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Swiss Alpine passes with an E-Bike, Sept./Oct.2010

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I want to find out if I can surmount higher passes with my e-bike as the passes I made in Corsica last May. Therefore, I cycle a few passes in the Swiss Alps on some beautiful days in September/October.

Filisur the starting point for the Albula Pass

<Bergüner gorge. The raging Albula^

Beautiful Grison Homes

in Bergün

Sep 11, 2010 Albula Pass.
Kilometre: 56.88
Altitude: ---1580

I start in Filisur (1032m.), at the foot of the Albula Pass. I park my car there and hope to be back tomorrow evening. I am pleased with such beautiful weather and clear views. The battery is fully charged. There are 4 assistance levels to my E-Bike (BionX).
Level 1 = -35% support
Level 2 = -75%
Level 3 = 150%
Level 4 = 300%
There are also 4 motor assistance levels for charging the battery.
For me, stage 2 is sufficient.

Bridge of the Rhaetian Railway shortly after Bergün

Naz before Preda

Here she disappears into the tunnel

The dark green shiny Palpuognasee

The first 7 km to Bergün goes up with a 10% to 12% ascent and a few serpentines.
The road winds along the steep to overhanging rocks "Bergüner Gorge" which falls right down the foaming and roaring Albula river.
Bergün is a small village with beautifully painted houses in the Engadine style. It would be a shame to cycle fast through this beautiful village, so I take a little closer to look at Bergün and take a few photos.
Towards Preda I cycle underneath a viaduct of the Rhaetian Railway. I hear in the distant the whistle of the red train, so I have time to take out my camera and make pictures before she disappears into the tunnel.
In Preda, the train has it easier, because here it disappears in a nearly 6 km long tunnel to get out at Spinas again at the other side of the mountain crest. It takes another 8 kilometre ascent with a gradient of 10 to 12% to the top. This effort is worthwhile because of the beautiful landscape. I cycle past the dark green shiny Palpuognalake.

Small lakes before the pass

Albulapass with hospice

Bicycle and motorcycle riders

Steep road down to

La Punt in the distance

La Punt in Oberengadin

At the Albulapass (2312m.) is a hospice and what not surprise me, a large number of motorcycles on this beautiful fall day. A little further I see a lot of cows grazing in a treeless landscape with a mountain lake.
The 10 kilometres with 12% descent to La Punt, recharges my almost empty battery, by 2 of 6 units. That's enough to get to Süsch.
I cycle through the Inn Valley and avoid as much as possible the main road. It is a real pleasure to cycle through the small and quiet Grison villages such as Madulain, Zuoz and S-chanf.
I pitch my tent on the campsite of Süsch and after a warm shower; I close the day with a large beer in the village pub.

One of the many villages

From La Punt to Zernez you don't have to take the main road, much better cycle through the villages and country roads

The Inn at Zuoz in Engadine

September 12, 2010 Flüelapass
Kilometre: 57.42
Altitude: ---1580

When I get up at about 08:00h in the morning, it is still pretty cold and the tent dripping wet. I stuff the tent in a plastic bag and I will dry it at home. My neighbor, Jan Willem van Eijk from the Netherlands is already crawling out of his tent. He has cycled via Germany and Austria to Switzerland and enjoys the Swiss Alps. I cook in the sanitation facilities, one litre of water to make somewhere hot instant coffee or soup.

The sun doesn't reach the river Susasca yet, but it will not be long until it's there.

With ten turns and about 10% grade I get up. The bus (lower curve) has enough room on this broad and beautiful street

Two small lakes on the summit

High mountain landscape

The campsite in Süsch (1426) is located directly at the foot of the Fluelapass. The strenuous 11% ascent to the Flüelapass (2383) is about 13 kilometres. On the right side of the road flows the river Susasca down to the Inn River.
The sun is already in the sky, but does not reach the street.
Halfway up, I see a beautiful view point in the sun. Here I take breakfast with a cup of Viennese coffee. After a while, I see Jan Willem cycle to the summit. I understand that he continues to cycle as it is easier than with various interruptions. For me it is easier with electric support!
After 13 km. and ten serpentines I reach the pass with the hospice, surrounded by barren mountains with two small lakes. It is extremely busy at the pass on this splendid Sunday morning.
The hospice is located at 2,389 meters and was built in 1869, the pass road three years earlier.

Descent from the Flüelapass

Flüela Pass 2383 M.

