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“If you’re not moving, you’re standing  still.”


Steve Trafton

Swiss Alpine Pass Route – Sargans to Montreux

Sarg to Montreux 8Signpost at Weisstannen showing Elm to be 8 hours distant


Sarg to Montreux 9Farm at Fooalp


Sarg to Montreux 10Foopass; 7300 Feet


On the western side of Foopass the path dropped steeply at first in switchbacks. Then it dropped more gently and about a half an hour after leaving the pass I walked past Raminer Matt (12:50; ca 6220 feet).

Sarg to Montreux 11Raminer Matt, below Foopass on the path to Elm


After another fifteen minutes of walking along a farm road I came to a second farm (Mittler Stafel) and started along a good farm road that worked its way down through the forest and alongside meadows, crossing side streams as it descended. Eventually I came to a road which led, in long loops, down to the village of Elm (ca. 3150 feet).

Elm is an attractive little community whose houses are flower decked. One of those was Suworowhaus named for the Russian general who stayed here in 1799. Italinsky Suworow was a seventy year old retired Russian general living in Moscow when he was recalled by the Russian Emperor and dispatched to Italy to help the Austrians against the French. Winning three quick battles he was then ordered to Switzerland to aid General Korsakoff in his attempt to drive back more of Napoleon’s men. It was September when Suworow and his 22,000 battle-weary soldiers marched across the St. Gotthard Pass. They were met with fierce opposition in the Schollenen Gorge where the French were lying in wait. A heavy three-day battle ensued, and on the night of the 27th the French destroyed the Devil’s Bridge and retreated. The Russians pushed on down to Altdorf and Fluelen on Lake Lucerne. But as the French had seized all the boats, Suworow was forced to change direction, crossing the Chinzig Chulm (near the Klausenpass) and descending into the Muotatal.

Once more the French were waiting and the Russians were forced into combat on the 1st of October before turning east and fighting their way over the Pragel Pass to Glarus. Here again the French blocked their way, so Suworow turned south up the valley that leads to Elm. A night was spent there, and then they continued up the valley to cross the Panixer Pass (ca 7895 feet) between the 6th and the 8th, where the remnants of his army were caught in a blizzard as they descended above Alp di Pigniu. Hundreds of his exhausted soldiers fell to their deaths, as did countless pack animals. Five days later, when they finally crossed into Austria to reach the remains of Korsakoff’s army just 14,000 of Suworow men remained.

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