Gletschhorn Sporn (3220m), "Enfer Doux", 220m, 6a

Up to the Furka pass once more. Same procedure as last time: put the kids to bed on Monday evening and drive up to the parking lot at Tätsch to spend the night. This time Mark joined Luigi and me. The roof tent only sleeps two, so Mark decided to bivvy out in the open. Tough guy ;-) Especially since quite a strong wind picked up in the morning and made it quite chilly.

Good morning beautiful!

Mark's bed.

The famous "Graue Wand", home to lots of great climbs.

We picked "Enfer Doux", another Remy brothers classic of 220 meters or 6 pitches of climbing up the Gletschhorn spur. It requires nearly two and half hours of approach through a wild snow filled valley "Unter dem sonnigen Berg" and up the Tiefen-glacier. Beautiful landscape surrounded by granite walls. Many of which we have already scaled (or tried to...). Lots of reminiscing about past adventures and dreaming about future ones.

View back towards the Albert Heim hut on its outcrop.

On the Tiefengletscher. Our climbis the tower on the right.

Our group was divided on whether it was worth putting on crampons for the steep and icy final few meters...

Finding the wall proved no problem, but agreeing on what the first pitch should be was a little more difficult. We brought two different topos and they disagreed on the exact line and difficulty of the first pitch. We settled on the more obvious one that also had a more convenient spot to get off the snow and store our gear. Luigi led the first warmup pitch. And despite super hot temperatures in the valley, a warmup was necessary! We actually wore gloves and down jackets in the cold wind.

Mark's lead.

Colder than it looks!

The route features super comfortable belays.

It was Mark's turn to lead the second pitch, the first "real" one, graded 5c. He had been sick a lot this year and didn't get much training. It was a high gravity day for him and he pulled on gear, deciding to leave the remaining leads to Luigi and me. I'm glad he decided to stick it out - thank you Mark! - the route turned into a true treat. Homogenous difficulties in the 5c range brought us up to the two final pitches: a trivial but super fun 5b and the glorious 6a finale up the summit tower. Luigi was adamant about leading that one because I got the crux on our previous outing. And what a pitch it was! Very exposed and steep. At first following a beautiful crack on the smooth red wall, then tiny ledges up to the summit. Luigi was making weird orgasm noises all the way up ;-)

This is where the climbing started getting really good.

Me leading through the dihedral.

Mark and Luigi coming up.

Despite the Remy brother's reputation for sandbagged and sparsely protected routes I think this route was actually appropriately graded and well protected. A true plaisir climb. Highly recommended. You don't have to take my word for it - this is another climb honored by inclusion in the "Dreams of Switzerland" selection guidebook.

A large ledge as a belay anchor. Luckily the anchor was just reachable behind the snow.
Working up a slightly overhanging crack. Fantastic!

Wave to the crowd.

Luigi leading the crux.

On top.

Just look at that wall!

Mark and I following up the headwall.

Ooooh yeah!

Mark topping out.

Summit selfie!


More rappelling.

How's this for a coke commercial? I dropped my bottle of coke and retrieved it from the glacier on the way down. Chilled ;-)

Surfing down the soft snow next to a waterfall. Life is good.

So much rock. So much to do.


Climbing Holzegg

The weather forecast predicted storm cells moving through the area the entire day. This didn't allow for big outings, but we still wanted to squeeze some climbing in between the rain. We settled on Holzegg - familiar, easy to get to, easy to bail from. And this time we brought the families to see how the kids would like it. A big group: Luigi, Luigi, Silvia, Marzia, Christian, Björn, Anita, Lukas, Leonie and me. With rain on the horizon and the kids in tow, we broke our usual rule and took the cable car. Shame on us.

Christian taking a selfie.

Silvia and Marzia coming down.

Björn and Christian coming up.

