OverviewThe Westgrat, or West Ridge of the Altmann is, as described on the main page, a very enjoyable, moderate route to the summit of the Altmann. The route begins by ascending steep limestone faces for two pitches (crux), then following a beautiful easy ridge that is very exposed and puts the climber in a magnificent position high on the mountain with breathtaking views. As also stated on the main page, the FA of the Westgrat was made in 1919. Nowadays, the route is protected by bolts, yet on some of the easier pitches higher up, there is quite a runout between bolts, so some trad gear may come in handy for those who don't like long run outs.
Keep in mind that the approach for this climb is substantial (about 4 miles with 2500 feet of gain), so an early start is important. If you get to the base of the route and there are thunderstorms in the vicinity, abort, since this route would be very hard to bail off of above the first two pitches.
Getting ThereProbably the easiest way to get to the base of the route is to park in the large dirt lot just outside Wildhaus on the road to Gamplüt. From here you can either take the tram up to Gamplüt, or begin hiking from here. Taking the tram will save you about 30-45 mins of hiking and 300 meters of gain, but it costs 10 CHF. Either way, you want to follow signs to Tessel. Once at Tessel (the large valley lined with large cliffs to the northeast of Gamplüt), follow a trail towards Zwinglipass. This trail will switchback steeply up the side of the valley and gradually bring you to another large hanging valley. From here, you will be able to see the Altmann looming above you. Follow the trail up the valley and come to another junction with a trail sign. Take a left toward Rotsteinpass. This trail will lead you underneath the south face of the Altmann. As the trail begins to bend north toward the final ascent to Rotsteinpass, leave the trail and head up to the base of the prominent arete on the Southwest side of the Altmann. After negotiating some scree and class 3 rock, come to the base of the cliff and look for a hidden cave that is located on the left side of a large detached block that forms the very base of the Altmann formation. This is where the route begins.
There are a couple variations of the Westgrat that begin in other spots, but I don't have any info on these.
P1-From the cave, move up and right through the cleft and then to the first bolt on the left. Chase bolts and pins up easy terrain to a sloping ledge-y area with a large ring bolt. Climb the short headwall (crux) while clipping more bolts. Arrive at a loose ramp and scramble the last 10 meters to a belay ledge with a ring bolt. 30 meters.
P2-From the ring bolt head directly up aiming for the next bolt. Climb up the arete (other crux) which gets easier as you get higher. The arete will come to a broken ledge on the left, almost inside the gully to your left. The ledge has loose rock on it and two pins with a cordelette threaded through them. 30 meters.
P3-From the belay ledge, make an exposed move out right back onto the arete. You are now on the West Ridge. Head up the ridge on easy terrain to another ring bolt. 20 meters.
P4-Now begins the fun ridge climbing. Head straight up the ridge following widely spaced bolts to the next ring bolt. 30 meters.
P5-Easy, easy, easy pitch that essentially just is to move the belay to a higher spot along the ridge. Walk across a small step in the ridge to the next ring bolt. 15 meters.
P6-More moderate ridge climbing brings you to a small flat spot on the ridge with a ring bolt.
P7-Climb the beautiful exposed knife edge ridge to the final summit ridge.
Once at the top of pitch 7, you are still a little ways from the main summit. Walk the very exposed but easy knife edge ridge to the summit. You may still want to stay roped up for this.
Essential Gear10 quickdraws plus several extend-able trad draws. One set of nuts and a couple of medium sized cams may come in handy for protecting the long runouts. With a 60 meter rope it would be possible to link many of the pitches, but this could cause some heinous rope drag. A 50 meter rope otherwise is fine.
External Links-One trip report (in German