Uri-Rotstock is the name for a mountain that looks red and is located in the canton of Uri, the place where Tell was born and and Switzerland was founded in 1291. It overlooks the southern part of the lake of Lucerne and whenever you see a drama or opera about William Tell, the side-scene will show this mountain that has been admired by numerous poets who strolled through central Switzerland over the Gotthardpass to reach Italy.
The reddish color is due to a brown tint of the shale and lime sandstone that forms the triangular summit. Uri-Rotscock is one of the few dominant mountains left, not far away from cities, that cannot be reached by cable car. Other mountains with excellent scenery, like Titlis, Rigi, Pilatus, Brienzer Rothorn, Stanserhorn etc. are all blessed with transportation facilities with beer and sausages.
Although it is a very popular and fascinating mountain, most climbers are locals, look at it daily and must feel a repetive urge to climb it, while foreigners are rarely seen on this gem. But it is easy to get to the base of this mountain. There are several possible routes, some do not pose any difficulties:
1. From Isental (771 m) enter the Kleintal with the possibility to sleep at Musenalp (1486), reach the snowfield of the Kleintal Firn and climb via the saddle 200 m below the top to the summit. From the car park at 1197 m ca. 4 hours, 1800 m of climbing.
2. From Isental enter the Grosstal with the possibility to sleep at Biwaldalp (1694 m), go along the flank of the Schlieren, pass near the Gitschenhoereli bivouac (ca. 2380 m). From there you can either climb directly to the saddle (2826 m, difficulty II, no rope, delicate when wet and difficult when icy) or make a detour to pt. 2740 and walk over the scenic south-east ridge to the saddle. From the parking lot at 1009 m ca. 5-6 hours. 2000 m up with all ups and downs.
3. From Grosstal (pt. 1009 m) with skis, climbing in the valley (Biwald is impossible due to avalanches) over Bösenboden (1615 m) to the Gitschenhoereli bivouac (2380 m), then to the south east ridge at 2740 m, along the east side of this ridge to the saddle. Leave the skis there and walk to the top. Ca. 6 hours. 1900 m uphill.
4. From Ruckhubel hut (2294 m) near Engelberg, to the Engelberger Lücke (2686 m) - Schlossstocklücke (2665 m) and join route 3 at pt. 2740. 3 - 4 hours.
5. From Bannalp (recommended for skiers) to Bannalper Schonegg (2354 m), to Rot Grätli (2559 m) and join route 4 at Engelberger Lücke. In order to get back to your car at Ober Rickenbach, ski down route 3 to St. Jakob (969 m), take the cable car to Gitschenen (1530 m), climb the Sinsgauer Schonegg (2250 m) and ski down to the car (903 m). If you stress skiing more than the wonderful panorama from Uri-Rotstock, then I recommend the nearby Brunnistock (2952 m) which can be reached on skis to the very top. 2400 m downhill skiing!!
6. For easy and nice climbing (III) on lime I recommend to start from Biwaldalp (1694 m), climb the north ridge of the Schlieren (2830 m) and continue to the north ridge of the Uri-Rotstock. 4 hours.
There is an easy way from Biwaldalp to Musenalp over the saddle of the Sassigrat (1886 m) in case you want to climb route 1, go down route 2 and want to get back to your car.
Link for books and maps:
Literature and Maps
Clubführer Urner Alpen West, Verlag Swiss Alpine Club
Alpine Skitouren, Vol 1, Zentralschweiz-Bedrettotal, Verlag Swiss Alpne Club
Map Nr. 1191 Engelberg 1:25'000
Map Nr. 1271 Beckenried 1:25'000
Map Nr. 255 Sustenpass 1:50'000
See the Swisstopo Map
with many interesting features. Upload is in a seperate window.
How To Get There
For most climbs Isenthal (771 m)
is the last little town before you start the climb. It can be reached by car. Leave the autbahn A2 Frankfurt - Milan at Altdorf and follow the sign Seedorf - Isleten, even if you think the many turns are crazy. There is also a bus from Flüelen (train station) and Altdorf. If you have ample time you can take the boat from Lucerne to Isleten. At Isleten, a sharp turn leads into the valley and town Isenthal. It has simple, but clean hotels and priceworthy food and lodging. This is true for the whole valley where people are usually very friendly and open minded.
, 1486 m, walk or drive through the Kleintal (Chlital) to Neihüttli (1197 m). From there in 30 minutes to the
hut with food and mattresses. Starting point only in summer.
, 1694 m, (phone 041-878 11 62 within Switzerland) walk or drive to the parking lot behind St. Jakob, walk along the marked logger road, then alpine path to the hut with bed, mattresses, food and fine cheese. Starting point only in summer.
, ca. 2380 m, actually a bivouc with 15 mattresses. No food. Get the key at Biwaldalp or phone (in winter) 041-878 11 27. Can be reached all year around, except when avalanches boom, either via Biwald (summer) or sticking to the valley (winter).
hut (Swiss Alpine Club), 2294 m, from Engelberg - Ristis (1606 m, cable car). From there nice walk, 2
hours, only in summer. In winter: reach it from Bannalp on ski.
Urnerstafel 1690 m, beds, mattresses, restaurant, open all year. From Wolfenschiessen (between Lucerne and Engelberg) by bus or car to Ober Rickenbach (903 m). Cable car to Bannalp.
When To Climb
Usually in summer (June - October). Skiing is possible, although it is not a popular ski mountain. The ski-routes are rather safe except after heavy snow fall and in warm weather.
For books, maps, webcams, trains, buses, weather, avalanches, rescue
see my list Swiss Links
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