Third and final attempt for the Grauspitz solo

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Trip Report
Swiss Canton of Graubunden, Liechtenstein, Europe
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Aug 31, 2002
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Created On: Sep 6, 2002
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After two previous “defeats” by the Grauspitz (2,599 meters), I made one last determined effort to reach the summit. The weather forecast for 31 August was partly cloudy, but for 1 September it was rain. I had tried once before from the Swiss side, and once from the Liechtenstein side. On August 31, 2002, I arrived at the base of the Alplibahn, a small cable car system in Malbun, Graubunden, Switzerland. I got there at 06:35 and was able to get up on the first car on the "test" ride. I departed the top of the Alplibahn at 06:58.
I arrived at Ijes Dairy Farm at about 09:00. I took an unnamed ridge which I shall call Ridge 2304 (for an elevation marked near its top). Just after conducting a map check at 09:40, I got caught by some “quality” rain. I put on my Goretex jacket and pants and sat it out for about an hour. I think my cell phone got fried here. After the rain subsided, I moved on up Ridge 2304. Upon reaching the top of the ridge (763591 2134140), I looked north and saw the Summit Cross and a “razor” sharp ridge between me and it. I was now on the Flasch Ridge, at 2,398 meters, and it was nothing to be taken lightly, especially as a lone climber. I saw a summit to the west without a cross on it, but I could not get a meaningful elevation reading of it. After losing about 90 minutes trying not to give up altitude in order to negotiate this particularly dangerous portion of the ridge, I realized I was not going to be able to pull it off, again. Then I saw a pair of climbers at the Summit Cross, and watched their route selection. They descended toward the Ijesfurggli Saddle. Unfortunately, that was quite a distance with a lot of vertical changes in elevation to get there. I had been there on my first attempt, however, due to clouds, I could not see the objective, and the time ran out to make the last cable car back down the mountain. Defeated, I started to descend, for a third time.
Then I saw a “possibility” via one ridge to the north. I moved north trying to side hill without giving up too much elevation, and I saw what looked like a reasonable route for a lone climber. I made some progress and stopped for another map check at 14:30. I was at 2,437 meters. It started to drizzle and the clouds were reducing visibility to about 100 meters. It was NOT a good situation, but my GPS was ready for the task, and I had plenty of spare batteries on had, as well as my quality compass and 1:25,000 scale topographic map. Was 162 meters short of the summit in terms of elevation, but I was determined to push on considering I did not feel I was in too precarious of a position, considering I had a GPS with plenty of spare battereis, and a compass for a back up. I knew, however, that if visibility dropped to 25 meters or less I was going to be in for a tough and rough descent, with the GPS locked in under my nose.
At 14:55 I saw a figure and finally realized it was a statute, only about 30 meters away, as visibility continued to decline. Then I saw the cross just beyond it, though it faded in and out with the clouds. I went up to the Cross and examined the GPS, which indicated the Grauspitz was still 490 meters away! I was surprised at the 500 meter error on the GPS, and the elevation indicated I was at 2,569 meters elevation. I opened the summit log book holder and read Hinter Grauspitz! I was at the Hinter (back) Grauspitz, at 2,574 meters, not the Grauspitz (2,599 meters). I signed the summit log, took some photos in the fog, and got the heck out of “Dodge,” never able to the see the Grauspitz from this position due to clouds.
I descended the scree fields and made it back to the Ijes Dairy Farm by 17:05. There was no way I was going to make it back to the last Alplibahn Cable Car by 18:00. I walked on, sore and fatigued, however, I made it to the Alplibahn by 19:35. I bedded down on a table for the night and grabbed the first cable car down the mountain in the morning. I did not want to do a lot of walking in the rain which was forecasted for 1 September, that is why I chose to bed down there instead of seeking out an Alpine Club Hut.
In summary, I made it to the Hinter Grauspitz alone. In my opinion, a pair of competent climbers, with ropes and protection, are required to reach the Grauspitz. It has “razor” ridges to the east and west, and walls to the north and south. I think a roped team with protection can make it from the south, via the Schafalpli Bowl, or roped along the “razor” ridges on the east or west. In my opinion, the Grauspitz has no summit cross in order to keep climbers away. The Grauspitz is a serious mountain despite its “low” elevation.


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McCannster - Jul 16, 2006 7:51 pm - Hasn't voted

Serious Mountain yes

...but when approaching from the east ridge from the Hinter Grauspitz, ropes are NOT needed.

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