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Northwest Ridge

Northwest Ridge

Northwest Ridge

Page Type: Route

Location: Berner Oberland, Switzerland, Europe

Lat/Lon: 46.51151°N / 7.82810°E

Object Title: Northwest Ridge

Route Type: Mountaineering

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: PD+ UIAA II+

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes


Page By: Fred Spicker, Moni

Created/Edited: Feb 25, 2005 / Oct 31, 2009

Object ID: 164106

Hits: 4040 

Page Score: 74.92%  - 5 Votes 

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Gspaltenhorn Northwest Ridge
From the north

The Northwest Ridge was the first ascent route and is the normal route on the Gspaltenhorn. Even though the climbing is not technically difficult under dry conditions, the route is very exposed and usually involves some moderately steep snow and possibly ice in very exposed situations. There are fixed ropes on the crux pitch.

J. Anderegg, H. Baumann, and G.E. Foster made the first ascent of the Gspaltenhorn on 10 July 1869 via the Northwest Ridge.


Approaching the Gspaltenhorn and Gspaltenhorn Hut
Approaching the hut.
This is the steep scree that...

Ascents of the Northwest Ridge are normally made from the Gspaltenhorn Hut which is best reached in about 3 hours from Griesalp in the Kiental.

Details including bus schedules etc. can be found at the hut web site:

Gspaltenhornhütte Homepage

From the hut there is a well worn trail to the Büttlassenlücke, a pass between the Büttlassen and Gspaltenhorn.

Route Description

Böse Tritt, NW Ridge Gspaltenhorn
Böse Tritt
Fred leading a short chimney...
The Narrow Chimney

From the Büttlassenlücke, ascend snow or scree to a narrow ridge known as the Leitergrat and climb along its crest to the end where a narrow chimney (II) is down climbed into notch between the Leitergrat and the upper part of the Northwest Ridge.

Traverse the notch to the base of a steep step known as the Böse Tritt (roughly translated - nasty or evil step). There are fixed ropes on this step. They do not seem needed in dry conditions (Moni and I climbed it easily without using them), but I am sure that they are a blessing when the step is iced up.

Traversing to and on the Böse Tritt:
This ridge (just before the...
The traverse
Northwest Ridge, Gspaltenhorn.
On Böse Tritt
This photo should give you an...
Exposure on the ridge

Above the Böse Tritt, follow the exposed ridge crest of rock and snow to the summit.
Northwest Ridge, Gspaltenhorn
Snow & Ice above Böse Tritt
Gspaltenhorn, NW Ridge
Ridge above Böse Tritt
Northwest Ridge of Gspaltenhorn
Descending summit snow

Time from the hut to the summit is about four hours.

Essential Gear

Ice axe, crampons, rope, slings, carabiners, and perhaps a few nuts.


Gspaltenhorn from the northeast