This weekend I had big plans - hike into a valley behind Overalppass, over a 2400m+ pass, camp in the valley and then out over 2700 Stella pass to Gotthard pass. This was also a perfect weekend for that, warm and sunny. What I totally forgot is the big storm that came Wed - Fri. This storm apparently dumped tonne of snow in the mountains - in middle of July! This became clear as soon as the train stopped at Oberalppass. The snow was visible right at the bottom. This totally made me anxious. We were at about 2000m, and we had planned to go up to 2700m with full 20lb packs. How is that going to happen. At the trail there was a huge map showing the Vier Quelle trail. Unfortunately there was no mention of Tomasee which was our first stop. There were a bunch of people going on this trail, so we started on it too. The trail instantly started climbing steeply and had snow from the start. This was all wrong, the trail was suppose to be flat, slightly downhill for first 2km. Of course I had not noticed that.
This trail was steep, and snow was making it tricky. At least in the morning the snow was hard and it was easy to follow footsteps made by previous hikers. At places the trail was so steep and tricky, I was totally dreading coming down it. When dry it would be fun, but in slushy snow of afternoon it looked very dangerous. I will worry about it on the way down. Up and up we went on this steep trail. On the way we met 2 women coming down, so I asked them about the trail to the lake. They gave us the bad news I was dreading, they had to turn back because the trail was too unsafe at top. Oh well, at least we had to go up to the pass. So up we went. The pass came, and it was 2580m! what! On the day when there was snow everywhere, we climbed extra 200m. It was clear that no one is going to 2700m stella pass. This trail was also going further up to a peak, and then it would drop down to the lake. It would have made a wonderful trail when snowfree, but at this time, the snowy ridge was looking quite unsafe. There was very high chance we would be forced to turn back before the lake.
So now there was difficult decision, keep going up till we can, and hope we reach the lake, or turn back. The only good news of the day was there looked like a long and easy trail down to Naschten train station.
Some people had gone down that trail already, though it was looking quite unused. It was very tempting to go down this trail and put and end to the snowy misery of the day. It was also looking too cold to camp. Decision made, we were free to look at the view. The view was indeed amazing, almost 360. The mountains around were all covered in snow now again. I still could not believe we found so much snow on the trail in middle of July, I was still in shock. We clicked some pictures and then started down. The trail was somewhat clear. Snow had become all slushy at this point and we were sliding all over. Luckily the trail was not very steep and it did not get dangerous at any point. Relaxed, we decided to take a break to eat lunch and enjoy the view. Did I mention it was just amazing. It was long way down, and on the way we kept making plans on how we can still salvage our camping plan and cram in another hike in tomorrow's wonderfully sunny day. Once the snow was over, there was one waterfall to cross. There was lot of water at this point, so I had to remove my shoes and walk though it, reminded me of Iceland.
Finally down to Naschten station, none of our camping plans were working out. So in the end back home, somewhat disappointed, but still feeling like there was not much more we could have done. In the end it was a great day hike, and if we had not had to cancel the camping plan we would have been very happy with the day hike.