Björn and Christian were a bit rusty with no outdoor experience this season. So the three of us teamed up on a two pitch route. This turned out to be a bad choice. For one thing, Leonie was eager to go climbing with her dad, and having led the first pitch, I was still stuck on the wall. For another, we'd end up still on the wall when the rain caught up with us. Anyway. I led the first easy pitch and then Christian volunteered for the second, 6a+. Far from rusty he just cruised up. Then Björn did the same. Then the rain hit us before I got a chance ;-(

Christian leading the second pitch.

I was mainly a belay bitch that day.


Can't win every time. At least the kids escaped to the cable car in time to avoid getting drenched. And while they didn't get to do any real climbing, they did get to scramble around on the scree and experience a proper thunderstorm in the mountains. Leonie was slightly disappointed about the climbing, but overall looked back at the trip as a great adventure. So I guess it was still a success.


Still dry, still smiling.

The kids cave.



Climbing Winterstock Turm I (2870m), "Mangolyto", 260m, 6a+

Luigi and I put the kids to bed on Tuesday and drove up to Furka pass immediately afterwards. Furka is notorious for bad weather, so a stable window of good weather must be taken advantage of. We parked at the parking lot/campground Tätsch at 2270 meters altitude and spent the night in Luigi's roof tent. Woke up by 6:30 in the morning (didn't even need an alarm clock ;-)) and started the approach by 7:30. The trail leads past the Albert Heim hut towards the Winterlücke through wild valleys with lots of meltwater creeks. I had a bit of a "Motörhead day", feeling weak and under the weather. Maybe it was just the altitude, but Luigi had to wait for me several times and I wasn't confident about the climb at all. This changed dramatically after we finally laid hand on the rock after two hours of hiking.

Good morning! What a view to wake up to!

30°C plus in Zürich, frozen puddles for us.

On the approach.

I led the first one and a half pitches. One and a half, because the first pitch was still mostly burried under snow so that we could link the first two. Climbing reinvigorated me. The weather was glorious and the rock and route some of the best I have climbed in my life. The route "Mangolyto" made it into the best-of guidebook "Dreams of Switzerland". It fully deserves this honor. Varied climbing on beautifully structured bomber rock. Homogenous and sustained difficulty all the way. The lower pitches are mostly cracks and some dihedrals while the upper pitches feature big athletic moves on huge jugs. Tons of fun either way. If there's one blemish on this route, it's that it is not always following the most logical line. Sometimes it is artificially chasing interesting or difficult climbing instead of following the naturally weakest line in the rock.

Someone built a pool to go with a perfect bivvy spot under a large boulder.

At the base of our climb.

We had the entire wall to ourselves until we started to rappel. Another party, that we could see approaching from miles away, had finally caught up and started climbing our route. They were super slow and at this rate would never make it to the top in time. They realized this themselves in pitch three and bailed. Except for a minor slip of the foot when I led the crux 6a+ pitch, it was a clean ascent for Luigi and me. A tiny damper on an otherwise perfect climb and day. We drove back to Zürich where I immediately got onto my bike to race to a picnic at the lake with my team from work. A nice finale for a great day out. Except for the two hour car ride back home I was active non-stop from 6:30AM to 11PM with nothing but a small breakfast for sustenance. This made the evening cider and Aperol Spritz at the lake extremely potent ;-)

Nearly at the top of pitch two.

Oooh Yeah!

Luigi in the final meters of the crux pitch.

Dance baby!

A nice 5c pitch.

An easy, but athletic pitch. You got to enjoy some big, bold moves pulling yourself up over small roofs. Extremely satisfying.

The final pitches follow the ridge and are extremely eposed and fun.

Luigi in front of expansive landscape.

Summit selfie.

Can't go higher from here ;-)

The only other party on the mountain that day. Just before they bailed.

Surfing down the soft snow. Hiking boots make for the world's shortest skis.

Contemplating a bath in the pristine water.

We climbed the tower on the right. But we were remarking on all the beautiful "penises" surrounding us in every direction. We'll return to climb them! (Lay hand on them? Grip them?)

We'll be back!