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I cannot find information about walking from the top of Pilatus to the toboggan station at Fräkmüntegg. There seems to be path, and Google Maps shows the walk as being 3.6km with 713 metres of descent, plus 105 of ascent. That sounds decently steep, so I am wondering how doable it is for casual visitors.

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    I advise to plan your hikes in Switzerland using official topographic maps that you can find here for example: schweizmobil.ch/en/…
    – Puck
    Jun 8, 2023 at 12:04
  • Could you do it upward? My recommendation in mountains: "be prepared to go back, at first large difficulty" (really, and before it is too late, and so you may be tired and do something stupid), so in your case you must hike up a lot. And in general you will not enjoy so much such difficult hiking paths (but if you go up, just for accomplishment). I advice you to walk something lower (and less steep): you see much more the nature and the view. Jun 8, 2023 at 13:29

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I have done this hike, up one path and down the other:

topo map of Pilatus hikes

I would class them both as T3 (challenging mountain hike) on the official hiking scale (explanation). You will definitely need hiking boots with ankle support unless you're a trail runner or otherwise "extreme".

The common part from the summit to the Klimsen (across the text "Oberhaupt" on the map) is, as you might tell from the zig-zags and the 300m descent over less than half a 1km grid square, steep and rocky. If you then turn left/west, you get a path that is fine for most part (around T2) except for one "big step" where you need to scramble up or down about 3m of rocky outcrop, and you will probably need to use your hands unless they've changed that part since I was there last. Most of the path below that is on grass.

If you turn right/east at Klimsen, the path overall is steeper and rockier, with one or two places having a metal wire handrail to hold on to, but there is no one hugely challenging spot like the eastern route.

EDIT: for a photo of part of the western route (called "Heitertannliweg"), see this photo from Hikr: https://www.hikr.org/gallery/photo405904.html?post_id=30248#1 which shows the level of difficulty to expect on both paths.

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  • There seems to be a path going north to/around Klimsenhorn and then down its northern flank. Do you know that path as well? On the map above it looks... adventurous...
    – fgysin
    Jun 30, 2023 at 7:37
  • That is the (in)famous Bandweg. Adventurous is about right - it is officially closed due to risk of rockfall. The incident that prompted the closure was a boulder the size of a car falling on the path and taking out a section; a geological evaluation concluded that further rockfalls are likely (and indeed, some have occurred since). Rockfall and bans aside, in the past this was always a scrambly route where you needed to use your hands for some of the sections (T4 at least) - not a route I'd want anyone attempting unless they have mountaineering experience (and certainly not in sneakers).
    – SwissGuy
    Jul 5, 2023 at 12:00
  • thanks for the update. Given what you said it is sadly not going on my trails-to-do-list... for now. ;)
    – fgysin
    Jul 6, 2023 at 5:36
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OpenStreetMap classifies the path as "mountain hiking" (marked with white-red-white markings), which means that you should be somewhat used to hiking. There might be passages that are secured by ropes or (rarely) you might need to use your hands, but there are no unexpected dangers on the path. You should be wearing walking shoes with a good grip. Things like high heels or open sandals are out of the question here.

On this page, the tourism office discurages hiking on that path (from Fräkmüntegg to Kulm) before June 17th, when they will check and service all hiking paths. After that date, it should be fine.

The fact that you intent do go the path downwards means that you should better not have any knee or back problems. Going so steep downhill is typically a big load on those.

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