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Normal Route / West Ridge
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Normal Route / West Ridge

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Normal Route / West Ridge

Page Type: Route

Location: Tyrol/South Tyrol, Austria/Italy, Europe

Lat/Lon: 46.77233°N / 10.85466°E

Object Title: Normal Route / West Ridge

Route Type: Mountaineering

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Time Required: Less than two hours

Difficulty: F - easy glacier climb

Route Quality: 
 - 4 Votes
 

 

Page By: Luidger, rgg

Created/Edited: Dec 14, 2001 / May 17, 2013

Object ID: 155988

Hits: 3650 

Page Score: 83.69%  - 17 Votes 

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Overview

Similaun summit view
Similaun summit view to the east
The Similaun west ridge is a short and easy glacier route. It is perfect to introduce people with little or no experience to the thrills of glacier travel. It lies right at the edge of the big glaciers in the southern part of the Ötztal group, and on a nice day, the views are fantastic.

View from the summit of...
Summit view towards the Wildspitze (on the right)

Approach

On the road to Similaun
On the road from Vent to Similaun
The west ridge is calling our name!
The route starts at the Similaun Hütte at the Niederjoch (3019m). This historically important high mountain pass can be reached from the north  from the Austrian village of Vent (1900m), or from the south from the Vernagt Stausee (1690m), an artificial lake at the end of the Schnalstal valley.

Lake Vernagt seen from the...
Vernagt Stausee
Of the two, the approach from Vent is longer but decidedly gentler: it's about 12 km for the 1100m ascent, whereas from the Schnalstal it's about 5km for 1300m.

Both Vent and the Schnalstal can easily be reached by car and by bus.

Route Description


OSM Route map - note that the route on this map is the variation that follows the rocks much longer. 


Clefts
Snow makes it dangerous, as these partly hidden crevasses on the Niederjochferner show
Similaun
Last few meters to the summit
The Niederjoch Glacier
Without snow it's different, as the danger is easy to see now
From the Similaun Hütte first head south to south east, towards a gentle ridge. Very soon the route turns towards the east and leaves the ridge. From here the route continues eastwards on the gentle slopes of the Niederferner glacier. A rocky outcrop lies south of the route, at around 3200m (46.7685°N / 10.8653°E). When just north of the outcrop, turn south, passing it close by on the eastern side. The Niederjochferner has some crevasses, especially in this area.

A variation on the normal route stays on the rocky ridge for much longer, and only goes on the glacier directly east of this outcrop - but I have no personal knowledge of this.

Either way, at this point you can see a rocky subsidiary, a few hundred meters to the southeast. That's the Kleiner Similaun (3363m)(46.7659°N / 10.8685°E). Head towards it, and pass it on the northern side. Continue to the southeast, and soon you are close to the crest of the Similaun west ridge. The route stays just north of the crest - the south face is rocky and steep. Only the final section of the route is a bit exposed.

From the refuge to the summit takes 1.5 - 2 hours, the descent about an hour.

Similaun and the Niederjochferner
Similaun and the Niederjochferner, seen from the approach from Vent to the Similaun Hütte
If you want to return to Vent, you don't need to go via the Similaun Hütte. Instead you can descend directly via the Niederjochferner. It's not particularly steep.

Descending by the normal...
Descending by the normal route. August, 1992.

Essential Gear

Basic glacier equipment: Crampons, axe, rope.

Map

DAV Alpenvereinskarte 30/1, Ötztaler Alpen, Gurgl. Scale 1:25 000.

External Links

A video of the ascent by Petr Jakubes


Similaun summit cross
Everybody at the big summit cross

Images

SimilaunCleftsOn the road to SimilaunSimilaun and the NiederjochfernerSimilaun seen from the west...Descending by the normal...Similaun summit view
Similaun summit viewSimilaun (3606m) from the HauslabjochSimilaun summit crossThe Niederjoch GlacierSimilaun from high on the Mutmalspitze SW sideView from the summit of...