Crystal clear water

An ideal place for a break

Direction Davos Wolfgang. The cows have a beautiful life

The descent to Davos is 800 meters over a distance of 13 kilometres. Charging the battery with going downhill gives me the advantage without using my brakes. I only need them in the curves.
After a few kilometres I see a ledge with a beautiful view across the valley, ideal for a coffee or instant-soup break.
I cycle past the guest houses Tschuggen, Alpine and funicular station to Mitteltäli, which are visited in the ski season certainly more.
Davos is to my taste, not the most beautiful place in Switzerland, with its concrete blocks. Of course, there are beautiful buildings such as the Church of St. John, or the 15th century mountain church of Frauenkirch, 4 Km South of Davos.

The small village Wiesen


Grandpa and Grandma help


On a hill stands the Church in Schmitten

In Davos I met Jan Willem again. He asks if it is not dangerous to cycle through the 3 kilometre long tunnel ahead of us. I assure him that the Swiss tunnels are well lit and the roads are of good quality.
Immediately after the tunnel, the road leads up with 6 to 7% to Wiesen. From now on it goes slowly down through this valley. In Alvaneu I turn left for the last leg to Filisur. I parked here my car. Beforehand I cycle to the famous bridge of the Rhaetian Railway. This 60 meter high bridge takes the train across the valley and disappears into the mountain

In Filisur I cycle to the high bridge of the Rhaetian Railway. The train, 60 meters above the valley floor comes through a tunnel, on the right side of the picture, which I missed. One hour I don't want to wait for the next one. But with a little imagination you can see the red train.

September 20, 2010 Meiringen - Grosse Scheidegg - Interlaken - Meiringen

Kilometer: 78.01
Altitude: ---1791

To live and work on a steeper slope is nearly impossible


Last review of Meiringen^

<The water comes down and I'm going up

I park my car on the edge of the forest, between Meiringen and Innertkirchen. (595m.)
Here begins the climb to the Grosse Scheidegg (1962m.)
At 09:00 it is still a bit fresh but the gradient starts with 10% and soon my body is well supplied with blood and feels warm.
As a resident of the lower part of Switzerland, I sometimes think how can people live and work on such steep hills.
After a few Kilometres I cycle along the Reichenbach Falls which are well worth seeing.
I continue to the Rosenlaui glacier gorge. A trail leads to the glacier, and I inquire how long it takes for this course. It will take ¾ hour for this tour. There is still white dew on the grass and my thermometer registered 4 degrees. I'm still sweating and prefer to continue to the pass.

Left is the glacier Rosenlaui

Smallest town in Switzerland

To the glacier and back, ¾ hour

The last few miles are strenuous with 14% gradient.
After a climb of almost 1400 meters, I note that the battery is still not empty.
The restaurant at the summit is all day in the shadow of the mighty weather horn. Perhaps in the evening it might have some rays of sunshine.
After a few turns I leave the shadows and soon the temperature rises. I need nevertheless my weatherproof jacket on this fast descent, from (1962 metre) on the pass to (1034) in Grindelwald.
I take a short breather with the famous "Eigernordwand" in front of me.

Sooo many cows

Here at Alp Breitenboden

I take a breather

Looking back towards Rosenlaui

The tree line is reached soon


Grosse Scheidegg with Wetterhorn


In the fourteen kilometres with 12% decline the battery charges 2 units of total 6.
The next 6 km. to Lütschental (714), the descent is still 12%, which is almost 20 km. downwards.
In the bustling town of Interlaken I have lunch. The temperature rises to over 20 degrees. It is a pleasure to cycle along Lake Brienz to Meiringen.
I cycle through Meiringen, take some photos of the beautiful bell tower, which stand entirely free of the church and cycle back to my car.
At 17:00 I arrive to a campsite in Giswil, and prepare myself for the next tour tomorrow.
My tour will be via Glaubenberg to Entlebuch and back via Sörenberg, Glaubenbielen and the scenic road.

Descent from the Grosse Scheidegg direction Grindelwald


Church of Meiringen

Back along Lake Brienz to Meiringen. Here at Oberried

September 21, 2010 Sarnersee - Glaubenberg - Entlebuch - Sörenberg - Glaubenbielen - Sarnersee

Kilometre: 76.92
Altitude: ---2127

People live here on such a steep slope

Looking back, in the distance the Bernese Oberland

This slope can be worked only by hand

I park my car in Oberwilen, Lake Sarnen (470m.) the starting point of my Glaubenberg- Glaubenbielen tour.
With 11% it goes through the forest Schwendliwald. The slopes are so steep, that mowing can only be done by hand. A tractor would not make it here.
After about 3 kilometers I reach Stalden on the slightly wider and more traveled road from Sarnen to Entlebuch.
Until Langis, a large hotel with a huge parking lot shortly before the summit, the road climbs with an 11 to 13% gradient. The parking lot is now used by hikers, but in winter people come skiing.

