Ski Touring the Sulzfluh Peak, Switzerland

Post by blogger | February 19, 2010      

A few days ago I posted about getting my cuerpo up to the Sulzfluh Hutte in Switzerland, during my European sojourn this past January. The day after, we got beautiful weather for climb and ski of the Sulzfluh peak (2817 meters) above the hut. This was still part of Dynafit’s annual press event. Nice they have an exercise day to work off all the beer and pastries. Check it out.

Prepping for ski touring in Switzerland.

Swiss ski touring preparations involve quality maps and quality consumables.

The way this works is Dynafit hires a few guides, then they divide into different groups with varied goals. I skipped the “freeride” group and went with the summit hounds led by George, the Dynafit product manager and former German ski mountaineering race team member. George is fast, so I was feeling a bit intimidated since around 3,500 vertical is nothing to trifle with on a high peak in the Alps. But hey, I’m pretty fit these days so why not? Besides, as the group filled in it was obvious it wasn’t going to be a race. Ended up being a pleasant pace, though we did do the climb in about 2 1/2 hours so some hard breathing occurred on occasion.

Sulzfluh Switzerland backcountry skiing

Blocky summit of Sulzfluh rises above the hut. The ski route winds to the right, around behind the cliffs.

Start from Sulzfluh Hutte

We actually got started fairly early. I'd like to think that was because the guides were on top of it, but the truth is we had to get back for Dynafit's gear presentation.

Backcountry skiing in Switzerland.

Knocking off the first 1,000 vert or so, looking back at area where the freeride contingent went to enhance their endorphine levels.

Skiing the backcountry in Switzerland.

A peak as steep as Sulzfluh has to have a headwall somewhere. Easy booting, but any higher and it would have been scary as the steps were icy.

Sulzfluh climb.

After we got around the corner the route still looked questionable, but the track kept winding around to the back of the summit, skin climbing the whole way.

Othmar, Sulzfluh.

One of the guys I enjoy seeing every year at this event is Olaf Perwitzschky, who's with Alpin magazine. Every year Olaf does one of the most comprehensive ski reviews you can find, and thus pisses off lots of ski makers.

View from Sulzfluh summit.

View from Sulzfluh summit, the Alps really do look good -- and vast. One cool thing about this summit was that Salewa/Dynafit owner Heiner Oberrauch came along with us -- awesome leadership and demonstration of the hands-on spirit making Salewa and Dynafit so successful these days..

Sulzfluh descent.

The skiing was typical of any midwinter alpine mountain range. You started on some wind influenced snow interspersed with hardpan, then segued into the pow zone. (Apologies if I published this photo a while back, it's cool so it's re-upped.

Backcountry skiing downclimb.

You could ski around the booter, but doing so was so hacked up and icy I didn't bother. It felt good to exercise the climbing muscles.

More skiing.

More skiing.

Refueling at the hut.

After the climb and ski descent, tradition ensued.


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7 Responses to “Ski Touring the Sulzfluh Peak, Switzerland”

  1. dave February 19th, 2010 6:57 pm

    since you apologized for reposting the photo, shall i apologize for asking about the mid-winter group ski in the backcountry again 🙂

  2. Lou February 19th, 2010 8:23 pm

    Dave, in European ski culture, many folks just seem to disregard any sort of effort to go one at a time. I tend to succumb as my style of traveling is to blend with the culture rather than get all uptight. But when things are dangerous I tend to hold back or whatever it takes to informally spread things out. Conditions on Sulzfluh that day were super stable, so it wasn’t that much of an issue. Nonetheless, you might notice I was taking photos of the guys skiing together, not skiing with them…

  3. Mark February 19th, 2010 10:43 pm

    Glad you got to boot pack a bit. I also got to put the skis on the pack recently, and it felt good to get to the goods in a way other than skinning.

  4. Steve February 20th, 2010 8:07 am

    Thank You for posting this! I really like your blog!

  5. Matt Kinney February 20th, 2010 12:41 pm

    Nice TR. That all looks so pleasnt! Those huts and high trail systems are something I hope to enjoy some day.

    Not sure what to think about “gang skinning” . As long as it is banned along with noodling down tracks in AK, things will be ok. :biggrin:

    AK in 100 days … 🙂

  6. Michael Silitch February 21st, 2010 4:47 am

    Hi Lou,

    Can you say hi to George (sheorsch) for me? I saw him at ISPO and we talked about getting a touring training center activity developed in Chamonix.

    Have fun and swing by Cham if you can.

    Best, Michael

  7. chrisbryon April 30th, 2010 2:44 am

    Nice Photographs….. i think you enjoyed a lot….

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