Pilatus mountain (2128 m) is located in Lucerne in central Switzerland. You can take the easy way and travel with a mountain train to the top – or you can hike it. We chose the latter one.
However, we did not start at the sea level, but rode with our car to the end of one road close to the river Eistlibach. During the hike, we covered 16 km and climbed 1102 m.
We did this hike in mid August (2020) and had a pretty good luck with the weather. In the mountains, it was just a perfect warm weather meanwhile down in the town it was almost too hot.
This hike is not a one for the very beginners. This specific hike is actually the reason why we went to a climbing course and started actively doing some climbing.
The route we took begins with a wide path that can be ridden with a car. At the half way to the top, the forest road changes to a path. In the very last kilometers to the top this path is walkable but very steep. Good shoes are a must in this last kilometer due to loose stones.
At the top, there is a restaurant and the end point of the cog railway. The top was super crowded which felt very bizarre after hiking hours on an almost empty path, meeting only with the mountain cows.
The things got more complicated when we were declining. We took a route across the mountain area and ended up to a path that suddenly got smaller and smaller and finally there was just a cliff with a chain to keep your hands steady on when climbing. When holding my hands on the chain, I took a look down and it was just 2km free fall.
At this point I reconsidered all the trip we were making. My life literally on my hands. Upwards this is still possible, but downwards no. I was just hoping that on the other side of the mountain, there would be a path because I had no idea how to come down a cliff like this.
At this moment, we also promised ourselves never to go on this kind of trails without falling protection equipment and thence decided to take a climbing course and start to practise. (For understandable reasons, I have no pictures from this area 🙂 )
For this hike we spent a bit more than 7 hours, covered 16 km and elevated a bit more than 1 km. The worst area is the one on the top of the left side in the map below. After this point, the route just declined. It is quite a steep decline, especially for people with any issues with the knees.
Even the end of this hike was difficult, I would do it any day again – but just having harness and some rope with us for the worst part 🙂