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In focus, Photography

Grosser Mythen – a landmark of Schwyz

Evening twilight Grosser Mythen
ISO 100
100 mm
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The hike up the Grosser Mythen, Schwyz’s local mountain, impresses with fantastic views in all directions. After the ascent, the Mythenhaus awaits hungry and thirsty hikers.

Prominent mountain in the heart of Central Switzerland

The 1898 m high Grosser Mythen is actually impossible to miss from any side. Its low altitude of not even 2000 m compared to other Alpine giants may be somewhat deceiving – but the incomparable shape in combination with the free-standing location ensures that this mountain is one of the best viewing mountains in the whole of Central Switzerland. The location near several well-known and larger lakes also has something to do with this: within sight of the summit you will find, first and foremost, of course, Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug, as well as the smaller lakes of Ägerisee, Lauerzersee and Sihlsee.

Ascents to the Grosser Mythen

The Grosser Mythen is certainly one of the most climbed hiking peaks in the Alps, and not only because of its impressive panoramic view. The actual approach to the summit via the hiking trail from the cable car station Holzegg is not excessively long with about 500 meters of altitude and well secured. The safety measures are also necessary, because every year there are (sometimes serious) accidents on this path, which is quite exposed in places. Chains and steel cable railings reduce the risk of falling in the most important places, but an honest self-assessment of one’s own surefootedness and head for heights is still advisable.

In addition to the approach from Holzegg, there are also various alpine climbs, but most of them are already in climbing terrain – however, they only play a minor role due to the well-built and marked hiking trail.

Holzegg as the starting point for the ascent of the Grosser Mythen is easily accessible via various approaches:

  • From the top of the Ibergeregg pass with little difference in altitude on a well-maintained driveway
  • From Brunni in Alpthal (behind Einsiedeln) via a marked hiking trail
  • From Schwyz with the greatest difference in altitude, also via several marked hiking trails
  • From the top station of the Rotenfluebahn (coming from Schwyz)

All of them (except for the climb from Schwyz) certainly have in common that you will rarely be alone on weekends when the weather is nice. If you are looking for solitude, you should prefer an ascent in the off-season when the weather may not be quite so good. In addition to these obvious approaches, there are also many other possible variations due to the dense network of hiking trails – creativity is certainly the order of the day here.

5-star panorama from the summit

Once you have completed the ascent to the Grosser Mythen, you can choose whether you want to enjoy the famous Nussgipfeli from the Mythenhaus before, after or while gazing at the overwhelming panorama. You can let your gaze wander in all directions and from my own experience I can say that even after several dozen visits to the summit, there is always something new to discover.

For (landscape) photographers, the view is certainly extremely exciting and for these people, by the way, a visit in the late evening at/after sunset or an early ascent in the morning is worthwhile – thanks to unbelievable wide views to the east and west. With appropriate telephoto lenses, even distant mountains like the Säntis can be put into the right light of the golden hour.

When you stand on the mountain, you do not see it

A classic mountaineering adage that is often mentioned in connection with prominent mountains like the Matterhorn: it looks spectacular from all sides and makes some people wish they could stand up there one day – and then, when you get to the top, something is suddenly missing from the view.

It’s the same with the Grossen Mythen – but fortunately there are several other mountains around, which allow a good view of this landmark of Central Switzerland. For this photo, our evening climb led us to the Rophaien in the Riemenstalden valley. With a good 1000 meters of elevation gain and the usual photo gear gear battle in the backpack, this was no walk in the park, but the weather and light conditions rewarded us with terrific autumnal colors. Through some clouds, the sun made its way like a spotlight one last time with a direct glow on the summit of Grossen Mythen before night descended. The striking wall of Huser Stock and Chlingenstock in the foreground adds depth to the image before the Grosse Mythen and its little satellite, the Kleine Mythen, build up in the background as the last bastion before the Alpine foothills.

By using a 100 mm telephoto lens, I was really only able to focus on the striking backdrop of the Grossen Mythen and, thanks to the use of a tripod, I was able to photograph a sharp image even despite advanced twilight and a strongly closed aperture. The coloring of the sky did the rest to perfectly complement the autumnal colors – and so the climb and the subsequent long descent in the dark back to Riemenstalden had been more than worth it.

Good to know

Depending on the frequency of use, the Grosse Mythen is a worthwhile peak for mountain runs and the surrounding hiking trails are excellent for trail runs of various lengths – provided you keep a watchful eye on the many herds of suckler cows in the vicinity.

In winter, on the other hand, the actual mountain is off-limits – a wildlife protection area only allows walking or skiing on marked routes, with the exception of the ski area of the Mythen region, of course. However, due to the high avalanche activity on the steep, partly very sunny slopes, the Grosse Mythen is anyway a mountain that one should wisely leave alone in winter and allow the animals living there their well-deserved rest.

By the way, you can often find chamois in the summer months – with a little patience and luck you can observe these sure-footed animals around the mountain in various places. Here, the somewhat lower, but no less beautiful little brother of the Gross Mythen is also highly recommended, the 1811 m high Kleine Mythen. However, this one should only be tackled by experienced alpinists, since especially the approach from the pre-summit to the main summit is peppered with short climbing passages and takes place in typical, partly crumbly scree terrain and mostly without noteworthy securing possibilities.

By the way: on my Instagram account @falko.burghausen you can regularly find more posts with new photos or videos.

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