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Old 11-06-2014, 01:08 PM   #1
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Default Backways and Gems_Andermatt Area_Switzerland

Andermatt, one of THE icons in the Swiss Alps... no wonder, when one looks at a map.
All within 40km reach of eachother......and a pile of classics amongst them.
And that's 40k's, swinging from one top ridge of any of the passes to the top of the next one.
It's NUTZ!

It's a total of ~220km for the figure-8 run with the Furka getting a double visit.
After that, something like Victoria's "Great Alpine Road" is a tired chuckle, the Reefton Spur barely an ant hill.






Here the Gmap of the area... http://goo.gl/maps/plHl0


1) St. Gotthard Pass
2) Nufenen Pass
3) Grimsel Pass
4) Susten Pass
5) Schoellenen Gorge
6) Oberalp Pass
7) Furka Pass
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Old 11-06-2014, 01:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: Backways and gems_Andermatt area_Switzerland

Andermatt...


Sadly the place is rapidly losing it's sparkle...gone are the days where Andermatt was the archetypal, dyed-in-the-wool Swiss village at the crossroads of some major, classic pass-roads crossing the Alps.
Sure, those roads are still there but are nowadays not much more than an endlessly moving stream of tourists (and commercial traffic) who've been lured in droves by the "Swiss-Pics" in the trash-mags or the local supermarket flyer.

Yet, for those who go beyond the pass-bagging, the pre-fabbed GPX files, the beaten-to-death names and attractions.... there's a totally different, exciting, scenic, true-Swiss and very genuine "Andermatt" waiting.
There's actually a whole cave-of-riches to be explored and bowl you over, there's places and sights and little roads that are breathtaking and lonely, challenging and wondrous.... and a-thousand-miles-away.


Post up what you've got. Day-loops, half-day excursions, short stops along the way to other targets, exceptional ways to and from...whatever.
All, but the usual diet of Gotthard, Furka, Oberalp, Nufenen etc etc...



Here are a few spots I know off.



St. Gotthard Pass gems

The old Via Gottardo out of Airolo , aka The Tremola. The old cobble-stoned road is something special and one of the last of the Alps.

http://goo.gl/maps/9EC2d

TheTremola is no trouble in the wet, just stay off the white center markings made from small quartz pitchers . The quartz is even slippery when dry.
It's a "slow" road in any case, it's too special to run in one hit, making for time. Ride it before repairs become too costly to keep it open.



They weren't always friendly around here...














Closed for repairs in 2007













Gottardo Ospizio -> Lago della Sella


Next to the sausage-stand at the Ospizio, a single-laner takes off east into the High Meadows....
http://goo.gl/maps/jPqpv
...and it's like someone slammed a door shut. No more people, cars, voices, chaos...the few kilometers to the Lago della Sella turn lonely and the views are spectacular!!
NARROW!







Southern ramp of the Nufenen Pass in the valley, the new Gotthard road climbing the opposite slope towards the top, the Ospizio.















STUNNING...and disturbing:
The Gotthard Museum at the top of the pass...and yes, you'll spend at least a couple of hours once you've got the foot through the door.
It's a MUST!
http://www.museen-uri.ch/National-St...27.0.html?&L=1








I'll hang onto my kidney stones for a while, thanks...

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Old 11-06-2014, 01:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: Backways and gems_Andermatt area_Switzerland

Still on the top of the Gotthard Pass:


Lago di Lucendro
Good dirt, usually no problems with a road-bike and/ or pillion.

http://goo.gl/maps/8hLT9

Go north from the Ospizio on the Old Road and cross the new road...immediately take the first gravel-road on the left, leading across the valley-floor.
A few switchbacks...and the world... stop right here....welcome to 9km of magic.
Talk about spectacular....



Not shabby either, going the other way...




Oops...




Lago di Rodont, on the way back to the main road.

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Old 11-06-2014, 01:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Backways and gems_Andermatt area_Switzerland

Gotthard Ospizio -> Cascina di Viei (and beyond)

http://goo.gl/maps/bPSVx

The road turns off the new Gotthard road about 3km south (Airolo side) of the Ospizio.
After a little asphalt it's onto fairly good gravel for around 5km, with some short, rougher patches.
Still quite ok a roadbike... big tourers/ heavy bikes might need a well practiced hand, though.

The road runs along the mountain side high above the Nufenen South Ramp.
The map doesn't show the continuation...past point B on the map (which I'd highly recommend as a turn-around/ lunch spot).... things keep going west for about another 3km, getting rougher and narrower gradually until finishing in a steep rubble-chute of huge boulders and foaming waters.

The views, and quiet, are stupendous up there and on a busy day there might be a cow or 2...but what a hell of a place for a lunch stop all to yourself, a sea of peaks all around, the main Alpine ridge on your right, the Nufenen road at your feet.

It's the "upper" road on the opposite hillside in this shot (the lower, wider road is the new Gotthard road from Airolo)




The Tremola...while literally standing on the tunnel-roof of the new Gotthard south ramp.







Things get a bit rougher in patches



Turn-around point up there...the lunchspot "in heaven"



The way back isn't all dull, either ...looking south, Airolo is in the bowl down there.


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Old 11-06-2014, 01:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Backways and gems_Andermatt area_Switzerland

And STILL on the St. Gotthard Pass...


Gotthard Ozpizio to Alpe di Pontino...and the Val Canaria into Airolo



Last of the Gotthard-gems, promise
Another dead-end....sort of.

http://goo.gl/maps/QidDQ

The first part to Alpe di Pontino is a breathtaking, paved single-laner high above Airolo. Right underneath the stacked rows of avalanche fencing, the road just hangs off the mountain-side like a wet rag.
The seal stops 200m short of some farm buildings, but the gravel is smooth to the good-sized turn-around area.
Stumping views and total peace, one of those soul-fodder places. Bring your lunch pack and thermos...








Not much of a proposition for most, I guess...but there's a 3. "Gotthard South Ramp" from right here!
ONLY when dry! The lighter + smaller the bike, the more fun (and the easier) this will be.
Then again, as dirt roads go, things could either be locked away or dual-lane tar nowadays ...this was 2007.

Here's the "shit-my-pants" route in short. (click map and follow to point C http://goo.gl/maps/Xg3pj , then switch to "satellite View" for a visible, but uncharted, continuation of the track).


At the carpark, continue straight on a smooth twin-track gravel to the mountain/ farming huts of Buco di Pontino and Cassinacia.






Past the front doors of the "cow-shed" things turn a bit rougher and sloppier, a short stretch of hoof-trampled slop mixed with fresh cow-pads proves a hell of a skid-pan.

Then it's downhill on narrow, rocky tracks, some washouts/ roots/ potholes/ runnels, past various farm buildings and stables to a T-Junction of a more major gravel road that runs along the Canaria River. Turn west for the 2km into Airolo.

The reward? Views to die for

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