There were probably no cars when this old bridge was built

I have another kilometre to go to reach the Glaubenberg. (1543m.) The road is not paved for about 500m. I assume that it will be soon done.
On top is a small wooden house witch is called "pass pub". A hiking trail leads into the next valley that I will go through on my way back.
The approximately 800 meters descent over 12 kilometres along the river Entlen to Entlebuch charges the battery with 2 units and I hope that's enough for the Glaubenbielen this afternoon.

The first few km. descent from the mountain Glaubenberg show 12% on my bike computer. Later in Finsterwald it flattens.


Bottom right is Entlebuch. I cycle 8 kilometers along the main road to the junction for Sörenberg and Glaubenbielen.

<Passing places for oncoming cars.

Between Schüpfheim and Flühli the road is closed due blasting to make the road safe. The narrow detour takes me along the forest and goes constantly up and down. If I want to use the electrical support to the top, I'll have to charge it somewhere.
When I come into Fluli, it is lunch time. During lunch break I upload the Battery in the restaurant.
Starting again, I see another 3 units of power on the display. That is more than enough for the rest of the trip to the summit Glaubenbielen.
From Sörenberg on, the road get pass character with a 10% slope and a few bends over 7 kilometres.

One hour lunch break and recharge the battery in Flueli


From Sörenberg it begins to look like a pass. The pass is not so high and coniferous trees, are up to the top

A very nice departure from the views, as well

as by the new road surface.

Downwards, the road is called "scenic road" because of the beautiful views on Lake Sarnen and surrounding.
And what a view! It is not surprising that the road get this name.
I can see the mountains all around but a little haze lies in the valley, it looks a bit milky.
The roads is newly asphalted which makes the descent more wonderful.
Arriving at the car I change my clothes to ride comfortably home.

The view from the panoramic road to the Sarnersee

Oktober 3, 2010 Schwyz - Pragelpass - Linth
Kilometer 68.24
Height: ---1612

The city Schwyz is the starting point for the Pragelpass. A few clouds in the early morning which disappear during the day

Homes, farms and barns until far above.

The train disappears into a tunnel above. At the terminus you can continue with a cable car to Fronalpstock.

Each row of windows has its own roof. This style is often found in Central Switzerland.

The village Muotathal has the same name as the whole valley

From Stalden on the ascent begins

A look back on the valley Muotathal

14 to 18% up, with no traffic

Once again Indian summer came back with foehn wind. Foehn means a clear view in the mountains and warm wind from the south.
Starting point for the Pragelpass is Schwyz. The Pragel is not as well known as the Klausenpass, which I will cycle tomorrow, but more interesting.
The landscapes are not as spectacular, but it has some benefits. The road is very narrow but hardly any traffic on it. For an oncoming car, the street is too small and has to evade on a piece made for it, but for a bike it is just broad enough. On Saturday and Sunday, the east side is blocked for motorized traffic.
The slope is often 14-18%, which is quite hard.


To the right is the pass with scattered trees

Picnic on the summit, 1550m.

Beginning of the descent on the east side

On weekends is the eastside

blocked for motorized traffic, good with such narrow streets

The first few kilometers through Muotathal the ascent is moderately and leads through a forest. From the Stoosbahn to Stalden it is flat again.
A sign points towards
Hölloch, the entrance of a cave of 200 kilometers, the fourth largest karsts cave in the world.
In Stalden the ascent begins at a small bridge over a creek.
On the last view point, a few kilometers before the pass, I take a breather to enjoy the view and take a few photos.
A farmer observed with binoculars the surrounding. He looks like I imagine a man of the mountains. With muddle hair and long beard. I can only see his eyes and nose. I get into conversation with him, but I have to make an effort to understand his central Swiss dialect which is not familiar to me.
Deep down in the valley we see Muotathal. The houses, farms and barns are nearly built up to the top. Most people are largely self-provider. Everyone produces his own meat milk and eggs, bread is baked and even vegetables grow well even at this altitude (1100-1200m.) tells me the farmer. When people have to go shopping, they should not forget their shopping list, because it is annoying when you get home and realize you forgot the toothpaste.
The last few kilometers are almost flat, sometimes it goes even down. The landscape is barren, but very beautiful; with high snow-capped mountains all around, it has a real Alpine atmosphere.
I take much time on the pass (1550m.) for lunch with this beautiful view and pleasant temperature.

