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REGISTRATION & PAYMENT REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page. This is a paid event with payment managed by the trip leader(s) and NOT the AOC. Please read the event description carefully for payment details and instructions.

Crossing the Alps from Switzerland to Italy

The Basics:
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: Switzerland and Italy
Date(s) & Time:Fri, Aug 6 2010  4:00 pm >> N/A
Registration Opens: Tue, Feb 9 2010 8:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Mon, Apr 26 2010 8:00 pm
Event Duration:Ten days
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult
Trip Leader(s):
Richard A. Zalik
Email Trip Leader(s)
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Member Cost:$1,100.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:14
Minimum Group Size:8
Number Registered So Far: 10 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


The Sbrinz Route:


Before the completion of the Gotthard railway tunnel through the Alps in the 1880s, north-south trade was conducted by men called sumpters, who for centuries crossed alpine passes, braving the elements, banditry, extortionate tolls and disease.

Volumes have been written about the trade conducted over the Gotthard route, as well as the Simplon and Great St Bernard passes, but little about the ancient Sbrinz route, which was already in use in Roman times.

On this route, men were hired to transport salt and hard Sbrinz cheese from central Switzerland to Val Formazza in Italy, which meant crossing three passes – the Brünig, Grimsel and Gries.

Once a sought-after product in northern Italy Sbrinz cheese has suffered in recent decades. A small percentage of what is produced is still exported to Italy, but even the Swiss prefer the Italian equivalent, Parmesan.

We will walk 61 miles on the  Sbrinz route from Wolfenschiessen, which is near Lucerne in Central Switzerland , all the way to Ponte in Northern Italy, crossing the Alps along the way. We will sleep in two or three star hotels. Our suitcases will be trucked from hotel to hotel and we will carry only a daypack. The  trail reaches a maximum altitude of a little over 8,300 ft. 


Day One (Friday).
Leave Atlanta (ATL)  in the afternoon or evening. Arrive in Zurich (ZRH), Switzerland the following morning.

Day Two. 
Take train from Zurich Airport to Stans, changing trains in Lucerne. Check in at the hotel. In the evening meet the local coordinator for a welcome drink.

Day Three.
We take a short train ride to Wolfenschiessen, where we begin our walk.
Itinerary: Wolfenschiessen - Grafenort - Engelberg.
Walikng time: 3.5 hours.
Walking Distance: 13 Km.
Elevation:Wolfenschiessen 510 m, Grafenort 569 m,  Engelberg, 1004 m.
ay Four
Itinerary: Engelberg – Untertrübsee – Trübsee – Jochpass – Engstlenalp
Walking Time: 7 hours.
Walking Distance: 12 Km.
Elevation: Engelberg, 1004 m, Jochpass 2207 m, Engstlenalp 1834 m.

Day Five
Itinerary:Engstlenalp – Innertkirchen
Walking Time: 4.5 hours.
Walking Distance: 13 Km.
Elevation: Engstlenalp 1834 m, Innertkirchen 625


Day Six. 
Itinerary:  Innertkirchen – Guttannen -Handegg  (Handeck)
Walking Time: Six hours.
Walking Distance: 15 Km.
Elevation: Innertkirchen 625 m, Handegg 1401 m.

Day Seven.
Itinerary: Handegg – Grimselpass – Obergesteln.
Walking Time: Seven Hours.
Walking Distance: 17 Km.
Elevation: Handegg 1401 m,  Grimselpass 2165 m, Obergesteln 1355 m.

Day Eight. 
Itinerary: Obergesteln – Griespass – Riale (Italy).
Walking Time: 7.5 hours.
Walking Distance: 20 Km.
Elevation: Obergesteln1355 m, Griespass  2479 m, Riale 1728 m.
(I could not take pictures at the top of the pass because of bad weather).

Day Nine. 
Itinerary: Riale to Ponte.
Walking Time: 2.5 hours.
Walking Distance: 7 Km.
Elevation: Riale 1728 m, Ponte  1280 m.
From Ponte we will go by bus back to Zurich. Overnight in Zurich, in a hotel within walking distance of the train station.

Day Ten (Sunday).
In the morning we take a local train for a short ride to the airport. We arrive in Atlanta in the evening.

NOTE: We will schedule several meetings to answer questions and organize ourselves for this great adventure.


Required Items to Bring:
US Citizens only need a valid passport with an expiration date at least six months beyond the end of the trip
Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
- Hiking boots
 - Sandals
- Sun hat
- Several changes of clothing
- Rain gear
- Gloves
- Extra socks
- Toiletries
- Sunglasses
- Sunscreen
- Insect repellent and after bite medication
- Lip balm
- Personal First-aid kit
- Head lamp and batteries
- Water bottle
- Camera
- Binoculars
- Trekking poles.
- Toilet paper

Payment Schedule: A check for $1100.00 must be received by the organizer by the cut off date. Please make the check out to Richard Zalik and mail it to P.O. Box 29732, Atlanta GA 30359.

Registration Requirements: We are seeking persons who are able to meet the physical challenges and enjoy the fellowship of other hikers. If you are not an AOC Volunteer, a recommendation by an AOC Volunteer is expected. Along with your check please send the following information: Your name as it appears in your passport, your country of citizenship. and your address.

We will sleep in three star hotels or, where none are available, in two star hotels. The rooms have two, three or four beds. Please indicate your sleeping preferences. We will do our best to accomodate you. Most rooms have private bathrooms.

There will be a standard menu, the same for everybody. If you have any dietary restrictions (e.g. no pork, vegan, etc) please let me know. I may be able to arrange for special meals for a small additional fee.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cost & Payment:
Member Cost:$1,100.00/Person
Non-Member Cost:$1,100.00/Person
Cost Includes:Lodging in hotels for days two through eight.
Welcome drink on Day 2.
Breakfast, picnic lunch, and dinner for days three through eight, and breakfast fon Day 9.
Transportation of luggage between hotels. Maximum weight allowed: 20 kg (44 lbs) per person. 

Cost does NOT include: 
Airfare Atlanta Zurich, Milan-Atlanta  ($1400-$1900)
Meals on days one, two, nine and ten (except for breakfast on Day 9).
Train tickets in Switzerland (around 30 Swiss Francs).
Hotel in Zurich (around $100 per person in a double occupancy room).
Make a Payment:Although there is a cost for this event, you do not pay through the AOC. Please review the event details carefully for information about how/where to make your payment.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.
*Note: If you cancel before the money has been wired to the local (Swiss) coordinator your
payment will be refunded in full. Otherwise no refund is possible. However, it is possible to replace one participant for another. The deadline for replacing participants is one week before departure from Atlanta. To implement the change both the old and the new participant must send me an email confirming the change, which I must approve. The new participant must also furnish the required personal information.