The historic ski tour between Andermatt and Engelberg leads through a very lonely landscape. A touch of adventurous spirit surrounds the grandiose stages from hut to hut and peak to peak.
The skitouring peaks of Urseren-, Meiental or Steingletscher have been skied for decades. In the early 1980s, however, it was young mountain guides from Uri who lined up the peaks to form a coherent tour. The Urner Haute Route was born.
Since the mid-1980s, the Haute Route has been an integral part of the programme of the Bergschule Uri, now the Mammut Alpine School. An entry in the tour book of our technical director and mountain guide Markus Wey from April 1990 bears witness to this:
Von Andermatt nach Engelberg
Mit Elfen (?) ist ein grosses Werk
Und dann sogar am Sustenpass
Macht’s mit (Mar)-Küssen mächtig Spass
Doch dies war nicht ihr Werk am Berg
As fantastic the tour, as beautiful the limerick of the guests of that time. What elves and their work on the mountain are all about would have to be found out on a tour with Markus.
Florian Tresch, Mountain Guide
Flo, you grew up in the canton of Uri, have known the mountains here since childhood, now live with your family in Andermatt and guide guests as a mountain guide over the Urner Haute Route, for example. What kind of fascination does this Haute Route hold for you?
The northern descents from the peaks of the Urner Haute Route have always been a highlight for us, almost a myth, you could say! The route itself was rarely climbed for a long time. The tour is definitely a kind of hidden pearl among the Haute Routes, an insider's tip for a solitary adventure on touring skis in the midst of a grandiose, high-alpine mountain world with great, challenging descents.
What do you think about when you throw your rucksack over your shoulder in Realp and get into the binding?
Of course, as with every tour, good preparation is essential. On the Urner Haute Route, I go through some specific key sections in my mind a few times. For example, the ascent to the Lochberg on the second day. It's steep, the skis are strapped to the backpack and we climb the summit partly on the rope. The conditions have to be 100% right, just like on the descent down into the Göschneralp valley. But the Uri Haute Route is demanding overall, the ascents are challenging as are the descents. So of course I plan day by day. And often a phone call the night before to the next hut helps to better assess the conditions in the next valley.
When you're sitting on the terrace of a pub in Engelberg after a tour and the adrenaline from the 1800-metre descent from the Grassen is still pumping through your veins, what goes through your mind?
Skiing couldn't be more beautiful than in the Swiss mountains. And the Urner Haute Route is really amazing in that respect. If you get it right here, it's more beautiful than a dream! And the fact that I can share this with guests makes me very grateful, it's a fantastic job I get to do!
And finally, would you rather set off again straight away from Engelberg backwards to Realp or would you rather start again from the beginning from Andermatt to Engelberg?
... I'd rather start from Andermatt again, but yes, backwards wouldn't be completely out of the question. At least if you like long, steep climbs. And after all, the descents could also be quite good in firn. Perhaps this should be included in the programme, with a discount for those who come back straight away 😉