This trip report is in reference to a single day effort to summit the Grauspitz, Lichtenstein's highest mountain. All coordinates are in Swiss Grid Coordinates. All elevations are in meters. My intent was to (1) find this mysterious mountain, (2) bag the peak in one day and (3) train for Mont Blanc. This was a solo effort. Also, I had to be on the last cable car down the mountain (17:00) since I had to be at work the next day. Hence, my self appointed turn around time was 12:30. It had rained Saturday and Sunday so those days were "shot."
I took the first morning cable car called the Alplibahn from 607 meters to 1,801 meters, at 08:00. I had planned to ascend via the Swiss Alpine Club marked trail to the Falknis (Falcon's Nest), then "rock hop and scramble" about 1,500 meters east to the Grauspitz. While ascending the Alplibahn, I spoke with a 72 year old employee who worked much of his life in the mountains of the area. He was surprised that anyone was even interested in the Grauspitz, as there are no quality trails to it. Most hikers go around it to the west, at the Falknis. Anyway, after showing him my route selection, he suggested I approach from Ijes Dairy Farm, which was to the east of the Grauspitz. He mentioned it would still not be "easy" due to the steep ridgeline, but felt it could be done in my limited amount of time.
I employed a locally produced 1:25,000 scale topographic map with times and distances marked for the various trails. The established trails were varied from paved roads, to gravel roads, to mud and cow feces "mined" roads. My gaiters were a real blessing the entire day.
I arrived at Ijes Dairy Farm at 10:30 and began to trail blaze toward a saddle with what appeared to be a trail from the distance. It should be noted that the weather was comfortable, but visibility was limited. I came close to stepping on a mortar tail fin in the talus/scree enroute to the saddle. It was also frustrating that one of my trekking poles failed on me and was constantly getting pulled out of alignment. Furthermore, the heavy dew was very slippery my entire time out there. Thanks again to my gaiters for keeping my socks dry.
At 12:15 I reached my turn around time, and still never saw the summit up close due to clouds. Based upon my map, GPS, and azimuth (130 degrees magnetic) to Ijes Dairy Farm (764907 213069), I was located at 763748 214068, 1,000 meters to the east of the Grauspitz (762865 213509), and about 232 meters too low in elevation. At least I was on the proper ridgeline. Seeing the time situation and the sharp and wet ridgeline leading to the Grauspitz, I knew I was doomed and had to turn around, hopefully to return another day. I would not take the same route in the future, but rather aim for the Grauspitz a little more to the west (500 meters?) than where I tried. I had been able to look below the clouds into Lichtenstein and the route there looked a little more "civilized, " but there were still some major steep faces and ridges to be dealth with!
I returned to the Alplibahn (763458 209067) at 15:45, with an hour and 15 minutes to spare. I was pleased with the 1 hour "safety" margin, "just in case."
This is quite a challenge to summit in a single day.
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