The ascent from Claridenhütte via Claridenfirn is an easy but nevertheless very impressive ascent to Clariden.
Claridenfirn is a huge plateau - like glacier and stretches east of Clariden summit. It is defined by the Gemsfairenstock - Tüfelsstöcke - Bocktschingel - Clariden ridge to the north, by Clariden south ridge, Hüfipass (with impressive Hüfifirn west of the pass) and Piz Cazarauls to the west and the steep rockfaces of Hinterer and Vorderer Spitzalpelistock to the southeast, where the glacier ends high above Sand valley in impressive ice cascades.
Claridenhütte (2453 m) is erected on the plateau of Altenorenstock, which separates Altenoren valley from Sand valley. The ascents to Claridenhütte are nearly all long and require an ascent of about 1.650 meters of altitude difference.
The most common trailheads to the hut are at Tierfed at the very end of Glarus valley. From the parking area there are three possibilities to gain Claridenhütte:
1. Follow the steep road from Tierfed leading via Pantenbrugg, an interesting double bridge getting over a deep iceage gorge of the Sand creek.
Arriving at the Vorder Sand and Hinter Sand Alp follow the trail in the direction of Planurahütte. After a long and steep ascent you reach the high valley of Ober Sand. There is a trail junction before you reach the Alp of Ober Sand; take the right trail which immediately starts to climb up the south slopes of the valley up to Beggilücke, a notch high above Obersand.
From Beggilücke you can easily summit Zuetribistock (2644 m) east of the notch before descending to the yet visible Claridenhütte.
This is by far the longest ascent and a full day of mountaineering work but a very impressive route.
2. After Pantenbrugg and a little flat, called Üeli, the road crosses the Sand creek again and ascends to a switchback. At the switchback there is a trail junction and Claridenhütte is signposted. Follow the trail through dense vegetation - it is very slippery after wet weather periods, which unfortunately occur so often in the Glarus mountains - and wood up to a water catchment.
The trail enters now the meadows of Rinderweid and follows the Walenbach creek up to Altenoren valley. Those meadows are a miracle in June and July, you will find rare plants and blossoms in abundance.
At about 1900 m (Heiterstäfeli) you have to cross the Walenbach creek and gain the Altenoren trail (see 3. below).
3. From Tierfed parking area cross the creek and immediately turn right. Follow the creek Linth to the north until the trail reaches an intersection with a forest road. Turn left and follow this forest road. It ascends through woods and gains after several switchbacks the Alps of Altenoren, a sort of terrasse meadows high above the end of Glarus valley. You pass Chrummlaui, Chäsboden, Ahornen and Altstafel until you arrive at Oberstäfeli (1776 m) where the road ends.
A trail follows the Walenbachcreek up the Altenoren valley until the trail junction with the trail 2.) (see 2.) above). Some switchbacks further on the trail unites with the trail from Fisetengrat (see 4.) below). It then zigzags up Gletscherchopf, a belay between Gemsfairenstock and Altenorenstock. You then enter a cirque with some rests of the Claridenfirn (socalled "Toteis", icefields separated from the main glacier due to heavy and quick melting). The trail traverses the cirque and gains Altenorenstock and Claridenhütte via a steep snow and morain scree field and a roped rock ledge leading up to the plateau with the mountain hut.
4. By far the quickest and easiest route is the one from Fisetengrat. A cableway starts at Urnerboden at the Klausenpass road and goes up to Fisetengrat. From the upper cableway station follow the trail to Fisetenpass (2036 m) and into Fiseten Valley. The trail traverses Fiseten Valley and crosses the east ridge of Gemsfairenstock / Rotstock and unites with the ascend routes 2.) and 3.) above Heiterstäfeli. Go on as described under section 3.).
From Claridenhütte follow the trail to Beggilücke into a little valley in front of Claridenhütte. Leave the Beggilücke trail in the valley and ascend a snow or screefield to the right. The trail leads up to huge rock slabs and moraine crests of the Claridenfirn. There are mostly cairns showing the right way through this moraine landscape. Early in the year snow will cover the tracks. Just follow a strictly western direction. You should reach a sort of broad saddle between the south ridge of Gemsfairenstock and point 2651 m of the swiss topo map.
This is where Claridenfirn begins. Cross the first nearly even glacier basin in the direction of Tüfelsstöcke, some wild spires north of Claridenfirn. Ascend the first upswing from north to south and follow the Claridenfirn to the west, keeping more to its north side because of the crevasses and ice cascades at the southeastern limitation of the glacier.
You soon pass impressive Bocktschingel, a massive rock north of Claridenfirn and west of Tüfelsstöcke. The Clariden summit lays ahead. Cross the second glacier basin still keeping more on the right side.
At the western end of the glacier basin is a second escarpment. Ascend it steadily until you nearly reach the rocks of the south ridge. Turn right and traverse the steep glacier slope east of the south ridge up to a saddle. Beware of the bergschrund.
From the saddle follow the snow slope up to the east ridge and to the summit rock with the huge summit cross.
There are two intersting routes to be combined with the Claridenfirn Ascent:
1. West ridge of Clariden down to Chlammijoch.
From Chlammijoch to the Iswandli and down to Klausenpass or
traversing the upper glacier basin of Hüfifirn to Hüfijoch and Planurahütte
2. Descending the second glacier escarpment to the upper glacier basin of Claridenfirn and traversing it to the south to Hüfijoch and Planurahütte.
Essential Gear, Maps and Guide
You need full glacier gear, rope, ice axe and crampons and you should be able to know how to save someone out of crevasses - just in case.
Take a swiss mountain guide if you are not sure. Clariden is not a difficult mountain but you nevertheless should know what to do in an emergency case on the glacier.
Landeskarte der Schweiz, 1 : 25.000
Blatt 1193, Tödi
Bundesamt für Landestopographie, 3084 Wabern
Clubführer Glarner Alpen
Schweizer Alpen Club
Gebietsführer für Wanderer und Bergsteiger
Bergverlag Rudolf Rother
Accomodation and Links
Mountain Huts and AccomodationsClaridenhütte
Kanton InformationsKanton Glarus
Weather and Avalanches
Swiss Weather link