Slow going mountain terrain, big views, and all the things tough runners crave
Nearing the end of this run, I was pretty sure it wasn't going to make the cut to be included on this site. Janine, who pieced it together, felt differently. As a tour, and a traverse, and for including steep climbs and big summit views, it made for a perfect hard mountain run she argued. There are laboriously slow sections in rocks, but also long stretches of singletrack running. For anyone preparing for a hard, slow event, this may be the ideal training run.
Best of all, it's a beautiful place that needs a reason to go visit. This run is your excuse.
Gspon is one of those Swiss villages without cars. You'll need to either add on more vert (1100 meters/making it harder still) or take the tram up to the tiny village. From the top station, dirt roads warm up the legs before switching up to singletrack for a long traverse to the southwest flank of the Mattwaldhorn. A cross country ascent accesses the summit plateau with views of the many neighboring 4000ers including the Weissmies and Lagginhorn, much of the Balfrin Traverse, and the distant Aletschgletscher, the Alps longest glacier with the Bettmeralp run alongside it.
Next up is a whole lot of up and down, in and out, and several turns you won't want to miss until you arrive to the Ochsehorn. From there, slow terrain begins to merge with runnable trail and soon your flowing right back to Gspon on fast singletrack.
This is a run that can be done in either direction. We did it, as our photos reveal, in the clockwise direction, opposite to what is described here. We felt that the cross country section might be better done as a climb. But overall, it doesn't have a decidedly better direction in which to run it - take your pick.
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Start: 46.225256, 7.902171
Be sure to find out what time last tram runs. Then, don't miss it.
There are no huts or water sources - carry enough food and water.
4000-meter peak views in abundance
The Aletsch Arena to the north and some dreamy trail
Trail turns to rock and everything slows down on the way to the Ochsehorn
The ridge to the Mattwaldhorn is a mix of steep trail and scrappy rock
Crosscountry-ish on the southwest flank of the Mattwaldhorn with the Mischabel panorama
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