A little below Richisau I overlook the Klöntalersee>

From Richisau on, the motorized traffic is allowed on the weekends again


Railway station in Glarus

With a gradient of 14% I cycle downwards to the guest house Richisau, overlooking the Klöntalersee and mountains in the background such as Bächistock, Vrenelis-Gärtli and Ruchen.
At the lake I take a longer break with a nice cup of coffee. The trees already have their fall colours, the sun is shining, temperature is more than 20°, the lake is blue-green and the sky blue.
In Linthal, I booked an overnight stay at the Auen Lodge.
The Lodge is at the end of the Linthal, from town about 2 kilometres up towards Tierfehd. It is a good overnight stay with a large living room.
Through the window of my room I see clouds on the mountain ridge. They are stopped by Tödi and Bifertenstock. On the south side of the mountain ridge is bad weather. In the evening the warm foehn wind from the south takes storm character.
I also see the cable car to
Muttsee. There is a gigantic structure, an underground pump-storage plant which can be expected to be finished in 2015. Water from Limmerensee will be pumped in the 600 meters higher Muttsee. This will increase the capacity from 450 to 1450 MW.

Schwanden in Linthal

The mountain wall prevents rainy weather on this side of the wall

This slope, together with the whole village Braunwald slips each year for one centimeter downwards

Tomorrow I cycle to the left along the mountain crest up the Klausen Pass

At the end of Linthal valley is the "Auen Lodge"

October 04, 2010 Linth - Klausenpass - Schwyz
Kilometer 69.50
Altitude ---1525

Blue skies and pleasant temperatures, but also strong Foehn-wind accompanies me on the climb to the Klausen pass. This morning I've heard on the radio that it is raining heavily in the Southern Alps and therefore they warn from hydroplaning.

The sun illuminates this relatively short gallery

This blue sign is a post car road


Through a mixed forest with a 10% slope

Suddenly I'm on the Urnerboden

At the end of Urnerboden lies the village with the same name

When snow is falling the road is blocked here at the two firs

The first few turns are cobblestoned with a 10% slope. A little further up I cycle through two smaller galleries. The colored autumn trees, many serpentine and views of glaciers make the trip entertaining.
Suddenly the valley opens and I am on a flat plain, which is called Urnerboden. To my left I have views of the snow-capped Clariden.
After the village Urnerboden is a barrier. If snow falls, like last weekend, they close the pass here.

In the background Urnerboden

begin of the second section with switchbacks to the Klausen Pass. Alpine huts settlement

The Klausen pass road is longer and wider than the Pragel pass.

Along the right mountain side I cycle into Schächental.

1 kilometers below the pass is the Hotel Klausen Pass.

A part of the trail is protected by a fence.

The last settlement in the valley.

A few more terraces higher, the road winds around a settlement of mountain huts.
The temperature has dropped to still pleasant 15 degrees on the pass.
A kilometer down, direction Altdorf, is the Hotel Klausenpass. From here I have a magnificent view of the Schächental with surrounding mountains such as Scherhorn and Ruchen.
From the pass (1952m.) to Altdorf (458m.), I let run the bike at full speed, but I have to be very careful of the strong gusts of wind. Fortunately, I'm riding on the mountain side. While climbing on the east side, a gust of wind hit me so strong that it pushes me off the road. Luckily the slope wasn't steep.

The road runs along the right ridge

of Schächental. I must be careful

to stay on the road with such strong foehn wind.

In Spiringen I take a breather.

Chapel and Museum in Bürglen are dedicated to Wilhelm Tell. (Hometown)

At a viewpoint in Spiringen I take a lunch break.
Another 6 km. with 9% descent I cycle to Bürglen the hometown of Wilhelm Tell.
On the village square is a monument, a museum and Tell's Chapel.

Center of Altdorf^

Wilhelm Tell with son, crossbow and apple>

Now I'm curious how well the Axenstrasse (the road along the Lake of Uri) for cyclists has been made. A few years ago when I cycled the Axenstrasse, it was a big construction site.
I am pleasantly surprised how nice and good work has been done. Motorized traffic is separated from bicycle and pedestrian. It's a real pleasure to cycle along the lake, at least till Sisikon.
After Sisikon it is not so good because the people responsible want the cyclists to ride on the road along the cliffs without possibility to get out of the way to Brunnen.
On the left side is a narrow sidewalk, and space for a bicycle, but with oncoming cyclist I have to go off the bike and let them pass. However, it is always better as to be a barrier for cars and it is less dangerous for cyclists.

Lake Uri at Flüelen. The train goes through the mountain, the road

up through galleries and tunnels

No comparison with the past. Motorised transport is separated from pedestrians and cyclist.

The old tunnel is now for cyclist and pedestrians. The cars got a new tunnel

On the other side.

Galleries and tunnels, alternate.

From Sisikon to Brunnen they have unfortunately not started yet to rebuild the road.

From Brunnen to Schwyz it is only 4 kilometers; there at the sports field I parked my car yesterday. I put my bike in the car and begin my 1½ hour trip back home.

View of Brunnen

In Schwyz, I finished my two day trip. The famous Swiss Army knife is produced her. Victorinox