Start from the Pettneu trailhead.
Easiest route (from the Pettneu trailhead): I would describe the easiest route as a class 2 climb. With almost 6000 ft. in altitude difference between the trailhead and the summit. (can be climbed in a single day) At the trailhead a time of 6 hours to the summit and 3 hours to the Edmund Graf hut is given; most conditioned climbers will be able to reach the summit in 4-5 hours and the Edmund Graf hut in 2.
Section 1: The first 1500 feet are on a double-track dirt road that leads to the supply lift station for the Edmund-Graf Hut. If you are lucky, you might even be able to catch a ride. However, I enjoy the walk as a good warmup with beautiful scenery. You will travel trough the Malfon-Valley along the Malfonbach (stream). On your way you will pass several meadows and cow pastures, providing many opportunities to see marmots. You will also pass the Malfonalpe (a small hut with a limited amount of food available) and along the way there will be several single-track shortcuts.
Section 2: Shortly before you reach the supply lift (a distinct rock formation is visible to your left), the trail turns to the left and the scenery will change significantly. The climb will become steeper and single-track with more switchbacks until you reach the Edmund Graf hut, which is the halfway point (3000 ft altitude gain) and gives you the chance to drink, eat and rest.
Edmund Graf Hut
: At this point several trails meet, one of which goes to the Hoher Riffler. Another trail leads to Eissee (a lake that is usually partially frozen) and then on to the Niederelbe hut (listed time: 4 hours 30 minutes). Another trail leads to the town of Kappl.
Section 3 (to the summit): You will begin by walking on large rocks for about 1000 feet elevation gain but will then come to a chute of loose gravel on a steep slope with multiple switchbacks (which can be hazardous in wet conditions; early in the season this section might be covered in snow, significantly increasing the difficulty). This chute goes to the saddle between the Kleiner Riffler (3014) and Blankahorn (3129). Once you have reached the top of this chute, you can see the Hoher Riffler and look down onto one of the glaciers. From here you have about a half hour of climbing over boulders to reach the pre-summit (approximately 5-10 feet lower than the actual summit). This is as far as most climbers go.
Actual summit: To reach the main summit and the cross, you will have to down climb 30 feet of Class 4 or easy Class 5 and then up climb a 40 foot section of very exposed rock at a difficulty of 5.4.
Climbing down: You can either descend the same route to the Edmund Graf hut or use a slightly longer, more difficult and more exposed route to return to the hut. This route was closed during our climb due to increased rock fall danger.
Blankahorn: Climbing the Blankahorn from the saddle would be a much more difficult climb than the Hoher Riffler and would require at least 400 feet of Class 4 and Class 5 climbing. (I have not climbed the Blankahorn and therefore cannot be more specific.)
Kleiner Riffler (small Riffler): Unlike the Blankahorn, the Kleiner Riffler is a relatively easy walk up. It takes 10-15 minutes from the saddle.
Climbing to the summit via the glaciers: I have not climbed the glaciers but have heard from locals who have climbed to the top of the Riffler across the glaciers. Supposedly the glaciers are very broken up leading to dangerous conditions.
Good, comfortable hiking shoes; hiking poles are helpful. During the offseason more technical gear may be required.
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