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[…] A continuing series on mountain climbing adventures - the goal: one peak a weekend. See part 1 […]
I’ve decided to spend the summer here in Switzerland with a bit of an organized regimen, and this time it’s going to be tackling mountains around Switzerland. Today, I made my way to Mt. Rigi, in the canton of Schwyz.
Altitude: 1,798 m
Weather: No clouds but slightly hazy
Path to get there: Zurich HB to Arth-Goldau, cogwheel up to Rigi Kulm, hike around the top, then cogwheel to Vitznau, boat to Lucern, train to Zurich HB.
Cost: 65.40 CHF with 1/2 Halbtax card
Level of difficulty: 1
Recommendability: Good for people with kids or older folks. A little too easy of an ascent, but plenty of opportunities to explore once you’re at the top.
Left Zurich HB on the 7:01 train having purchased the 1/2 Halbtax card which lets me travel on Switzerland’s rail network for half price. The ticket itself was a combo pass called RailAway, which included all the train, cogwheel and boat fares. It seemed simple enough, and I figured if I wanted to walk I could just get off where I wanted to. The Halbtax card is pretty sweet deal given the price (175 CHF), because all you really need to do is pay a total 175 CHF in fares to get your money back, and that’s pretty easy to do in Switzerland.
The train got into to Arth-Goldau at around 7:50, where I spotted a lot of hikers switching trains (where were they going, I wonder?) but I just meandered towards the cogwheel train about 300m away from the station. The cogwheel slowly inched its way up the mountain, and I got off one stop from the top to get some exercise in (around 8:30). The hike to the top from there was about half an hour, but there were additional trails behind the massive hotel. I switched over to another small peak just across from Rigi, where I was able to get a really neat view of the valley below. What’s neat is that you see two lakes - the Zug lake and the Lucerne lake - as well as the beginnings of the Swiss Alps. After ample photography time I headed towards Staffelhöhe station, a couple of stops down on the other side of the mountain. The crowds started arriving pretty significantly at around 11:30am, but by that time I had explored a satisfying amount of the mountain.
The plan was that I would head down the opposite side and connect to a boat at Vitznau, but I realized I wouldn’t have a good chance at sitting near a good place to take photos if I boarded at Staffelhöhe, so I jumped on a train going up and turned around at the peak, where there were several trains waiting to depart.
At Vitznau there was a boat that arrived to take us to Lucerne by way of Weggis, and it was a smooth, rapid and uneventful ride. I was pretty much ready to call it quits when I arrived in Lucerne at around 2pm, so I didn’t get much touristing done, though with the amount of tourists there I’m glad I made that decision. I did grab a couple shots of the old covered bridge, the Kapellbrücke.