Guarda

Above Guarda

Route: Above Guarda

Area: Switzerland

Date of walk: 15th January 2019

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 2.0 miles

Ascent: 500 feet

Weather: Sunny with deep blue skies

Our arrival in Guarda yesterday coincided with the heaviest snow the area has experienced for 20 years. All walking paths were closed yesterday due to a high avalanche risk, and a further 6 inches of snow overnight didn’t improve the situation

Our base for this week’s walking holiday is the excellent Hotel Meisser which has been owned by the Meisser family for 125 years. Fortunately for us the current owner Benno knows the area intimately and offered to take us on a guided walk, along with 4 other guests. Without Benno’s knowledge and expertise, a walk would not otherwise have been possible, so we were very grateful for the offer

Before we set off, avalanche transceivers were strapped to us as a precautionary measure and we donned snowshoes – a first for us. We could hear the booming noise of distant avalanches as we were kitting up

We set off up the mountainside, with Benno in the lead, doing the donkey work of cutting steps through the deep virgin snow. Gilly cunningly lingered at the back of the group, as walking in snowshoes becomes progressively easier the further behind you are in the group

We made our way up to a protected forest, where it was a thrill to briefly glimpse an eagle soaring overhead, and to hear the barking of deer further up the mountainside. After walking along the lower part of the forest towards its edge, Benno decided that he didn’t like the look of the slopes ahead, where an absence of trees posed a potential avalanche risk. We therefore descended back towards Guarda, keeping the trees behind us as protection

Lower down we joined an easy path, and from here it was a short stroll back into the village. It was a short but very sweet walk, with beautiful scenery every step of the way – thanks again Benno for making it possible!

The maps page shows the location of Guarda, but I’ve not reproduced our track since much of it was off piste and it is not a route to be followed in normal circumstances

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