Switzerland 2021

Monday August 30, 2021

Tuesday August 31, 2021
Nufenen and San Gottardo

Wednesday September 1, 2021
Oberaarsee and Grimselpass

Nufenen is the 12th highest paved road in the Alps, and the second highest paved road in Switzerland.
(Umbrailpass is higher, but it doesn't "count" for me since the road continues up to the Stelvio.)

Nufenen, Gotthard, and Furka could be ridden as one big loop.
The cobbled Gotthard tremola is on the south side, so the loop should be ridden counter clockwise to ride up the tremola.
This would mean climbing the east side of Furka, which I rode in 2017.
If I was going to climb Furka again, I'd climb the west side out of Oberwald instead.
The west side of Furka was a stretch goal for this trip.

I planned to ride up the north side of Nufenen, down the long south side, then up the south side of Gotthard, then down to Andermatt, then train back to Overwald.


North side of Nufenen.  I started another 4km uphill in Oberwald

South side of Nufenen, I planned to do this downhill to get to Passo del San Gottardo - this canton speaks Italian!

South side of Gotthard

North side of Gotthard, though I'd only do 12km down to Andermatt, then take the train back to Oberwald

07:48 Switzerland time 23:48 California time

Dusty: As i was leaving Oberwald I saw the steam train approaching town, didn't get a good pic, then it stopped in the trees.
Dusty: i got to the train station and saw guys with cameras and tripods, i knew from my last trip the steam locomotive only runs a couple times a year, chatted w some of the guys and waited for the train for 5m before deciding to move on, had a long day ahead of me.

08:06 Switzerland time 00:06 California time

Looking northeast back to Obergesteln

The Rhone valley was still in the shade, it was chilly!
The road up Nufenen was totally shaded as well, continued to be dark and chilly for the first 90 minutes or so.

08:43 Switzerland time 00:43 California time
Nufenen, looking southeast / uphill

Nufenen, looking northwest / downhill

09:18 Switzerland time 01:18 California time

09:35 Switzerland time 01:35 California time

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I finally got into sunlight and it started to warm up.
However the huge web of power lines made the scenery less than stunning.

10:22 Switzerland time 02:22 California time

PANO - scroll right

Nufenen got prettier closer to the top when the power lines didn't stand out so much.
The dam for Griessee is on the opposite side of the valley, I planned to ride over there to see the lake and glacier.

10:24 Switzerland time 02:24 California time

10:25 Switzerland time 02:25 California time

10:35 Switzerland time 02:35 California time

Griessee is closed!
If you look closely you can see why, there are fresh brown tracks in the green hillside ahead on the left from a rockslide

10:36 Switzerland time 02:36 California time

Griessee is closed!

I watched another cyclist ride around the closure and continue on.
I decided against it, I still had a long day ahead of me.

10:57 Switzerland time 02:57 California time

PANO - scroll right

Griesgletcher is above Griesssee.
The ridgeline south / left of Griesgletcher is the Italian border.

10:59 Switzerland time 02:59 California time

10:59 Switzerland time 02:59 California time

11:05 Switzerland time 03:05 California time

11:05 Switzerland time 03:05 California time

11:07 Switzerland time 03:07 California time

11:11 Switzerland time 03:11 California time

South side of Nufenen with another web of power lines.

11:12 Switzerland time 03:12 California time

PANO - scroll right

11:27 Switzerland time 03:27 California time

The top of Nufenen was pretty but still not great for an Alp.
Once I got low enough to see Gotthard it took my breath away.
It got nicer as I got closer.

11:35 Switzerland time 03:35 California time

12:13 Switzerland time 04:13 California time

There are two roads up Gotthard plus a highway that goes under it through the tunnel, finding the old road - the tremola - was supposed to be a bit of a challenge
The Grand Tour signs marked the way.

12:17 Switzerland time 04:17 California time

The only real challenge I had finding the tremola was dealing with the closure of the main road through Airolo.
I decided to stick with the closed road for now.

12:20 Switzerland time 04:20 California time


12:20 Switzerland time 04:20 California time

12:32 Switzerland time 04:32 California time

I stopped for lunch - candy and a coke - at the coop.
I walked my bike through the closure and proceeded up the mountain...

12:33 Switzerland time 04:33 California time

13:15 Switzerland time 05:15 California time

The start of the cobbles!

There were a few intermittant cobbled sections before the road turned to cobbles for good.
The cobbles were kind of painful.
After a while I was able to ignore the pain and enjoy them..

As I was climbing I thought I heard cyclists say "Bonjour" as they passed me which confused me since we weren't anywhere near France.
Eventually I realized they were saying "Buongiorno"
I'd never heard Italian in Switzerland before so this was new to me...


13:46 Switzerland time 05:46 California time

14:06 Switzerland time 06:06 California time

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14:24 Switzerland time 06:24 California time

I saw the horse drawn coach approaching and started taking video.
The coach is slow enough you can easily hop off the back to take pictures, as long as you're willing to run to catch up to it again..
I later saw they charge an insane 680 chf per person for a full day ride across the pass, though it is more reasonably for a 1 or 2 hour ride.
You should rent a Ferrari instead, it would be much cheaper and much more fun.

