Leukerbad Via Ferrata onto the Daubenhorn


Publiziert von Stijn , 9. August 2015 um 21:19.

Region: Welt » Schweiz » Wallis » Mittelwallis
Tour Datum: 7 August 2015
Klettersteig Schwierigkeit: SS
Wegpunkte:
Geo-Tags: CH-VS 
Zeitbedarf: 6:45
Aufstieg: 1050 m
Abstieg: 1050 m

The Leukerbad via ferrata onto the Daubenhorn is the longest and one of the hardest in Switzerland. The via ferrata goes on almost without interruption for a vertical kilometre. In order to make an early start possible and still get a good night's rest, I already travelled to Leukerbad on Thursday evening.

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It's a beautiful Friday morning. I meet Stefan, whom I got in touch with through Kletterportal, who arrives with the 8.21 bus. Annoyingly, the cable car to the Gemmipass could not be timed any worse, as we just miss the 8.30 ride and have to wait 25 minutes for the next cable car. So much for an early start...

From the Gemmipass, we descend some 250m on the hiking path to Leukerbad. An information panel and yellow paint marks indicate the start of the approach path to the via ferrata. The first part (the so-called "little" via ferrata) starts gently with a long traverse. Rather suddenly, the route starts climbing properly. At first, there's a lot of rock contact. Subsequently, a long sequence of ladders passes the Swiss flag which is visible from Leukerbad. The little via ferrata deservers a K4 grade on its own. We are stuck for a while behind a large group of 13 (!) Czech climbers, some of whom are already having serious struggles here. The little via ferrata ends on a grassy terrace (clearly visible from the Hotel Wildstrubel terrace at the Gemmipass) at Obere Gemsfreiheit. Those who had trouble on the first part of the route, should definitely take the escape route down to Leukerbad here. Those aiming for the Daubenhorn, have only done a third of the climb!

After a short traverse, the "big" via ferrata starts climbing a big wall that offers some nice scrambling. There seems to be a new variation including a wire bridge under construction here. The route then goes through a cave for almost 100m. Two variations are available in the cave. We take the difficult one, a nice route that requires some technique and muscle power (K5+). Entering into daylight again, the via ferrata remains intensive until reaching a rocky viewpoint. This is the first comfortable resting place since Obere Gemsfreiheit 350m lower!

The final 300m of ascent are less intensive. However, first we get one final thrill with the "via Konst". This optional variation takes us through a tunnel onto a vertical wall with a 1300m drop down to Leukerbad under our feet. Technically, the via Konst is not as difficult as the variation in the cave, but it's definitely not for the faint-hearted! Reaching the normal route again, some sections of hiking and easier via ferrata follow. The route then culminates in a final 30m tall ladder. At the top of the ladder, there's a log book and donation box. The summit of the Daubenhorn is reached by a 5 minute hike towards the north.

The descent starts on an unmarked path through scree down to the remains of the Daubenhorn glacier, which can usually be crossed without special equipment. At the north-west corner of the glacier, cairns and red-white paint indicate the start of the marked descent path. After losing altitude quickly down to Lämmerenboden, the final 2.5 km to the Gemmipass are almost completely flat.

It's time for relaxing now, with a beer at the Berghotel Wildstrubel and a swim at the Therme down in Leukerbad.

The 19:10 bus from Leukerbad offers a quick but risky connection towards Visp/Bern/Zürich. Though the connection is on the official SBB schedule, you have just 2 minutes to change from bus onto train at Leuk. Moreover, the bus driver only sells tickets to Leuk, so you need to rush to the ticket machines at Leuk railway station as well... (Or better: buy a ticket for the whole journey in advance if you intend to take this connection.) It's a small miracle that I manage to catch the train. I might as well have missed it, though. For the one time that I'm actually intending to get some dinner on the train, the Visp-Zürich train is exceptionally running without bistro. My empty stomach forces me off the train in Bern in search for some food, so that I have to wait for the next connection anyway...

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Though the technical difficulties are not as extreme as they could be (K5, maybe K5+ due to the length), the Leukerbad via ferrata is not to be underestimated. A decent climbing technique can make a big difference by not tiring your arms too much from pulling yourself up on the cable. For experienced ferratisti, the guideline total time of 8 hour will be rather generous. We took 6h45 to get back to the Gemmipass and we could easily have been half an hour faster without traffic jams on the route. On the other hand, on a nice weekend, the delays due to slow groups on the via ferrata will probably be much larger still. An overnight stay at the Berghotel Wildstrubel would be a good way to ensure that you're first on the route. Indeed, the epic via ferrata adventure on the Daubenhorn is well worth an additional overnight stay.

Tourengänger: Stijn


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