Graue Wand (Grey Wall) is located on the Gletschorn - Schöllenen ridge, just East to Gletschhorn, in the Uri Alps Group, and it's without any doubt one of the best granite climbing destinations of the whole Switzerland. After the super-classic Niedermann route, several high class routes have been climbed on its South face, getting the sun-light from middle morning through the late afternoon.
This wall draws the attention of the climbers in reason of this sunny exposition and the excellent quality of the granite.
Anyhow, the routes are 400 m long and sustained; moreover, the bad weather comes particularly quick in the Furka pass area. Anyhow, the routes are well equipped to abseil. Also the Niedermann, the easiest and super-classic route, one of the most famous granite climbs in Switzerland, mustn't to be taken lightly.
The route Conquest, realized by the brothers Remy in the year 1988, is a wonderful route, offering great granite climbing. The showpiece of the route is the impressive 50 m long and vertical jamming "super–crack”, not very easy to find in the Alps. A must!
The main town in the Furka Pass Area is Andermatt, a little town lying at St. Gotthard Tunnel Northern exit. Andermatt can be suitably approached:
- From the Wallis via Sion, Brig, Gletsch and Furkapass
- From Luzern via Altdorf
- From Bern via Interlaken , Meiringen, Grimselpass, Gletsch and Furkapass
- From Milan (Italy) via Chiasso, Lugano, Bellinzona and the St. Gottard Tunnel
- From Chamonix (France) via Martigny, Brig and Furkapass
The starting point to climb Conquest and the other routes on Graue Wand South face is the Furka pass road, connecting Andermatt on the Eastern side of the pass and Gletsch, on the Western side. From Andermatt take the Furkapass road, reaching the Hotel Tiefenbach m. 2110, along the same road. It’s possible to park here, or alternatively take a military toll-road (7 CHF to be payed before taking the road), starting on the right of the main road, a few hundred meters past the hotel. The gravel road cuts the walking approach time by about 20 minutes and rises with some hairpins to the Tatsch parking m. 2270.
The Graue Wand is often climbed in one day from Tatsch, a longer approach than the one from the Albert-Heim-Hütte. If you want to take it easy, you can eventually spend the night in the shelter.
Walking Approach from Tatsch
From Tatsch follow the path to the Albert Heim Hut. After about 1 hour by walking, the path forks. The right track leads to the hut, just above. If you want to climb the route in one day, leave the path to Albert Heim on the right-hand side and follow a red-white marked path in the main valley, then head to right towards the moraine beneath the clearly visible wall. Climb the snow slopes, sometimes icy and steep in the upper part. (1 hour and 45 minutes from Tatsch)
Walking Approach from Albert Heim Hut
The approach from the hut is shorter (less than 1 hour to reach the starting point of the route). From the hut descent to the path-fork and take the track as for the previous point.
Summit altitude: m. 3172
Difficulty: F7a, F6a obbl. (5.11d)
Equipment: distanced fix, equipped belays
Climbing length: 390 m.
First ascent: Yves and Claude Remy 1988
Starting point: Tatsch parking or Albert Heim Hut
A wonderful climb on superb granite. All the belays are bolted and there are some bolts on every pitch. Anyhow, it's absolutely advisable to bring a full rack, including a few large cams. The route is starting at 2800 m. and running in the middle of the spur located in the left sector of South Face. To find the starting point head towards a light-grey corner and reach a good terrace near the lowest point of the wall.
Conquest report - French scale
L1 - Due to the glacier’s decrease, a few meters more is to climb and the pitch is now 55 meters long respect to the original first rope length. Climb a crack, then a chimney. 6a+, 55 m.
L2 - An easier pitch on the left of the belay near the edge. 5b, 50 m.
L3 - Up on the right of the belay, then slanting left cross the slab towards the main edge. Turn to left and climb an airy ridge to the next belay. 5a, 45 m.
L4 – An other 45 meters pitch leads to the belay under a steep wall 5c, 45 m.
L5 - A great pitch with some hard moves on thin cracks and little walls. 6a+, then 6c 35 m.
L6 – The “super-crack” first pitch. From the belay traverse left and keep the crack. Climb it 6a+, 20 m.
L7 – The “super-crack” continues and becomes much harder, requiring hands and fingers jamming. 7a, 30 m. – (An easier variant is possible on the right)
L8 – Slanting right up another pitch with last difficult moves, 6a+, then 5a, 40 m.
L9 – Follow the last easier pitch to the summit , 5a, then 4a, 40 m.
Descent: rapping the route (8 abseils)
- Free camping is not allowed in Tatsch
- Pay the ticket at the starting of the road towards Tatsch; to be fined is not a pleasant surprise after a day of hard climb...
- Hotel Tiefenbach m. 2110
Other accomodations are possible in Andermatt, where you can find some hotels and campgrounds.
- "Schweiz Plaisir Ost" by Sandro von Känel - Edition Filidor 2015
- "Schweiz Plaisir Ost" by Jurg von Kanel - Edition Filidor
- “Arrampicare in Svizzera” Ed. Versante Sud
- "SAC Guidebook - Urner Alpen" by T. Fullin - A. Bahnholzer
Official Maps of Canton Uri:
CNS - Urseren 1231 1:25.000
CNS - Sustenpass 255 1:50.000