The huge pyramid of Piz Linard is the highest peak in the Silvretta group. This heavily glaciated group lies along the border of Switzerland and Austria, roughly between Klosters and Val Sinestra.
Piz Linard is in the southern part of the Silvretta group. As the nearest higher point (Piz Kesch) is some 25 km away, the view from the summit is spectacular. On a clear day, you can see for example several high peaks in the Bernese Alps, such as Jungfrau or Finsteraarhorn.
The summit is quite popular, as the easiest route (South flank) is not particularly difficult (T5/PD, depending on conditions, see route description). However, this route is somewhat slippery and subjected to rockfall. The S- and SE-ridges are more interesting and offer better views. The S-ridge is said to be only slightly harder than the S-flank. It is therefore recommended to climb one of the ridges and descend on the normal route.
According to local legend, the summit had been visited several centuries ago, among others by a preacher named Leonard (hence the summit's name).
The first certain ascent dates back to 1835 (Heer and Madutz, west flank). This is described in SAC Yearbook III (1867). p. 457. A detailled description of Piz Linard and the first ascents of the various routes can be found in SAC yearbook XXXIII (1897) on p. 58.
Baedeker's guidebook for travellers to Switzerland had the following to say in 1893:
Piz Linard (3416 m), highest peak of the Silvretta group, 6-8 hrs (guide 20 Frs.), strenuous, only for fit and skilled climbers. Bridle path from Lavin to Alp Glims (3 hrs), moderate hut. From here in 3-4 hrs to the summit, the final 1.5 hrs steep and tiring. Unforgettable panorama.
The lower Engadine valley alone is worth a visit, although it is much less famous than the upper Engadine (with St.Moritz). Since 1999, when the new Vereina railway tunnel (roughly between Klosters and Lavin) was opened, the valley is quite easy to reach from the major Swiss towns.
Car: Autoroute Zurich-Chur until exit Landquart, road to Klosters-Selfranga. You can have your car transported through the tunnel to Lavin-Sagliains every 30 minutes. Find timetables and tariffs here.
Train: From Zurich or Chur to Lanquart. Change here to the red trains of Rhaetische Bahn, which brings you in about one hour directly to Lavin. There's a train every hour. Timetables are available here.
Lavin is the first of several beautiful villages in the lower Engadine. There are two hotels (one of which is called Piz Linard!) and a bakery.
(Lavin-) Linard Hut
The most popular routes (S-flank, S- and SE ridge) are accessible from Linard hut (see below), which is reached on a good path from Lavin in 2.5 hrs.
Lavin - Val Sagliains
The normal route and the SW ridge (as well as the routes on the west flank and the NW ridge) are also accessible from Val Sagliains. There's a decent path until Fuorcla da Glims (2802 m). This access is somewhat longer.
(Klosters Monbiel-) Berghaus Vereina
For the routes on the west flank and the NW ridge, Berghaus Vereina (see huts section) is a good base. Enter Sueser Tal and traverse the Vereina-Pass (2585 m), which brings you to the uppermost part of Val Sagliains.
Lavin - Val Lavinuoz
For the NE ridge, Chamanna Marangun is a good base. It is reached from Lavin in 2.5 hrs on another good path.
Books and maps
For the normal routes, sheet 1198 Silvretta in scale 1:25000 is sufficient. Find out about the newest available editions here.
The guide of the SAC is, unfortunately, slightly outdated:
Bernard Condrau, Bündner Alpen 8, Silvretta und Samnaun, SAC-Verlag 1985.
Note that the author constantly rates the difficulties too high (e.g. AD for the normal route to Piz Linard).
Less detailled, but still very useful is:
Guenther Flaig, Alpenvereinsführer Silvretta Alpin, Bergverlag Rother 2005
When To Climb
Almost all visitors come in summer or fall. According to the summit log, a few locals climb it in winter or spring, occasionally even with ski, but this is reserved for seasoned mountaineers (some portage or even rappel probably unaviodable)..
The main reason for the climb being the view, it makes sense to choose a clear day - fall is therefore a good idea (until the first snow arrives).
If you're in good shape, you can climb Piz Linard in one day from Lavin. Most people, however, spend the night at 2327 m in cosy Linard hut (in Rumantsch: Chamonna dal Linard). This is a good idea, as the chances for an unobstructed view are usually better in the morning.
As an SAC hut, it is always open. There are some 40 places and there's a warden from July until mid-September, the job is usually done by members of the section in turns.
For those who wish to climb the NE ridge, Chamanna Marangun (2023 m) in Val Lavinuoz is a good base. It has only 12 places and no warden. Ask Mr. Haessig in Lavin for information (081 862 26 51).
Another possible base is Berghaus Vereina, at 1943 m. This used to be an SAC hut, but is nowadays private property, which means that it isn't necessarily always open. There are more than 60 beds and a warden is present from late June until mid-october. Call 081 422 12 16 (hut) or 422 11 97 (owner) for information.
Note that the road is closed for tourist traffic after Monbiel. However, you may either use a mountain bike or take the Vereinabus, which circulates up to 6 times per day in peak season. Call 081 422 11 97 for information and to book ahead (mandatory).
The warden of Linard hut can be called for information on current conditions. His mobile phone number is: 079 629 61 91.
South ridge (II):, recommended
From Fuorcla da Glims, follow the ridge, avoiding some obstacles on the right. Near P.3257, South and Southwest ridges unite. This point can also be reached by climbing a couloir between the two ridges.
Southwest ridge (III):
From Fuorcla da Glims, traverse to the beginning of the ridge and follow it. Some towers can be avoided on the south side.
Southeast ridge (III):, recommended
From Linard hut, walk to the saddle NW of Linard Pitschen (which can be traversed: cimbing IV) and follow the ridge, which has some difficult sections.
West flank (II, rockfall!):
Climb the flank's central couloir and after the first half make a traverse of the steep flank to reach the upper part of the Northwest ridge.
Northeast ridge (II):, recommended
From Marangun, enter Val Muntanellas and traverse to the ridge as soon as possible. Follow the easy ridge.
Other routes, difficult and/dangerous:
Northwest ridge (from Fuorcla dal Linard)