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Stage 14 - Gsteig - Les Mosses

profile of the hike
3D plot of the hike over the Col des Andérets

Summary

This is the fourteenth stage of the Alpine Pass Route, crossing from Gsteig over the Col des Andérets to Les Mosses. The initial climb from Gsteig up towards the Blattipass is rather steep, clearing the minor ridge before heading up to Voré and spectacular views of the Les Diablerets peaks. Once over the Col des Andérets, there follows a long and scenic descent round the side of the valley and dropping to the open and somewhat characterless Les Mosses. Les Mosses is also called Col des Mosses, although it forms the 'valley' of our route rather than a summit.

The transition from German-speaking Switzerland to French-speaking Switzerland is obvious in the place names along the route of this stage, from Gsteig and the Blattipass to Voré and the Col des Andérets - although there can be no hard and fixed border,

Done in a single day, this is a long hike although none of it is difficult. Given the long journey times to Gsteig, for those rejoining the APR in this section, breaking up this stage into two days would be convenient, but the only opportunity to stop for the night along this route appears to be the Restaurant Isenau which is at the time of writing closed until the Winter season.

Getting there and back

Gsteig has bus connections to Gstaad, and Les Mosses has buses to Chateau d'Oex. Both Gstaad and Chateau d'Oex give train connections to Montreux and Zweisimmen, with the 'Golden Pass Panoramic' trains.

From Zürich, these are long journeys - to get to Gsteig you need to change trains at Bern, and Spiez, and Zweisimmen, and Gstaad, before getting the bus up the side valley, and it's a similar story to get back from Les Mosses. The total trip to or from Zürich takes around 4 hours and CHF 39 (assuming half-price card).

Accommodation

For Gsteig and Les Mosses see gstaad.ch and lesmosses.ch, or see swiss-riviera.com for Isenau, Les Diablerets and Les Mosses. In Gsteig, the Hotel Bären has a nice site, and a friendly welcome. Along the route, the only option is the Restaurant/Pension Isenau, roughly half-way, which is currently closed.

The walk

Gsteig - Blattipass - Seeberg - Voré - Col des Andérets - Isenau - Meitreile - Marnex - La Lé - Chersaule - Oudioux - Les Mosses

Day 18: Gsteig - Les Mosses

Hike time:

8 hours

Approx dist:

23 km

Start:

Gsteig bus station

Finish:

Les Mosses bus station

Profile:

from 1180m up to 2030m and down to 1440m
up:1220m, down:960m

Rating:

easy-medium but fairly long

From the bus stop in Gsteig, walk a short way back Northwards to the Hotel Viktoria on the main road. Just before you get to the hotel, a signpost leads leftwards up a narrow road, marked for Vorder Walig, Arnensee and Seeberg. Take this road, which becomes a track, which becomes a path, which becomes a steep path, chugging up the side of the valley. There are good views back towards Gsteig and the previous day's Krinnenpass from here.

Climb from Gsteig

Track rising up from Gsteig

Autumn colours

Autumn colours on the climb

Krinnenpass

Looking back to the Krinnenpass

Down valley

View back down the valley to Gstaad

The steep climb through the Autumnal foliage brings you to a barn and drinking trough, where a cunningly-hidden signpost (hint: go up between the buildings) leads up a track to the left.

Following the occasional markings, climb up out of the trees and up to Vorder Walig, after around 1h20 from Gsteig, with views back down the valley towards Gstaad.

Track towards Blattipass

Track rising gently to the Blattipass

View back

Snow-covered peaks in the distance

view back from pass

View back from the Blattipass

Beyond the pass

The other side of the Blattipass

A path and then track lead round the corner offering views of the massive sculpted peaks to the South, dramatically covered in snow. Here the gradient eases as the broad track leads more gently uphill towards the now obvious, grassy-covered saddle of the Blattipass ahead.

Curving round through Topfelsberg, the path climbs again up to the Blattipass, reached after around 40 minutes from Vorder Walig. This ridgetop, topped with a stone wall, gives plenty of open views back on the Gsteig side, and a rather tree-covered outlook on the other side to the North.

Arnensee

Arnensee

Path to Voré

Path leading to Voré

Panorama from Voré

Les Diablerets from Voré

Take the signposted path towards Seeberg round to the left. The open path drops down across the scrubby, heather-covered slopes and the small lake of Arnensee gradually appears below.

After dropping to Seeberg, after around 40mins, the path cuts back uphill to the left, signposted for Voré and climbs away from the lake and over a slight ridge.

