Brigels - Kistenstöckli
High plateaus, peaks, and ridges - all connected by soft, idyllic singletrack
We had never heard of either Brigels or the Kistenstöckli. Neither seem to be on any "Best of" lists that we know of. But now, they are.
In our opinion, the Brigels - Kistenstöckli trail run is one of the best we've done in the Alps. It came out of nowhere, a masterpiece, and it's a great reason to visit somewhere off the beaten trail in the Alps.
Like so many starting points in the Graubünden region, the fun kicks-off from a small village. For this one, quiet Brigels. A 10 minute drive above town leads you to roadside parking (starting coordinates below) at 1700 meters. From there, the trail descends about 200 meters to a river at the canyon bottom. Without a car, it is possible to start in Brigels and follow the road along the river from the north side of the village.
Either way, you'll hit Chischarolas and from there you'll start heading up canyon for about a kilometer until a trail leads up and right to Rubi Sura.
After 550 meters of climbing, you'll reach a small hut with a fountain where the trail levels off and you'll begin a rising traverse. At point 2416 meters, the trail splits. West leads to the Bifertenhütte, and straight, (north) to the Kistenpass. Head for the Kistenpass and point 2640 meters where three trails meet at a large signpost. Go up, following the blue and white markers to point 2896 meters. This route is mostly soft scree but does have a section of steeper rock with chains and some exposure.
At 2896, you are on the fairly smooth ridge line that leads to the Muttenstock. After about 500 meters heading north on the ridge, a trail descends steeply off to the west. Here, you'll begin to appreciate the unique terrain of this ridge line as the trail is soft and runnable. After 200 meters of downhill fun, you'll intersect a traversing trail and, surprise, a hut set into the rock. The Kistenpasshütte is entirely hidden until you are right on top of it.
Now, enjoy cruiser running all the way to the Bifertenhütte which sits beneath your next objective, the Kistenstöckli. Just past the hut, the trail splits again. Head right (north), on the absurdly steep direct line for the west edge of the Kistenstöckli. The other trail is your descent.
Once you've huffed and puffed your way to the base of the steep rock wall, climb chains and steep steps on the north side of the peak to the cairn covered summit. In reverse, once you are off the peak's steep section, you'll descend further west on trails to a wide open, flat plateau that heads in the direction of the Bifertenstock. But, after a few minutes from the Kistenstöckli you'll see another trail that'll force a U turn and a more gradual angled trail right back to the Bifertenhütte, where you'll be ready for something to eat and drink.
At this point, you'll realize something. Besides a couple of really steep sections of dirt and rock, you have been running almost the entire tour on perfect singletrack through a remarkable landscape of glacier views and limestone walls. And potentially you've seen almost no one and enjoyed Graubünden's magical silence.
After leaving the hut, you have nothing but running all the way out. When you reach Rubi Sura, follow signs for Alp Quader, the trail that continues traversing from the small Rubi Sura Hut, not the steep trail down to the canyon that you came up on. From Alp Quader, follow the paved road back to the start.
Detailed GPX Track
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Start: 46.785400, 9.070880
- Carry a bit less food & water and use the hut as an aid station.
- The directions are a bit long and confusing, follow the GPX track.
Just pass the Rubi Sura with views into the wild Val Frisal
Heading up peak number one on the Muttenberg ridge line
A short section of chains through a steep step of rock
The high Muttenberg ridge line with the Muttenstock right of center
Dropping to the Kistenpasshütte on a soft, though very steep, trail
Heading for the Bifertenhütte with the Kistenstöckli to the right
It really is a trail running tour!
A steep, really steep, trail leads directly to the base of the Kistenstöckli. In the distance is the Bifertenstock.
After a short section of chains, it's a trail to the summit
In Graubünden, it's possible to see more Ibex than people
Leaving it all behind and heading down, still running
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