Bike&Ski to Chaiserstock

Bike&Ski to Chaiserstock

This year’s planned fair-means bike-ski-camping weekend was canceled due to unstable conditions. However, eight of us—Alex, Alicia, Arnaud, Aubin, Chris, Elias, George, and Max—took advantage of a good weather window in late April to do a one-day human-powered tour from Zürich to Chaiserstock and back.

We met at Bürkliplatz at 4:00, our bikes loaded with ski touring gear, and headed up Sihltal. Despite a brief pause for a chain repair, we made brisk progress to Sisikon, admiring the early morning light on Uri Rotstock and surrounding peaks. Our small peloton broke up on the steep climb to Käppeliberg, 700 m of altitude gain in 7 km, but by 9:00 we had regrouped, stashed our bikes, and started hiking to Lidernenhütte.

We found snow at 1500 m and transitioned to skis. At Lidernenhütte we paused to eat and plan next steps: the day was warming, and our choice was between Rossstock, comfortably achievable, and Chaiserstock, the more interesting objective, but where we might have to turn back if snow conditions became dangerous. We decided on Chaiserstock.

We proceeded cautiously under the south face to the Chaisertor saddle, the aftermath of a large gliding avalanche clearly visible below us. From the saddle, the steep and less frequently skied north face still looked safe, so we decided to attempt the summit.

The crux of the summit ridge proved less difficult than it looked from below, and before long we were celebrating on the summit. It was a beautiful day, clear enough to see Zürich in the distance.

We slightly overstayed our welcome: by the time we were back on skis, the north face was wet, avalanche conditions dubious, and the skiing challenging. But we made it down safely, and then hiked a couple kilometers back to our bicycles.

We were all tired, but the ride back was a treat: first a plunge down to Sisikon, then a mellow cruise all together along Vierwaldstättersee and Zugersee, with a stop for food in Brunnen. We arrived in Zürich shortly after 20:00. In total, the adventure took over 16 hours, with ~140 km of cycling, 15 km of hiking, skiing, and scrambling, and about 2900 m of combined elevation gain. We slept soundly that night!

(Text: Max Poletto)