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Ochse, the highest peak of the Gantrisch

The Gantrisch is both a region and a peak. The interesting fact is that one would expect the peak of the Gantrisch to be the highest point of the small mountain range in which it lies. In fact, the highest point of this range is the Ochse (Ox), which is about ten metres higher than the Gantrisch.

Like the Gantrisch, the Ochse can also be climbed by crossing from the Gantrisch region down into the Simmental. This gives you the advantage of being able to enjoy a wide variety of views of the Bernese Alps and Pre-Alps.

The ideal starting point is Schwefelberg Bad. As the name suggests, these baths are, or to be more precise, old baths closed until further notice. The hotel and the ski lifts were bought by a private company in 2012. Renovation work was planned and started. Unfortunately, no building permit had been applied for, with the result that the work was abruptly stopped. Since then, nothing seems to have changed. Passing by the old hotel leaves a strange impression, as the site looks like a ghost building.

After passing by the hotel, we begin to climb up the hill towards the Louigrat. At some point, we pass through a rather humid area where the smell of rotten egg is very pronounced. This is probably where the bathwater is collected. More than half of the minerals in this water are in the form of sulphates, with the resultant smell. A little further up, you follow the ridge to the Louigrat. There, the trail doesn’t follow nice serpentine, but goes straight up the slope. It’s quite steep and difficult until you reach the top of the ski lift. After that, you continue to climb along the ridge to the Hürlisbode. At this point, you change sides of the ridge and cross the hillside to reach the Alpiglegalm. A small trail would allow you to continue along the ridge from the Hürlisbode, but the slope remains steady, and the trail is not very clear.

From the Alpiglegalm Pass, you climb up to the Ochse along a good trail which, underneath the walls, makes a few hairpins. At the foot of the rocks, things get tough. You climb through the rocks to reach the southwestern ridge of the Ochse and follow it to the top. Although the trail is not difficult, it is important to be careful here, as the slopes are steep, and a slip could have unfortunate consequences.

After descending from the top and reaching the small pass, I decided to descend towards Riprächtbochte. Even if the terrain is steep, there are good traces to follow. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish it from the traces of gullies, but if you are not on the right route, you will soon notice. Once above the basin, it is possible to cross the slopes to reach a trail marked on the map and clearly marked on the ground. Following the trail, it is not long before you reach the small lake of Schattigseeli.

A few meters above the lake, there is the path that allows either to climb to the Grenchegalm or to cross the Lochegg. It was the latter that I had chosen.

Once you reach Lochegg, you can take the signposted trail to Oberwil im Simmental. However, it is important to remember that the descent is long (over 1000m of altitude drop) and that the trails are used by mountain bikers who have the unfortunate tendency to destroy the mountain trails.

Route: Schwefelbergbad – Louigrat – Alpiglegalm – Ochse – Alpiglegalm – Riprächtbochte – Sunnige Riprächt – Schattigseeli – Lochegg – Domere – Nässli – Oberwil im Simmental
Distance: 12.7Km
Altitude gain: 990m
Duration: 5h45

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