Switzerland - Central

The area around lake Luzern, or Vierwaldstättersee as it is known locally

 

Crag

Cheselenflue is the big impressive cliff that can be seen from the Stockalp to Melchsee Frutt road, or ski piste in winter. It is set in a beautiful location and has a number of friendly multi pitch routes that are well bolted and on generally good rock. It faces due south and so, given good conditions, it is possible to climb here nearly all year round. Clearly when the sun is in full force in the summer, it will be too hot, and when the ledges have snow on them in winter, impractical, but otherwise it dries and warms up quickly.

Number of routes
10
Range of Routes
5c - 7a
Rock Type
Limestone

A relatively easy, but nevertheless interesting, scenic and enjoyable tour. Chli Bielenhorn is a popular destination, and with good reason. Realp is easily accessible by road or train, and the summit is accessible as a one day tour. It can also be used as part of a multi day tour with overnight stops in either the SAC Albert Heim hütte or the more comfortable, but still very reasonable Tiefenbach hotel. The rock architecture and views from the summit are superb. It is not too difficult or dangerous, but at the same time challenging enough.

Start Altitude
2100m
Finish Altitude
2940m
Height gain
900m
Difficulty
WS
Time to climb
3 hours
Crag

 Diamantstock is a granite mountain accessible from the very pleasant Bächlitalhütte. The Grosser Diamantstock is an excellent full day tour that is often underestimated. Despite the relatively easy technical grades, it is still a long day out. Chlyne Diamantstock has has two well bolted routes up it's south face, on excellent rock amidst magnificent alpine scenery. The hut has a small lake behind it, (Bächli beach) and behind the lake is a crag with a few "warm up" routes, in the 4a to 6b range.

Number of routes
2
Range of Routes
4c - 5a
Rock Type
Granite

Engelberg is one of the best resorts in the alps for off piste ski routes, with many excellent and long itineraries. Amongst them the Laub, Titlis, Galtiberg, Sulzi and Wendenstock-Lücke all offer excellent sport on long, steep, beautiful runs. They require little uphill work, but the risk of crevasses, avalanches, route finding or sliding off a cliff mean that they are for experienced off piste skiers only, and should be treated with respect. There have been fatalities on many of the routes described here.

Start Altitude
3000m
Finish Altitude
1000m
Height gain
600m
Difficulty
S
Time to climb
Allow 6 hours from Klein Titlis to Fürenalp
Climbing Area

The mystery of the disappearing guidebook. Have you ever noticed that whereas coat hangers in cupboards seem to breed and multiply on their own accord, guidebooks die and disappear. You buy the thing, use it a couple of times and then a year later it is nowhere to be seen. Where did it go? You carefully put it back on the bookshelf, but somehow in the intervening time it disappeared. Lost? Stolen? Decayed? Who knows? It is to be hoped that Climbapedia follows the coat hanger path, and not the fate of the traditional paper guidebook . You could help here.

Number of routes
100
Crag

Long pitches from the exposed ledge. Make sure your rope is long enough!

Number of routes
15
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

Single pitch sport routes in a big wall setting. Excellent rock, hot when the sun is shining in winter, and too hot to climb if it is shining in the summer.

Number of routes
30
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

Excellent climbing from the exposed ledge

Number of routes
20
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

Short warm up routes away from the main crag

Number of routes
15
Rock Type
Limestone
Skitour

A pleasant tour from a very popular starting location. The climb to the top of Fürstein offers superb views, especially when the Hochnebel is present in the valleys.There are no real difficulties or dangers, and the tour makes for a very nice day out.

Start Altitude
1450m
Finish Altitude
2040m
Height gain
600m
Difficulty
WS
Time to climb
3 hours up, 2 hours down
Crag

A big wall of near perfect granite, Galengrat offers "plaisir pur" rock climbing to within an hour of the summit of Galenstock. Although the route described here is very well bolted, don't be fooled, it is still a big undertaking, that takes time to complete and has some long run outs on the easier sections. Although it is climbed in rock shoes, you will need to carry full alpine equipment (mountain boots, ice axe, possibly crampons) with you. Take 2x50m ropes. It is possible to abseil down the route, but this will involve about 8 abseils with the risk of rope jam.

Number of routes
2
Range of Routes
6a - 6c
Rock Type
Granite

Galenstock is the highest mountain in central Switzerland, and offers a superb ski tour with a moderately difficult mountaineering finish. Situated at the top of the Tiefengletscher, which itself is ringed by half a dozen impressive peaks, Galenstock towers above all of them and offers views over practically the whole of Switzerland.

   
Start Altitude
2543m
Finish Altitude
3586m
Height gain
1100m
Difficulty
ZS
Time to climb
Allow 4 to 5 hours for the ascent

The smooth mountain with a beautiful powder descent. Glatten overlooks Klausenpass but is best reached on skis from the end of Muotothal. A relatively easy, gradual ascent is followed by a slightly steeper variation that lies in the shadow and in good conditions offers perfect powder.

   
Start Altitude
1150m
Finish Altitude
2504m
Height gain
1400m
Difficulty
WS
Time to climb
4 hours
Crag

Hannibal Turm offers friendly, multi pitch climbing, set amongst the beauiful rock scenery surrounding Furkapass, with the added attraction of reaching the summit of a large detached monolith. It is 150m high, with bolts in all the right places and made of beautiful, solid granite. The grades given are for a totally free ascent, although particularly on Conquest of Paradise, this can be reduced by pulling on the gear. But then if you do that, you may as well put a bus stop on the top. Descent is by abseil down the routes.

