The highest mountains of Liechtenstein

View from the Pfälzerhütte, looking to the southwest.

Close by on the left are the steep cliffs on the northwest side of Naafkopf - the summit (2570m) is further left. The grey rock wall a bit further marks the border with Switzerland to the south, with Schwarzhorn (2574m), Vorder Grauspitz (2599m) and Falknis (2560m) as the highest peaks.

The day before taking this photo, I met a local climber who knew the area very well, and I asked him all about this ridge.

From this point of view, the easiest way to get on that ridge is just out of sight: there is a steep, unmarked hiking trail leading to Ijesfürggli (2348m), a saddle just to the left of Schwarzhorn. Following the ridge from there starts easy, but to go directly from Schwarzhorn to Vorder Grauspitz along the ridge means climbing down some very exposed loose rock (UIAA grade II) to the Grauspitzsattel (2502m). A safer but longer alternative is to descend from Schwarzhorn on a ridge extending into Switzerland for a while, turn sharply to your right (to the WNW) when you're comfortable with the terrain ahead, and make your way up a scree slope to the Grauspitzsattel. From there, it's easy to get up to Vorder Grauspitz.

To continue further along the ridge involves more climbing (up to UIAA grade III) over several unnamed peaks to Falknis, where a hiking trail leads to the top.

Even before meeting the local climber, my plan had been to go to Ijesfürggli and somehow make my way to Vorder Grauspitz. I knew about the steep down climbing on the other side of Schwarzhorn as well as the alternative, but was unsure about how hard exactly the climb would be. When he told me it was grade II, very exposed and poor rock, I reckoned I might be able to do it, but I decided to first go to Schwarzhorn. When I would see it, I would make up my mind whether to climb down or take the detour.

24 June 2012.


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