Oberalppass, in the fog, rain and snow.

Mountain passes are thrilling drives, because of the twisty roads, sheer drops and fabulous scenery. It turns out they can be pretty exciting even when you can’t see much at all, hardly even the road.

Click for a map.

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So, Oberalppass it is then.

Andermatt. So, Oberalppass it is then.

It's a bit cloudy today.

Actually it’s not really a problem. We were hoping to drive the loop – Furka, Nufenen and Gotthard – but since we’re ultimately heading east today, Oberalppass is the one we really need.

There's lots of other people using it, it must be okay.

The weather could be better considering it’s mid-May.

It's at this point we start to wonder what we've let ourselves in for.

At this point we start to wonder what we’ve let ourselves in for.

Actual rivulets of water running down the road.

Actual rivulets of water running down the road.

This is reminding me

Rain, fog and it’s freezing cold.

Do you think we should turn round? Drive in the middle of the road.

It’s still impossible for us to believe that the Swiss – icons of stolid dependability – would leave the road open unless it was absolutely safe to do so.

2048m, that's x,xxxft to you.

2048m, 6,719ft. As well as being one of the few touristy mountain passes that actually goes somewhere useful – from the Gotthard Tunnel on the A2 motorway to Chur/Graubünden/Engadine/St Moritz/Davos – Oberalppass is quite a profound road too. Just up behind here is the source of the Rhine. You could paddle all the way to the Hook of Holland.

Still no barriers then.

A spectacular lack of barriers.

Oh for a sunny day!

With just one overwrought stab at the throttle we’d be over the edge in milliseconds.

There's no worries, that's good thick, strong barrier.

Civilisation. Tujetsch.

What we missed.

What we missed. Oberalppass cuts between the Glarus Alps in the north – with peaks Piz Giuv (10,157ft) and Piz Cavradi (8,576ft), above – and the Lepontine Alps in the south, with Piz Maler (9,154ft) and Piz Badus (9,606ft). Photo via Wikipedia, by Adrian Michael.

We should have learned a lesson. A year later we made a second attempt on The Loop, in late May this time. We thought we'd check out the Gotthard Pass anyway only to find massive ice blocks sliding out into the road. Open passes might not guarantee panoramic views but they definitely close them for a reason.

Oops we did it again. Exactly a year and two weeks later we made a second attempt on The Loop. We decided to check out the Gotthard Pass anyway only to find massive ice blocks sliding out into the road. They Swiss might only close mountain passes when absolutely necessary but they definitely do it for a reason.

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