The Kingspitz, as the Swiss mountainclimbers say, is the most striking mountain of the Engelhoerner. The Northeast face is considered to be the most elegant and extreme climbing route of limestone peaks in the area. Due to the huge contrast between the idyllic Rosenlauivalley and the great limestone walls of the Engelhoerner the acces of the Ochsenvalley above the Engelhorn hut is overwhelming. This is why the face is sometimes called the "Kingwand".
For a long time the Kingspitz was a test for beginning extreme mountaineers. Nowadays the route is less extreme due to an outstanding clean up of the Mountainguides of the Haslital (in 1989). The route has perfect belays and some bolts in the difficult sections. Still the Via Steuri is a climb for experienced climbers. The acces and the descent require good (alpine) climbing skills and are not allways easy to find.
First ascent: H.Steuri, M.Lüthy and H.Haidegger on the 26. of september 1937.
1. From Meiringen (600 m, tourist center, railroad) a road (bus in summer) leads to Rosenlaui. If you drive by car, follow the main road to Innertkirchen (Susten and Grimsel pass road) for 2 km, at the gas station turn sharp the right and follow the sometimes narrow road to Rosenlaui. Free parking 50 m above the hotel. Here start the paths to the Engelhorn hut and to the Dossen hut. You can either follow the foot path through the forest or through the gorge of Rosenlaui (fee). At 1485 m the two paths meet and and goes zigzag through the forest to about 1700 m where it separates again. Go to the right if you choose the Dossen hut, go left for the Engelhorn hut.
About 1.5 hours from Rosenlaui. (thanks to Alpenkalb!)
2. In stead of going all the way to the Rosenlaui hotel you can use a small road to the Rychenbachalp (1574m.). From here it is only a short hike on a marked way to the hut.
About 1 hour from Rychenbachalp.
To the route (Via Steuri):
You can reach the base of the Northeast Face in 30 minutes from the Engelhorn hut, using the path that goes in the Ochsenvalley (SW direction).
The Via Steuri
Selfdrawn line of the Via Steuri. Click to enlarge!
From the base of the face you'll have climb for about 150 meters to reach the start of the route (III-IV). This part can be tricky because there aren't any bolts and isn't very easy to find.
The first pitch starts on a plateau and has a good bolt to belay. From here the route it not so hard to find. After 10 pitches you'll get to the summitbook, wich is not at the end of the route. After that the route is a little harder to find and has less bolts. Traverse to the right to reach the north-ridge wich leads to the summit. The traverse is marked with a good bolt, don't climb directly to the summit (loose rock).
Starting point: Engelhornhütte(1901 m)
Highest point: summit of the Kingspitz(2621 m)
Height gain: 550 m for the route(+ 150 meters to reach the start)
Time of the ascent: 6 hours
Climbing grade: TD, V+/A0 (V+ obl.). Acording to Topoguide: VI+/VII-
The descent is very long and can be tricky. First descent on W-ridge untill you reach some belays slinges. Rappel into the NW-flank two times. Then descent into the slippery limestone gully. Rappel two times 50m (don't go to early to the right side!). After that there are two ways to go down.
1. Descent over the Ochsensattel towards the Engelhorn hut.
2. Descent towards Rosenlaui.
Time for the descent: 4 hours!