OverviewThe Gelmerhörner form a long north-south trending ridge with numerous towers and are part of the Gelmerhörner-Tieraplistock chain of the Uri Alps. The two most distinct points are known as Chlys (Kleines or Small) Gelmerhorn and Großes (Large) Gelmerhorn, located at the lower (south) end of the ridge. Then a series of towers, collectively called the Gelmerspitzen and numbered 1 through 7 from the north, rise to the high point at the north end of the ridge. Most climbs traverse several of these summits to notches from which descent is possible. Traverses can be done from N to S or vice versa. Climbing Chlys and Grosses Gelmerhorn from S to N is most popular. The rock is the wonderful granite of the Grimsel area. The basin where these peaks sit is nearly directly across the valley from Großer Diamantstock. Numerous sport climbing routes in this area could keep anyone happy over many days. Various parties did most of the original traverses around 1902.
The Gelmerhütte serves as an excellent base for these and many other climbs.
Getting TherePublic Transportation
Take the train Meiringen either from Bern or from Luzern. From Meiringen there is bus service during non-snow times to Grimsel Pass. In the off-season and during winter, the bus only goes as far as Guttannen, after which it is advised to hire an alpine taxi (Alpentaxi Guttannen, Werner Kehrli, 033 / 973 12 09). If coming from the south, travel by train as far as Oberwald. Take the bus from there. In winter this route is not open.
Get off at the Chüenzentennelen Bus stop (near Handegg). From there a trail leads to the Gelmerhütte, via the trail along either the N or S side of the reservoir Gelmersee (3 1/2 to 4 hours). One can buy a ride up a really scary (but really fun!), cable car to gain access to the south end of the lake. It takes 25 people each time, and waits can be long, if there are many people wanting to take it. It saves about 1 hour of hiking. There are stairs next to the cableway that are used to access some fine climbs on the slabs next to the cable car.
The public transportation route is also the one to drive with your own vehicle. During winter or when there is snow on the road, you must buy permit to continue past Guttannen or take the taxi (see section above for taxi information). There is a parking lot near the cable car for about 25 cars.
RoutesMost of the routes involve traversing one or more of the peaks. The traverse routes are long and require you be able to move together over the easier passages as well as confidently down climb UIAA II (4th to easy 5th class).
There are also a variety of sport routes on the faces of these peaks.
I encourage you, if you have climbed one of the routes, to enter them in the routes section of this mountain page!
AccommodationsNumerous huts and hotels and some camping places exist throughout the valley from Meiringen and Grimsel. This is a popular area and reservations are advised.
The Gelmerhütte is the only hut near these peaks. Remodeled in 1986, this hut has room for 60 but is often crowded. Reservations are necessary. See the Getting There section for a description of the hut approach.
When To ClimbLate June through September, depending on snow conditions.
Mountain ConditionsThe warm trend in the Alps has changed many of the routes and approaches. Be sure to check with locals (the hut warden is most knowledgeable) about the most current conditions and problems.
Swiss Weather and Conditions