The high summer temperatures in July made many a bedroom even at night to the sauna room. The time was ripe for the search of an idyllic bivouac place in the height. Equipped with sleeping bag, mat, gas cooker, dishes and camera we went off to the mountains.
An experience report by Remo Schläpfer
Due to our office in St. Gallen, the choice of the Alpstein Mountains was obvious. But not only the geographical proximity make the area interesting. The Alpstein with its lush meadows, numerous alpine farms, imposing mountain folds and the panoramic views of Austria, Germany and France offer endlessly impressive places to bivouac.
In preparation for the bivouac night, I looked at the 25: 000 card in more detail and talked to my buddy and professional mountaineer Michi Wohllebenwho knows the area well because of his many training tours. For discussion was the Öhrli or a place near the impressive Altenalptürme. I postponed the definitive decision to later.
Approach to the bivouac only with good footwear
Due to time constraints I drove from Wasserauen with the Ebenalpbahn to the mountain station. From there, thanks to the light equipment, it quickly went with my 30-liter backpack on the shoulders towards Schäfler. After I passed the restaurant of the same name the first surprise came.
Due to the high temperatures I decided for Birkenstock sandals. I am used to walking in difficult terrain without mountaineering boots. Nevertheless, the warning let me think for a moment and encouraged me to place an important hint here: Please do not imitate.
As planned, I passed the first possible bivouac site at the Altenalentürmen. I can see the towers of previous hikes and a viral video of Michi (more on that later). I ran up to the saddle for a moment and wanted to see whether the space was good for me. Once at the top, I was greeted by an imposing view of the plains on the northern side and a fantastic view of the Alpstein mountains on the southern side. And all of this right next to the Altenalp towers. I did not study long and looked for a place to sleep on the slope. As if created, I found a small gravel field in the middle of the grassy steep slope. I leveled this out without further ado and thus had a perfect, secluded spot for my bivouac, in the middle of the steep grass slope.
Soft and warm bedded
With my usual sleeping mat I would now have to invest a good deal of breath in the inflation of the sleeping mat. Not like that Ether Light XT Insulated from Sea to Summit. The cover of the mat acts like a pump - and that works really well and surprisingly quickly. The Lightweight sleeping bag Spark II - also from Sea to Summit - I unpack right away so that the down feathers can fluff up nicely by the time I go to bed.
Since I was traveling alone, I opted for the choice of a simple menu: ravioli from the tin. I put more emphasis on quality in the wine. The Cooker Firefly by Robens is super small and fit in the sophisticated Set of pans and crockery SigmaSet 2.1, So in terms of volume, I just had to pack a pan. Two plates, two cups, the cooker and the coffee strainer can be stored in this one pan. Brilliant.
That food was cooked and eaten quickly. Unfortunately, I forgot the ravioli for all my photography, so they are lightly burnt. The painstaking cleaning of the pan I postponed until the next morning.
Kitschy sunset with foresight
After the fast construction of the bivouac station, I ran ten meters higher on the saddle and enjoyed the unique foresight on Lake Constance and the cheesy sunset. Always rave about the sunsets in the South African boulder Rocklands. This sunset can easily keep up.
The day after - slept refreshed
My alarm clock was ringing at 5.30 clock, because I did not want to miss the sunrise and thus the optimal light for more pictures at no cost. The night in my Spark II and on the Matte Ether Light XT was awesome. My last bivouac night is one year back. I spent it in my old, super-heavy, downy sleeping bag on a thin sleeping mat. I slept that bad afterwards.
Not that night. The mattress is not only very comfortable, but also insulated. From the bottom no cold pushed (yes, in the night it was cool despite the summer temperatures). In combination with the inflatable Pillow Eros Pillow Ultralight LargeI even slept sideways like a marmot, which can be fixed on the mat. At night, a good dose of dew settled on the sleeping bag. Normal down sleeping bags quickly deteriorate due to moisture and become soggy. The Spark In contrast, which contains the specially water-repellent Ultra-Dry-Down, ensured despite the humidity at night for pleasantly warm temperatures.
Via Säntis back to the car - with a bouldering session
I also renounced quality at breakfast - except for the coffee. The day before, I put freshly ground coffee powder in a small can and took it Filter X-Brew With. The coffee filter, like the two cups and plates, had space in the pan. In the morning I just had to boil water and pour it into the filter - if it weren't for the crust of the burnt ravioli from the previous evening. I probably pushed them aside. To my amazement, even though it wasn't a Teflon pan, the crust peeled off the pan effortlessly thanks to the moisture at night. But this effect will not be repeated in the future? The coffee was quickly ready to drink.
Compared to the coffee filter I was a bit critical. I like strong coffee from the expresso pot. To my astonishment, the filter worked very well. The water runs very slowly through the filter, so that a good portion of coffee flavor is released from the powder. The result was - for a filter coffee - very good. Since the coffee filter with its 85 grams in the baggage does not matter, it's worth taking along!
After a short breakfast, I continued towards Säntis, the main summit of the Alpstein Mountains. On the way there I suddenly discovered some imposing blocks that made my climbing heart beat faster. I couldn't resist and took a short break and climbed an edge - with sub-optimal shoes (Birkenstock). If you want to have a serious session here, we recommend climbing shoes and pads, because the jump area is pretty stony.
Some meters in altitude and meeting with marmots later I reached the big snowfield below the Säntis. Again, I like to repeat: Bring appropriate footwear. Arrived at the summit I decided to have a second coffee and extended breakfast in the restaurant Alter Säntis. Cozy it went then by train back to the valley and with the PostBus and the Appenzellerbahn back to the car in Wasserauen.
If you are looking for a nice hike along a route that is not too often traveled and a spectacular bivouac site, we highly recommend the tour. It is important to have a stable weather window (the place is exposed) and good shoes - and of course good bivouac material. Anyone who thinks that I'm only writing so euphorically about the products mentioned because we were provided with them is wrong. I got the sleeping bags, especially the one Spark II with its small pack size and low weight, recommended several times. The rest of the material was simply convincing - very much.
Details about the bivouac place
The bivouac is located at the western end of the Altenalptürme, above the Lötzlisalpsattel on a steep grass slope. A small field of scree in the middle of the slope has been leveled and serves as a sleeping place with an impressive view of the Alpstein Mountains. The place is exposed and only suitable when the weather is nice - but then all the more impressive. Due to its exposed location, the bivouac site is only recommended for experienced mountaineers. You can find the Space in the 3D view consider.
Bonus for the adventurous
If the cozy evening hike to the bivouac and the overnight stay in this idyllic place is not enough, you can get the adrenaline rush with the crossing of the Altenal towers. The ascent of the Altenalptürme is only recommended for experienced climbers.
The video is from the professional pianist Michi Wohlleben, Incidentally, as a mountain guide, he also accompanies guests over the narrow ridge. You can find his coordinates here www.michi-wohlleben.de
My bivouac equipment for the described tour
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Credits: footage Sea to Summit, Robens