Val Mora and the mountains around and on the other side there was the Livigno reservoir.
The descent back to our packs was the best of the day. Snowshoe downhill running par excellence. It was a lot of fun.
After this highlight of the day we reached at our packs. We had some bars and a short recory before we started to cross the plateau of Jufplaun.
On our way we came across a hut with an open water source. We used this source to fill up all bottles with fresh and cold mountain water.
The sun set slowly and a cold wind came up. Our goal was to find a campsite at the end of the plateau, but it was windy and cold there. So we decided to climb down to reach the treeline and find a protected campsite.
Between big stone pines we found a perfect camp. Protected, perfect view for some photos and enough wood for a campfire.
On this evening we both were lazy with making photos. We had dinner and some warm drinks at the fire before we went early to bed.
In the morning we started the fire again because we had enough time. Our goal on this day was to reach the car at Buffalora. This was only a walk of one and a half hour. So this time we had a bis breakfast at the camp before we started packing.
Melting snow for a coffee.
Anatols gear for that trip.
Ready to go
On our way back to the car we had to cross some small streams and a boggy area, because we walked across country.
Back at the car, we traveled into the next village for a stop at the supermarket. We bought some goodies for the last night in the lavvu at Buffalora. On the way back we stopped in the sun to repack our gear for the last trip. Parc Natiunal Svizzer was the place for this day trip. This park is only some metres away from Buffalora and is on the sunny side of the valley, so the snow level was very low and we could walk without snowshoes.
Equipped with trail runner and spikes for slippery sections we started started at Stabelchod. This time we could to this trip. When we tried it in May it was closed.
The National Park has something mystical. Everything there is natural and there are only a few marked areas where you can stop for a break. On our way to the Margunet we found such an area in the sun and we stopped for a break and to try the gear.. The ground was muddy because the hot sun melted the snow.We could observe chamois at the slopes on this perfect sunny day.
On top of the Margunet we had an excellent view at the Fuorcla Val da Botsch which brings you into the Val Minger and the Val S-Charl. A trip along there is planned for summer. I put on my Snowline spikes for the slippery downhill. A last view back at the splendid mountain scenery and we started.
Running downhill with spikes was just as exciting as the snowshoe downhill, but it ends very quickly. After half an hour we were back in the valley and had a solid ground under our feet and I could put out my spikes.
Back at the car we drove again to Buffalora. We left the car there and walked to the campsite where we stayed for the first night. It was cold on this later afternoon and it should become even colder. The lavvu was pitched quickly, we started the fire in the Picogrill and made the bed for the night. Everything was ready to crawl quickly in the sleeping bag. On this last evening we had a delicious dinner. Sausages, beer and potato rosti.
An amazing trip ended on this evening and we should get a very cold night.
In the morning we recognized that we had -20°C during the night. Maybe it was three or four degrees warmer in the lavvu, but I could sleep very well with my winter quilt setup. More infos about this in an extra article.
After we had packed everything we went to the car and drove home. Anatol brought me back to the train and I could start my long way home.
This way my second trip with Anatol and it was again a pleasure to walk with him. The photos in this article are a mix of our both sets. If you wanna see all you can find Anatol’s photos here and my set here.
Finally here is a short video of our trip.