Mattstock Southwest Ridge – an unusual but attractive way up to the well-known with a hairy T6 start

Published by 360 Pro , 18 May 2009, 12h26.

Region: World » Switzerland » St.Gallen
Date of the hike:17 May 2009
Hiking grading: T6 - Difficult High-level Alpine hike
Climbing grading: II (UIAA Grading System)
Geo-Tags: CH-SG   Speer-Mattstock   Zürcher Hausberge 
Access to start point:cff logo Amden, Post
Access to end point:cff logo Amden, Post

The southwest ridge of the Mattstock isn’t really an unknown for a lot of climbers, but for hikers it definitely is, because the absolute majority takes the marked path up to the summit. Due to the fact that there are numerous climbing routes southwest of the Mattstock, its southwest ridge has very clear path traces almost all the way, stemming from climbers who also visit the main summit of the Mattstock after climbing up to the SW ridge. In fact somebody even cut back most of the annoying knee pines on the way.

For the way up to the southwest ridge the SAC guide recommends to use the descending route of the climbers near the westliche Südostwandplatten which supposedly is equipped with chains, or, take a steep grass slope further south. Since I didn’t want to take the descending route of the climbers and mistook the “Südostwandplatten” for the “westliche Südostwandplatten”, I went up to the ridge in a hairy T6 way, which I wouldn’t necessarily recommend to repeat. Anyway, hiking the ridge then was a joyful and scenic T5-adventure.

From cff logo Amden, Post I walked along the marked path to the top station of the cable car at Niderschlag and further to Walau. There I followed the street going west to its end at P. 1506, where a marked path takes you up to the Obloch. There you can see the numerous climbing routes and lots of path traces leading to them. I first followed the bottom of the walls to (I thought) the southwest end and went up a steep couloir which was still more or less filled with snow. I thought this was the steep grass slope going up to the ridge south of the “westliche Südostplatten”, but it turned out that I was actually east of them. After a while there is a couloir leading the way up on the right side, it gets steeper and steep and at its end there is a little cave. From there I then followed a crack on the right-hand side getting into extremely exposed terrain. At the end of it the life-saving knee pine belt up on the ridge is about 5 meters away and climbing up to it (II+) was rather nerve-racking. I was glad to finally reach the ridge. At this point I didn’t really realize yet that I went up the “wrong” way, but thought that it was definitely a T6 and not only a T5 like somebody told me. (here is a picture of my route)

Following the ridge all the way to the summit then was scenic and very joyful. There are clear path traces all the way. It is rather exposed in some places and quite some scrambling is required, but nothing too serious. The most difficult part is probably climbing down the 20 meters from the Grosse Nase (P.1906) to the ridge over to the Kleine Nase. It involves some rather exposed climbing in the second degree (see this picture). There are also some other short climbing sections, but they are all moderately difficult even though from far they sometimes don’t look like it.

Of course there were lots of people on the summit already and some looked rather frightened when they saw me coming up the unusual way. I took a short break and chatted with another guy for a while before I started my way down. I didn’t feel like walking down the marked path with lots and lots of hikers coming up, so I left the path and instead followed the northeast ridge for a while. From ossi’s and Delta’s reports (here and here) and what I read about it in the SAC guide, I knew it would be more of a fight with knee pines than joyfully walking the ridge. And indeed it is… I only followed it for a few hundred meters and afterwards decided to go down to Bärenfall instead (T5 II). From there I then followed the path back down to cff logo Amden, Post

cff logo Amden, Post - Niderschlag - Walau - P. 1506 - Obloch - SW ridge - Grosse Nase - Kleine Nase - Mattstock - Bärenfall - Walau - Niderschlag - cff logo Amden, Post

Hike partners: 360


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ossi says: Fine...
Sent 18 May 2009, 15h43
This was one of my first alpine hikes and the my coming out as "knee pine lover". The usual way up to the ridge is quite easy with some "Fixseile".


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