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Val Maighels - Brilliant quartz from the valley of the source of the Rhine

If you drive from Sedrun about 10 minutes in the direction of Oberalppass, pull off at a hairpin into a initially paved road to some houses and stables. The trail is easy to see from below, as it leads to the Curnera Dam. Leave the road at the houses and turn right towards Maighels-Hütte. Since many tourists visit the valley in the summer - mostly because of the Tomasee, which forms the highest source of the Rhine - the path is wide and easy to find.

The Val Maighels is no longer an insider's tip among Strahlers, but nevertheless beautiful quartz and smoky quartz can still be found.


As a guide, the glacier da Maighels (the Maighels Glacier) is separated by a long, wedge-shaped ridge. So you have to decide whether to follow the creek after the Piz Alpetta to the left and then climb over scree and later directly on the glacier in the direction of Piz Ravetsch to reach the amphibolite along the glacier. This region is particularly interesting in my opinion because of the slightly smoky, quartz crystals that are found there - if the cleft is attached to the amphibolite - have an incredible purity and breathtaking luster. Even the Adulare found have an untypical luster and are relatively clear. In addition to quartz, clear apatites, epidote, desmin, muscovite, pericline, prehnite, laumontite albite and titanite - some of which are shaped as contact twins - can be found in this part of the rock, which is partly located upstream of the glacier. Some of the clefts are narrow, filled with thick gray clay instead of chlorite sand, which optimally protects the crystals.

If, on the other hand, you want to visit the upper points of the valley, then you can either continue straight onto the Piz Ravetsch and finally get into the rocky outcrops, or you do not go to the left from the beginning, but continue towards Cadlimo Hut or Passo Bornengo. From the pass you can follow the ridge into the western wall of Piz Ravetsch. Basically you can find something in the entire summit area. There are always large smoky quartzes, Adular and according to old records also up to 9 cm! large titanites. Furthermore, finds of apatite, adular, quartz and rosafluorite are known. The titanites are consistently brown and strongly chloritized, but very rarely mm-sized and high-lustrous crystals with a rare blue color can be found,. In my opinion, these Titanites are more likely to come from the lower Muota on the front of the glacier - I have never found any. On Piz Borel, which is north of the Piz Ravetsch, large smoky quartz, which are associated with Adular and chlorite, can be found according to Parker. Rare are also bright red Sagenit.


A rather atypical alpine occurrence in the Val Maighels, but which has been known for a long time, are the Hessonites (also hyacinth grenade). They are beeing sold under the locality name Six Madun, or Badus. Clusters and single crystals come either from a lime silicate lens below the Piz Tagliola or from a second point southeast of Badus (Six Madun). The often cracked, orange to brown crystals are rarely clear. It is interesting, however, that you can find in the river sand of some streams dark red to violet rounded crystal fragments (previously up to 7 mm in size) which are absolutely clear and partly without cracks.


Finally, it can be said that the lower Val Maighels is a place that is rather easy to walk and work, the way increases little. You can quickly get to the locality, and the way back is for alpine standards relatively easy even in bad weather. However, if you want to go for the upper spots around the Ravetschgrat, then you are for sure in the wrong valley without crampons, glacier and high alpine experience!

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