Raaberg East and West – an interesting and surprisingly easy traverse above the sea of fog

Published by 360 Pro , 18 November 2008, 15h52.

Region: World » Switzerland » St.Gallen
Date of the hike:16 November 2008
Hiking grading: T5- - Challenging High-level Alpine hike
Climbing grading: II (UIAA Grading System)
Geo-Tags: Speer-Mattstock   CH-SG 
Access to start point:Sesselbahn Mattstock cff logo Amden, Post
Access to end point:cff logo Amden, Post

So far I have only visited Raaberg West (P.1779 on the 25K Map), once in spring and once in fall, but not the actual Raaberg (P. 1723) as described in the SAC guide. The description in there is not really all that “appetizing”:
“Der Berg wird selten bestiegen, denn jähe Rasenhänge und ein Legföhrengürtel erschweren den Zugang”
"458 Über die Ostseite Am wenigsten unbequemer Zugang. Im steilen Gelände leistet ein Pickel gute Dienste."
"...  und [man] arbeitet sich durch einen Legföhrengürtel zur freien Spitze hinauf"
But then again, doesn't such a description sound like a little adventure too?

Equipped with a pick and crampons I started my hike at cff logo Amden, Post, walking up to Hinter Höhi along the marked path via Holzli – Fallen – Teufenboden and Gäudig. At an altitude of ca. 1050 meters I got out of the very thick fog – as most of you probably know this is always an extremely nice feeling. From the Hinter Höhi I then walked along the street to the huts of Alp Raa and approximately 200 meters north of the huts, I went up to the saddle between the fore summit southeast of P. 1723 and the actual summit. Since there was about 15 cm of snow in this rather steep north facing couloir, the pick was helpful, but not really necessary.

From the saddle up to the summit I followed the steep grass slope (intermingled with some rocks) on the eastern side of the SE ridge, which was snow free and didn’t pose any real difficulties. The dreaded knee pine belt described to be so difficult to get through in the SAC guide, is only about 20 meters wide and is not so bad after all. If you’ve done the West ridge up to Leistchamm this will be “plasir” for you (gell ossi!). Under dry conditions, I would rate this route up to Raaberg a T4 and I really think a pick is not necessary - with snow or in case it’s wet it might be rated a T5.

Even though the SAC guide discourages from the traverse Walau – Raaberg, I tried it anyway – because it didn’t look difficult or dangerous to me at all. Always staying right below the knee pine belt on the south side, I traversed to a couloir shortly before P. 1779, about 50 meters below the summit (T4). From there I found a relatively easy access through the rocks (II) bearing slightly left, ending directly below the summit rock with the sculpture on P.1779. The most difficult part is to actually climb this rock with the sculpture, especially on this day when the rock on the shady side was covered with snow and ice.

For my way back down to Amden, I continued westwards along the ridge and rocks (quite exposed, II, T5) and then down the pretty steep slope to the top station of the ski lift Bärenfall. From there I then hiked down to Schletteren, Walau and Hinteraltschen and laid in the sun for a while (I actually fell asleep and woke up about an hour later…)

I didn’t expect the Sesselbahn from Niderschlag down to Amden to run at this time of the year, but since it did (and the people at the lift told me they always do on nice weekends), I decided to take it. In fact it was a unique experience to dive into the see of fog, when the visibility changed from kilometers to a few meters within seconds!

PS: One last remark for the “knee pine addicted”: If you really want to fight with knee pines, I think there would be a possibility to follow the ridge from P. 1723 all the way to P. 1779 (see this picture), but masochistic traits would definitely be a requirement for doing such a route :-)

cff logo Amden, Post – Holzli – Fallen – Teufenboden – Gäudig – Hinter Höhi – Raa – Raaberg (P. 1723) – Raaberg West (P. 1779) - Bärenfall – Schletteren – Walau – Hinteraltschen – Niderschlag – Sesselbahn Mattstockcff logo Amden, Post

Hike partners: 360


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