|Zermatt is one
Alp resorts. It has a few thousand permanent inhabitants, and some 25
tourist beds. It is a major ski resort. In summer Zermatt offers
big wall climbing, on mountains as Matterhorn, Weisshorn, Zinal
Rothorn and Monte
Rosa. Summertime thousands of people rush through coming up to see
the Matterhorn for the day from Täsch, where they leave their cars
as petrol cars are banned from Zermatt.
The meeting point
for English speaking ski
bums and mountain
bikers is the North Wall Bar in Hotel Rhodania. A friendly place where
it is cheap to drink.
The camping place
is full of climbers in small
is rather sociable.
Local bike shops
are used to mountain bikers
and can fix
A lot of the
locals are into mountain biking.
authorities have designated a number of dirt roads up in the
hills as mountain bike courses. Basically, these are the roads that are
used by jeeps, and various vehicles that move on snow, to bring
up to the numerous mountain resturants and to groom the ski slopes.
roads are Swiss counterparts to the American fire roads. Views are
Zermatt is no doubt one of the most beautiful places in the Alps.
they involve little technical riding. Essentially one ascends hundreds
of meters on dirt road, and the only difficulty is keeping the traction
on some sections with lose gravel. In descent one breakes till the
ache. With a full suspension bike, down hill armory, and a pass for the
lifts it may be a completely different thing and great fun. There is
some single track, but one has to be extremely cautious, as there are a
lot of hikers and the paths are narrow, steep, exposed and not
with mountain biking in mind. The best single track is not — as one may
think — above Zermatt, it is below in the long valley down to Visp.
To go up to the
Schwarz-See at the foot of Matterhorn
is almost compulsory. So we did it. Technically, it is uninteresting,
a few steep sections are a little bit demanding, though the length of
ascent is strenuous, and that goes for the descent too as one is
breaking. However, the views are very rewarding. One heads out of
via Vinkelmatten, to Furi and then on through the Schmutt Valley to
Alp where one begins the last section of the ascent on the northern
of the Hörnli Ridge. The route is clearly marked. One can not miss
it. Disappointingly, it is road all the way, some parts are paved, some
consist of lose gravel.
We spent the better
part of a day to go up to
having a nice outing, but it can surely be done much faster. Local well
acclimatised riders spend only a few hours going up and down.
The by far finest
tour we did above Zermatt was the
track to Täsch Alp, a pastoral side valley above Täsch.
One heads out of
Zermatt on the east side of town
sign posts for Tuftern and Sonnegga. Soon one is on a road that goes in
large switch backs up to Tuftern. At a small mountain resturant one
left, following signs for Täsch Alp. Now, one follows a lovely
track that goes on a high traverse way above the valley all the way on
the slopes of Rothorn to Täsch Alp. It is at some points
technical, and at one short section one has to carry the bikes 20
There are two forks on the path. One path goes off up across a pass on
the ridge of Rothorn. It is not bikeable, further on a second path goes
down to Täsch. Apparently, there is also some nice single track
reportedly one heads back towards Zermatt on lower pathes at least part
of the way.
The trail to
Täsch Alp is great fun, and views are
However, a note of caution. It is also a very popular hiking trail and
should be completely avoided when it is crowded with hikers, e.g.,
in July and August.
— Brigg via
The by far best ride
we had in Zeramatt was with our
Chris and Anna, who rode the legendary route down to Brigg with us,
the Gebidumpass. Chris who is local mountain biker showed the way. Most
of it is real singletrack and there are various interesting technical
Not least long stretches of tight switch backs. Without guide maps
be necessary: Landeskarte 1:50 000 Visp, and 1:100 000 Oberwallis.
is also a simple sketch map at the Brigg
page that shows the lower part of the route.
One begins in Zermatt
following the paved road down
Täsch, just before the village one head over to the left (W) bank
of the river and rides on walking paths. Some sections are quite
drops and roots.
The track stays on
the left bank till Randa, where
crosses a bridge and follows the old disused motor road, then returns
the left side of the river down to St Nikolaus.
Beyond St Nikolaus
one is again on the right side of
following the main road for approximately 2 kilometres. Here it is
to find a path that takes of left down the slope from the main road. It
loses altitude rapidly in a fine set of switch backs. Lower down it is
all fine single track to Kalpetran. One crosses the bridge to
and then ascends a slope on a steep ascent above the village. Beyond
path levels out and goes on a ledge like traverse, winding in and out
the valley on an even altitude to Stalden.
|In Stalden one takes the cable car, in two steps, to
Having come down from Zermatt att 1600 metres, one has lost 800
metres. The ride with the cable car brings one up to 1893 metres. The
is smooth and beautiful, as Stalden is on the west side of the valley
Gspon on the east it sails right across.
|In Gspon one begins a
new ascent, for Gebidumpass. The
climbs up through a high alpine forest traversing the slope in a north
eastern direction. Sign posts show the way. There are a couple of minor
saddles before on reaches Gebidumpass. The highest point of the ride at
2201 metres. From here on it is pure descent dropping 1500 metres
down to Brigg.
The first bit is fire
road, down to the floor of the
Nanxtal. Then, one follows an ancient road down the valley. Although it
in some distant historic past was a major road it is now over grown and
at points slightly technical, with some really good switch backs.
At a point marked as
Eschl on the map one comes on a
road. The rest is straight forward down to Brigg. The return trip to
is some 40 km or one can take the train. The ride from Zermatt to Brigg
is a full day´s trip.