Oct 29, 2018

Gletchorn - Furka pass

Switzerland doesn't just hold a big number of happy cows that produces the lovely local swiss cheese. As we know, the country is filled with great granit and limestone, just waiting to be climbed.
One of these nice granit mountains is Gletchorn (3305m)
The route via its south ridge up to the summit is a great day out, easy route finding (follow the ridge!) and very high quality on solid rock.
Ok, the descent is a little so so with strange placed rappel anchors and a lot of loose stuff. But the climb is stunning and exposed.

Gletchorn Sudgrat
We packed the car, filled up Ford with fuel for the 3 hour drive from Chamonix to Furka.
Just passing col des Montets on the way with some climbing "on the way"
Since the Albertheim hutte is closed for renovation at this time, summer 2018, we made a reservation at the Tifenbach Hotel. Which meant we had an approchtime of about 30 seconds! Should be possible.
Morning over Furka pass

Tifenbach is an old hotel with a lot of personality, nice suited high above Realp and further away Andermatt. The standard is just as a climber want it to be, nice, clean and some good food and wine. (The chief can be a bit hard on the salt though) Even their coffee machine produces a great espresso.
Gletchorn Südgrat
The approach from Tiefenbach towards the surrounding mountains of Grauewand, Winterstock and Gletchorn is easily made from the hotel direct by foot or by taking the car some 100m back towards Furka pass and then drive up some 5 min on the private road. Just keep 7Chf in coins with you to pay the road fee.
Teemu on the frist part of Südgrat - Gletchorn
With a decent breakfast at 05.30 we left the hotel at 06.15 with a day of perfect weather ahead of us. Some +3-4°C and a light breeze made the start of the hike to a pleasure. With the company of 2 local Suisse climbers, we was taking turns of finding the best way. And a bit of individual race.
Just before Albertheim hutte the path heads back west for Gletchorn, passing more or less under Grauewand. All the time staying high on the trail and after 1 1/2h we was a the bottom of Sudgrat. With the race still running our Suisse friends decides to go up on the ride from the east side, but we keep to the plan and go on the historical and traditional way from the west side.
Higher on the Ridge, the pleasure just goes on
Once on the glacier, what ever is left of it, with crampons under our feets an other 10 min walk took us up to the base of the wall, with a couple of hundreds meter of scrambling up to the ridge line.
The topo says to stay far to the left but I decided to stay more in the center and just follow the most natural line of scmbling up to the ridge, An other 10-15 minutes.
The beautiful corners and aretes
Once on the ridge, all the effort put in turns out to a happy payback. Exposed climbing takes us further and higher up on solid rock with pleasant formations.
With the info from the topo I had equipped for a couple of pitons and some bolted belays. But unfortunately the local Suisses had gone all in, as they tend to do on all their routes nowadays in Gruyere country, and bolted up the cracks and slabs almost like a sport climb. Really sorry to see and experience. I just wish that the local guides didn't take their job to easy and make things way to simple and light. It is actually quite nice to put in own gear and stay a bit traditional, also in climbing.
No words needed - but looks like the locals don't have money for cam devices!
As often with climbs on ridges, it can give the feeling of "ok, so we are almost on the top" But then there is again a couple of sections and hided towers to be passed over. And there is a bit of down climbing, traverses and it just goes on. So as here, just when I think we are looking on the last and highest peak, the ridge just makes a turn and we have an other couple of 100 meters to cover. But, when your on the very summit, it is impossible to miss.
We are as high as we can get on this peak, and of course it is marked by a rappel anchor in situ.
An other stupid place number of bolts that for sure will get your rope stuck if you try to use it for descent!

Instead, after the obligatory summit pictures, we scramble around the peak, and continue a bit further on the ridge line. And the down climb on a bit loose rock towards a bit cairn that shows the start of the "trail" witch goes back downwards on the west side.
And with 3 rappels of 20m we are back on the west face and the last bit of scrambling down to Tiefengletcher.

Sudgrat of Gletchorn 3305
Max 4b / or 2 p A0

5-6 QD´s
Midsize Camelot's or Green/Red Omega cams
40m rope (2x30m or 1x50m for the rappels)

Plaisir West - Furka
Pictures below

Reservation at Tiefenbach
Tel: 0041(0)41 887 13 22

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