Number of routes
4
Range of Routes
6a - 6c
Rock Type
Granite

Hengst is the highest point of Schrattenfluh, a unique ridge of limestone pavements. In the summer and autumn, the geology of this is fascinating. In winter it is covered with snow and provides a wonderful area for ski touring, that is neither difficult nor dangerous. Beware early and late season though, some of the cracks in the pavement are deep, and have not been pointed very well! In good weather there are excellent views of the Eiger and the Bernese Oberland.

   
Start Altitude
1071m
Finish Altitude
2091m
Height gain
1000m
Difficulty
WS
Time to climb
2 to 3 hours

An attractive and challenging mountain; what Blümberg lacks in size, it makes up for in quality. The mountain is accessible from the delightful Lidernenhütte,  but does not give itself up easily, with a challenging traverse, and the last few meters on foot. If conditions are not good it is best left for another day due to the risk of avalanche and difficult navigation in poor visibility. The descents however are beautiful, whether back to Käppeliberg, as described here, or all the way down to Muotathal.

Start Altitude
1727m
Finish Altitude
1177m
Height gain
700m
Difficulty
ZS

The Lidernenhütte is an excellent base for ski touring, with half a dozen summits easily accessible from the hut. Here three are described. One, two or all three summits are possible within one day from the top of the Käppeliberg gondola, with an overnight stay at the hut as an option. The tour offers fine views of central Switzerland, without any great difficulty or danger.

Start Altitude
1700m
Finish Altitude
1700m
Height gain
1500m
Difficulty
WS
Time to climb
Hagelstock 1.5hrs, Spilauerstock 45 mins, Rossstock 1.75 hours. Allow 5 to 6 hours for all 3 including descents
Crag

For beauty alone Melchsee is worth a visit. A small ski village resting peacefully alongside a couple of lakes, amid stunning mountain scenery, it has everything for the outdoor enthusiast. In winter, downhill skiing, a couple of pleasant ski tours to Rotsandnollen and Graustock and a long cross country piste going round Tannensee and Engstlensee. In summer mountain biking, fishing, walking and a kilometre long crag full of middle grade rock climbs.

Number of routes
120
Rock Type
Limestone
Skitour

A nice tour, easily accessible from Oberalppass. From the summit, if conditions allow it is possible to ski back to Andermatt, or continue to reach the SAC Maighels hütte, from where more tours are possible. Maighelshütte is one of the sources of the Rhine, where the river starts its 1200km journey to the North Sea at Rotterdam. On its way it will pass through Switerland, Germany, France and Holland. The Rhine is the second longest river in Europe after the Danube.

Start Altitude
2040m
Finish Altitude
2740m
Height gain
700m
Difficulty
WS
Time to climb
2 hours to the summit
Scrambles and Alpine climbs

Rigi Hochflue is the most alpine of the 3 Rigi summits , the only one without a cable car to the top. The summit is pyramid shaped and protected on all sides by cliffs. All the routes to the summit are exposed, but not difficult and offer beautiful views over Vierwaldstättersee.

   
Difficulty
I - easy scrambling
Time required
The walk takes about 4 hours in total
Skitour

A beautiful ski mountain, accessible from either Sustenpass or Göschenen.

   
Start Altitude
1300m
Finish Altitude
3220m
Height gain
2000m
Difficulty
ZS
Time to climb
5 - 6 hours

A popular and very worthwhile tour from Melchsee Frutt. A not too long ascent, beautiful views from the summit and a long descent combine to make this a great day out. Melchsee Frutt is a busy ski resort, and queues in the morning can be long, but the village itself with its lakes, mountain views and traditional atmosphere show the reason why. Once you start the tour though, the crowds are soon left behind. The route itself is not too steep, with just one tricky section on the uphill reaching the col before the summit.

Start Altitude
1902m
Finish Altitude
2700m
Height gain
800m
Difficulty
ZS
Time to climb
About 3 hours up and then 1500m of descent

An impressive and popular peak, Sustenhorn is the largest mountain above Sustenpass and glaciated on both sides. The glacier has many crevasses, both on the steeper lower section, and the upper section. Care is needed, particularly in early winter when the crevasses are not fully filled with snow, Many parties choose not to rope up, but anyone who has been there in summer and seen the number and depth of the crevasses will probably want to!

   
Start Altitude
1865m
Finish Altitude
3503m
Height gain
1700m
Difficulty
WS+
Time to climb
Allow 3 hours to Tierberglihütte, and then 3 hours to the summit

Situated on the corner of Kantons Berne, Uri and Obwalden, Grassen falls just short of 3000m. It has stunning views of the walls of Titlis and the nearby glaciers, as well as one of the most significant ski descents in Central Switzerland.

   
Start Altitude
1450m
Finish Altitude
2946m
Height gain
1500m
Difficulty
ZS+
Time to climb
2.5 hours to Sustlihütte, 2.5 hours to Grassen, and the long descent
Crag

One of Central Switzerland's better crags, Telli has a range of routes from 5c slabs through to steep 8b walls. The rock is generally good, and on the easier routes at least has good holds. Access is relatively easy, with the added attraction of swimming in the lake. It's low, sheltered position also means climbing is possible on sunny winter days, as well as in the shade on hot summer mornings. On hot summer afternoons there is a pleasant deep water soloing crag just below the car park that offers great sport after a hard morning.

Number of routes
50
Range of Routes
5c - 8b
Rock Type
Limestone