14:26 Switzerland time 06:26 California time

14:26 Switzerland time 06:26 California time

PANO - scroll right

14:29 Switzerland time 06:29 California time

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14:43 Switzerland time 06:43 California time

timed construction lights, saw plenty of these on my rides.

14:48 Switzerland time 06:48 California time

14:53 Switzerland time 06:53 California time

I made it up the pass!
But I still had to get to Lago della Sella!

15:00 Switzerland time 07:00 California time

While I was approaching the pass from below I thought I heard bagpipes...
As I got onto the road to Lago della Sella I saw a bagpiper playing on the rocks for all to enjoy.
Wrong country, but the right effect, bagpipes in the mountains on a sunny day was pretty awesome.

15:13 Switzerland time 07:13 California time

Lago della Sella 2257m, the 41st highest paved road in the Alps.

15:14 Switzerland time 07:14 California time

15:14 Switzerland time 07:14 California time

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PANO - scroll right

15:18 Switzerland time 07:18 California time

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PANO - scroll right

15:32 Switzerland time 07:32 California time

I was now ravenously hungry.
I was worried that I didn't have enough cash to buy a braut from the guy at the top of Gotthard, but I found an extra 20chf I'd forgotten about and celebrated by wolfing down a braut and beer.

15:54 Switzerland time 07:54 California time

16:06 Switzerland time 08:06 California time

16:12 Switzerland time 08:12 California time

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16:21 Switzerland time 08:21 California time

Return to Andermatt
I spent 3 days here in 2017, only got 1 day of cycling in cause it was socked in or rainy the other days..
The one day of cycling was awesome.

16:24 Switzerland time 08:24 California time

I rode past this former-gas-station-now-hotel in 2017 without noticing the sign.
The sign points out that this is one of the locations from Goldfinger.
This is the gas station where James drops off Tilly Masterson after he destroyed her Mustang's tire and nearly killed her on Furkapass.

17:00 Switzerland time 09:00 California time

Dusty: having dinner at same restaurant i ate at twice in 2017, but they no longer have my smoked salmon rosti!   The horror!

Dusty: on train ride back from Andermatt had at least 12 guys w tripods and cameras, they'd all taken the steam train...
Dusty: the one of the most awesome cycling days ever....

16:12 Europe time 07:12 California time
Kent: Very cool Dusty!

16:14 Europe time 07:14 California time
Ray: looks like great weather

Dusty: Gotthard pass was gorgeous but the top half was windy...
Dusty: still sunny though and I didn't freeze to death...
Dusty: Nufenen was full of power lines everywhere since theres a dam up there
Dusty: Nufenen was shaded this morning and very cold until i got into the sun about 90 minutes in...

17:00 Europe time 08:00 California time
Dusty: Todays added degree of difficulty:  about 8km of cobbles...
Dusty: eventually i got into the zone and enjoyed them....

21:08 Europe time 12:08 California time
Paul: What was that horse team all about
Paul: Was it for tourists or was that a real working team?

22:49 Europe time 13:49 California time
Kent: Like train turntables
Kent:  Cool place
Kent:  I assume it's the tunnel at end of Rhone valley
Kent:  I walked there in the mountains from Munster along the high route in '00
Kent:  Long walk for short distance
Kent:  Lots of in and outs of side cantons.
Kent: Here's sort of neat thing I think
Kent:  Picked up this not great technique painting at thrift store last week for $1.50
Kent:  Investigation makes me believe it was painted 50+ years ago and I think it's likely Mt St Helens prior to eruption

22:52 Europe time 13:52 California time
Kent: I remember there being a huge sail port for sailplanes at that end of valley

03:26 Europe time 18:26 California time
Kent: Dusty, you may enjoy this map view I picked up a few years ago
Kent:  I framed it and put tape over towns ive spent time in rhone valley
Kent:  From the Sebastian Munster printing cosmographia 1556
Kent:  I suppose my favorite parts are the ibex near where zermatt should be and the title Wallisser Land
Kent:  (You can see St Bernard on it too)

Dusty: I have a couple of maps I bought of the alps intended to frame, still rolled up in the garage...

Dusty: 2 nights ago a watched a middle aged Swiss couple walk into the hotel, straight out of a time machine from 100(?)y ago, both dressed in black, formal old clothes, hats, and they were carrying a cane or stick between them, hanging their largest suitcase from the cane..
Dusty: also saw them at the train station next morning, same outfits, caught her eye for a second trying to guess what kind of interesting life she was living..
Dusty: couldn't tell whether they were re-enacting the past, part of some cult, or just really really swiss....

Monday August 30, 2021

Tuesday August 31, 2021
Nufenen and San Gottardo

Wednesday September 1, 2021
Oberaarsee and Grimselpass