After clearing the ridge, the path makes a beeline across the grass to Voré, with the dramatic peaks of Les Diablerets directly ahead. From Voré itself, after 40mins, the panorama opens out to reveal the snow-draped bowl and forbidding rocks of Les Diablerets straight ahead, on the other side of a steep valley, with impossibly long cable car wires scaling the heights from the valley floor

Turn right here, taking the signposted path towards Col des Andérets. The path climbs further to the deserted Chalet Vieux and continues on the winding track round to the right. Shortly the Arnensee returns into view, and the track climbs steadily up to the grassy Col des Andérets after 20mins. From here you get the last views back towards the Blattipass and the Trütlisbergpass beyond, before heading over the pass.

Panorama from Isenau

Les Diablerets from Isenau

Isenau

Looking back to Isenau and the col

Marnex

Marnex and looming peaks

Les Diablerets

Les Diablerets village far below

When is a pass not a pass? When it's a col, of course, and from here onwards all the place names sound distinctly un-German. You may get greeted with a "bonjour" on any part of the Alpine Pass Route, but today more than ever.

From the Col des Andérets, take the track down the far side, signposted for Isenau. This track drops through Chalet d'Isenau and La Marnèche (with some shortcuts possible between the drag lifts), and continues down a short distance further to Isenau after another 40mins, where the aforementioned (and closed) restaurant/pension Isenau is clearly signposted.

From Isenau, you can see a path sidling around the right-hand side of the bowl ahead, and this is our route ahead. So instead of following the road down to the valley floor, take the path to the right, dropping across the rough grass to the track, following this across a stream and then climbing once again around the side of the valley.

As the path undulates along through Meitreile and Marnex, there are great open views across the wide valley, with the village of Les Diablerets far below and the whole mountainous mass looming above.

Les Mosses from Oudioux

Les Mosses from Oudioux

Les Mosses

Les Mosses

One last small climb brings you to Oudioux, around 2 hours from Isenau, from where you can get the first glimpses of Les Mosses, through the trees, round to the right, and still a fair way below. From here it's a straightforward, very gradual descent along the side of the valley for around 50mins down to the main road at Col des Mosses (which doesn't, however, really count as a pass crossed on this Alpine Pass Route, because we've descended to it and are going to climb back out of it! The path drops you down into Les Mosses by the bus stop and tourist office - the Restaurant Les Fontaines and the Hotel du Chaussy are a short distance to the left along the main road.

For the next, and final stage of the Alpine Pass Route over the Col de Chaude to Montreux, see Les Mosses to Montreux.

The waypoints

The following are the coordinates for waypoints along this route, obtained from GPS. They can be used either in another GPS, or along with a map, to provide additional references if necessary.

                           Latitude       Longitude    Altitude(m)
       Gsteig bus stop    N 46°23'11.8    E007°16'03.1    1180
       Vorder Walig       N 46°23'20.1    E007°15'06.5    1716
       Topfelsberg        N 46°23'16.5    E007°14'22.8    1814
       Blattipass         N 46°23'08.7    E007°14'03.8    1900
       Ober Stuedeli      N 46°23'02.1    E007°13'38.1    1835
       Seeberg            N 46°22'44.4    E007°12'50.7    1712
       Voré               N 46°22'03.5    E007°12'40.0    1917
       Chalet Vieux       N 46°22'08.2    E007°12'27.6    1950
       Col des Andérets   N 46°22'25.9    E007°11'58.8    2034
       Chalet d'Isneau    N 46°22'08.5    E007°11'30.3    1855
       La Marnèche        N 46°21'50.5    E007°11'13.7    1802
       Isenau             N 46°21'52.5    E007°10'57.9    1762
       La Crua            N 46°22'00.6    E007°10'49.0    1685
       Meitreile          N 46°22'03.5    E007°09'51.6    1803
       Marnex             N 46°22'05.7    E007°09'14.5    1738
       La Dix             N 46°22'11.8    E007°08'48.0    1741
       La Lé              N 46°22'16.6    E007°07'58.4    1798
       Chersaule          N 46°22'05.4    E007°06'19.4    1655
       Oudioux            N 46°22'17.8    E007°05'47.7    1700
       Les Mosses         N 46°23'46.9    E007°06'07.9    1438

More info

The best map of the area is at alpineskimaps.com or diablerets.ch. For local info see gstaad.ch and lesmosses.ch. The panorama at skigstaad.ch shows a broad overview of this pass and the neighbouring ones. The ski map at tele-villars-gryon.ch shows the section through Isenau and the view across to Les Diablerets.