On a summer road trip around Switzerland, we headed up the Fuorn (Ofen) pass in Graubunden. At 2149 m it’s a high mountain pass in the eastern alps of Switzerland that takes you away from the Engadin valley of St. Moritz and into a very remote corner of Switzerland: Val Mustair. We’d never been here before so we knew we had an exciting day ahead.
Time: 1 h 30 min
Distance: ~ 3 km
Altitude: ~ 275 m ↑ 275 m ↓
Although it was technically summer, we found ourselves driving through snow on the way through Graubunden the day before. This meant that all the peaks and mountains around us were covered in a dusting of snow. Imagine giant heaps up Stracciatella ice cream all around you 😍. Anyway, as we often do with passes, we got out at the top and had a look around. Only this time, this was more than just a little gander. We were aiming for a peaklet, about 240 meters up from the pass: Il Jalet.
This is a T3 path which for experienced hikers is fine but those without much hiking experience may find it relatively steep in places. Still the peril is short-lived and we found the 1.5 hour round trip fun. Il Jalet is a loop hike, so approaching it from the car park we headed up it in a clockwise fashion. This makes the hike slightly easier as it gets rid of the steep sections on the way up rather than down.
The path starts off gently up a field. At 2000 meters there weren’t many trees around. Instead, there was just loads what I call prickly bush dotted around. At some point the path forked. Right (anti-clockwise) took you on up relatively gently or whereas left (clockwise) took you up the scree and looked a bit trickier. We opted for the scree path that skirts around the edge of a small cliff. There’s a chain for safety and the path is decent so with one foot in front of the other it was not too difficult to get around, though it wouldn’t be too fun for anyone with vertigo!
In no time the path was normal again and we came to a fork in the road. From here keen hikers that want to make a day trip of it all could consider hiking up Piz Daint. With the weather not cooperating and our hearts not really in place for something big we continued up to our planned peak: Il Jalet.
The final ascent is a little tricky in places as you need to briefly scramble on the rock, but it felt easier than the gravelly path further down.. Once you’re at the top, the view is magnificent! There are mountains in all directions and some impressive rock formations to admire.
I can’t remember meeting many people up this peak – perhaps just 1 or 2. It may be more popular on a warm summer day but then again it is in quite an obscure part of Switzerland. So if you’re after something a bit far away from the tourists with a little bit of adventure then this could be a good option. Plus, the journey to get here (easiest by car) is worth it alone!
The way back down from the peak was simpler, as we took the ‘easier’ and flatter route down. In no time we were back on the flatter portions and heading back down to the car!
So there you have it. A nice little hike near the Fuorn Pass on a not so warm summer day! I was in my fluffy winter jacket, with a scarf and hat for most of the hike :D. I guess that’s mountain weather for you!
From the Fuorn Pass, we continued our way down into Val Mustair which had blue skies and an Italian vibe hidden in this far-flung corner of Switerland! All those layers of warmth came straight off as we wandered through the quaint town of Santa Maria soaking up some sun.
Since we were here, we looked into driving up the Umbrail Pass which at 2501 meters is one of Switzerland’s and Europe’s highest car passes that straddles the Italian-Swiss border. Alas though, it was closed, probably still covered in snow! But still here’s a tip: if you do make it up the Umbrail pass then it’s just a few minutes further up to the Stelvio pass at 2757 meters in Italy! There’s a small peak by the Stelvio Pass as well, again on the Italian-Swiss border – the ‘peak of the three languages’ (Piz de las Trais Linguas) at 2843 meters. This one’s a relatively short and easy walk – almost just a stroll compared to Il Jalet. Oh, and by the way – we think the three languages are Italian, Romansch and German!
Anyways doing both Il Jalet and Piz de las Trais Linguas might make for a quite a long day but if you’re nearby and exploring Switzerland then Il Jalet is well worth checking out! Happy hiking and on this occasion happy driving too!
Practical Information for this Hike
|Start & End||Süsom Givè (Passhöhe) – Car Park/Bus Stop|
|End||Same – Loop Hike|
|Difficulty||T3 (not suitable for anyone with serious vertigo)|
|Altitude||275 m ↑ 275 m ↓|
|Season||Summer (Jun – Oct)|
|High point||Il Jalet 2390m|
|Public Transport||To Susom Give Bus Stop: 1h 15 min from Chur, 3h 10 min from Zurich|
|Parking||There is public parking at the near the bus stop. GPS: 46.639646276227694, 10.292890625267923|
|Highlights||Mountain pass: Ofenpass|