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Val Giuv – Perfect smoky Quartz and Gwindel

The Val Giuv is without a doubt a unique and well-known locality. It extends above Camischolas (from Milez) in a north-west direction to the Uri-Graubünden border. Two prominent mountains marking the beginning of the valley: Looking into the valley on the right are the steep peaks of Culmatsch and on the left you can see the pyramid shaped Crispalts. Beautiful titanites, Stilbites and smoky quartz were found a few years ago at the Culmatsch. The end of the Val Giuv marks the over 3000m high Péz Giuv, or the shady Wichel, as he is called in Uri. From the middle of July, it is often possible to prospect in the upper regions, but north walls can still be iced.


Hiking up the valley rises just a bit and the path leads across wide meadows always along a small mountain creek. About 20 minutes after you start walking, you can already see the first signs of clefts and a few old cracks. The further you go in the direction of the valley, the more the trail climbs, between the meadows more and more boulders mix and in early summer also old snow. After about 2 hours you reach the lower end of the valley, from now on, the further way requires alpine experience and in bad weather a good sense of orientation.

There are no ways! After climbing over a steep area with loos rocks, slightly left towards the Giuv Glacier, the terrain flattens up below the Emprema Muota and if you find the right spot you can even set up a tent. However, you should be aware that you are camping here at 2600 meters and that you do not have a "easy breeze" at night. Extensive, high-alpine equipment is part of the basic equipment. You would not be the first to have your tent broken up into its individual parts, then the next long night should be better avoided! The Muotas, which now come offset towards Giuvfirn, are partly traversed by thick Aplit bands and hold a number of interesting and rare minerals. In addition to Smoky Quartz, Amethyst, Adular, Apatite, Epidote, Datolith, Baryte, Pyrite and Calcite, Conrad Berther found here the famous Milarite, perfect and over 4 cm high.

The smoky quartz from the upper part of the Val Giuv are among the most beautiful in the world, luster, color and shape are just perfect. If then snow-white Adularkristalle occur together with smoky quartz on a specimen, such a piece of this aesthetics is hard to beat. Especially in the zone where the well-known Giuv-Syenit occur, generations of Strahlers have searched for clefts. This area, continuously over 2600 m high, has a very high cleft density and extends from the Riental over the Péz Giuv up to the Stremlücke. In addition to smoky quartz (several hundred-kg pieces), quartz, heulandite, Stilbite, calcite and large adulars, you can find Titanite and beautifully etched crystals. The sphenes are usually yellowish-greenish with an orange-red head and are on chloritized Adular.

Between the Giuvstöcklis there is the Kalkspatlücke, which, as the name implies, provided beautiful and large calcites, but also large quartz and smoky quartz have been found.

The walls located in the summit regions are compact only to a small extent, mostly the strahler moves in dissipated, consisting of bars and plates layered walls which are also partially accessible without a rope. It does not hurt to have a long hook and a folding spade to follow old quartz bands under the loose rocks.

However, anyone who believes he gets something here for free, is wrong - many good Strahlers have been regularly looking for new clefts for decades, some even more than 30 days a year. The road to the summit regions of the Schattig Wichel or other 3000 meter and higher peaks is far and anyone who is not absolutely surefooted and has experience in high-alpine terrain, will quickly reach their limits here. You should invest some time to get to know the area and not run frantically and trust in your luck. A permit of the community Tujetsch can be bought as well as in the other valleys. As you are prospecting in the north faces of Sunnig and Schattig Wichel, you are already in the canton of Uri, where you need a different permit!

For me it is a special valley, relatively lonely, it leads no signposted "tourist highway" - and the sunset at almost 3000 meters, with the view over the dark valleys to the orange-glistening glaciers in the south, is one of the most beautiful Experiences while searching for crystals.

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