S-face Couloir and SE-ridge (Normal way)

Page Type
Switzerland, Europe
Route Type:
Combined climb.
Time Required:
Half a day
AD+ (max. 50° in the couloir and UIAA II+ on the ridge)

Route Quality: 2 Votes

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S-face Couloir and SE-ridge (Normal way)
Created On: Apr 9, 2002
Last Edited On: Apr 13, 2002


You start from the Aar-Bivouac (Check out the "How to get there" - section !)

Route Description

You ascend the Strahlegg-Glacier in a NE direction. It might be difficult to find the slopes of the Strahlegg-Glacier in the dark (check it out the evening before !!) Then traverse underneath the SW-faces of the "Klein Lauteraarhorn" at approx. 3200 - 3300m until you reach the beginning of the S-face couloir. Depending on the snow/ice-conditions climb the couloir directly ! CAUTION ! Several fatal avalanche-accidents have happened, because people started climbing the couloir too late in the morning ! If the snow is not deeply frozen, don't enter the couloir ! Be quick and be early ! if the snow is not frozen you can also use the loose rocks on the right side (west) of the couloir to ascend. Once you reach the Lauteraarjoch (3915m) the SE-ridge starts. There is nice, hard rock which is a pleasure to climb ! The postion is unique!

The wy down: Usually you descend the same way down ! For those who came with their ski, it's great fun to ski down the couloir !

AGAIN CAUTION !!!!: If the snow is too soft there is a great risk to create deadly avalanches ! If you're not sure use the rocks on the side (west) of the couloir to descend !

There is also the possibilty to proceed to the Schreckhorn...


Essential Gear

You will need crampons, maybe two ice-axes, rope, ice -screws (if there is no ice it's almost impossible to use the rope efficiently in the couloir!!), a few slings for the ridge.
If you use skis, consider that the couloir is quite narrow in the beginning and there is no run-out ! If you fall, you'll find yourself 1000m down on the glacier...
Additional gear: Remember that you have to be absolutely self-dependent on that mountain (no hut, very few or no other climbers, no food, no gas/wood ...). Bring a stove, food for three days, ...
The way out: Don't forget that once you're back at the bivouac, it's still a 19km-walk back to the Grimsel-pass across glaciers and maybe in the searing afternoon-sun !

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Maps and SAC-Guide books needed

You will need the following maps of Switzerland:

LK 1250 ("Ulrichen"), scale 1:25000
LK 1229 ("Grindelwald"), scale 1:25000
LK 1249 ("Finsteraarhorn"), scale 1:25000

You might want to check for the following SAC Guide-Book:

Clubführer Berner Alpen 5 ("Von Grindelwald zur Grimsel"), Author: Ueli Mosimann, 1996 (ISBN: 3 85902 155-9)

S-face Couloir and SE-ridge (Normal way)

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