Grauspitz in a Day, Second Failure

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 47.03090°N / 9.34570°E
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Aug 17, 2002
After being "shut out" by time and weather to "bag" the Grauspitz in a day from the Swiss side (south) on August 5, 2002, I returned to try my luck and skills from the Lichtenstein side (north). I slept at Malbun, Lichtenstein, at 1,600 meters elevation. I was surprised at the lack of quality sleep, mostly in anticipation, similar to experiences I had on Whitney the very first time, and I have heard about from other climbers on different mountains. The 70ish year old woman proprietor at the hotel showed some concern that I was going to the Grauspitz alone. I drove to Steg (Swiss Grid Square 762060 220095), Lichtenstein, and started walking at 06:25. I walked south to the Valuna Dairy Farm (1,409 meters at Swiss Coordinates 763164 217111) within 25 minutes. From there, I continued south to the first main trail intersection. I spent some time trying to shoot an azimuth with my Garmin 76MapS Global Positioning System, as well as my ol' reliable military lensatic compass, after orienting it with my 1:25,000 scale topographic map. I could NOT see the darned Grauspitz, as it was obscured y the Hinter Grauspitz (north summit, a few meters lower). Not being able to see the summit, I elected to try the Rappastein (spelled as Rappenstein on the trail signs)Trail, hoping to follow that ridge up to the Grauspitz. I passed the Gapfal Dairy Farm (1,868 meters at Swiss Coordinates 762272 216742) and that is where the paved and gravel roads came to an end, and livestock feces coverd foot trails began. I continued upwards and at 09:25, I reached the Rappanstein (Swiss Coordinates 761542 216167). It was NOT a Swiss Alpine Hut, but rather a large cross, and nothing more! I was a 2,222 meters in elevation there, and FINALLY, I could see the Grauspitz summit for the first time in two trips. I was absolutely demoralized by what I saw from virtually 3 kilometers away. The ridge that I was on dropped far below the altitude I hoped for and led directly to a sheer face below the Grauspitz! I was doomed again! When I saw just how technical the darned thing looked from any direction I realized I was beat again by this beast. I ate breakfast and encountered a total of 11 other hikers up above the Gapfal Dairy Farm. The views there were fantastic, however, the route is worthless for ascending the Grauspitz, so I cannot recommend it. I descended to the first main trail intersection where I took azimuths earlier and determined an unnamed ridge (vicinity Swiss Coordinates 763620 214500) is probably the best approach from the north. However, it must be noted that there is a lot of wet grass, scree, talus, and sheer faces. I only suggest this route as it appears the best, but is not necessarily safe. Ascending was a challenge, but coming down was painful. My knees were "talking" to me and my toes were pretty raw by this time from descending, so I elected to come back a third time, if work permits it. Having seen this beast from the north and the south (except the peak which was shrouded in clouds), my next plan of attack is from the south again, but this time via the Flascher Tal Ridge. I'll probably have to spend a night out there, and take away from the summit in a day effort. Based upon two locals' concerns about the Grauspitz, and my observation of the peak from the north, this may end up being a rope team effort for anyone to have success. If you look at the mountain page, the captions in green are from the Lichtenstein side. You can get a quick appreciation for the challenge involved with this beast. Again, despite lots of rock faces, I never saw any rock climbers practicing anywhere.


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