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Europaleiter, Haupt, Hochstollen

Published by Stijn , 5 October 2016, 18h20.

Region: World » Switzerland » Obwalden
Date of the hike: 1 October 2016
Hiking grading: T5 - Challenging High-level Alpine hike
Climbing grading: II (UIAA Grading System)
Geo-Tags: Westliche Melchtaler Alpen   CH-OW   Östliche Melchtaler Alpen   CH-BE 
Time: 6:15
Height gain: 1100 m 3608 ft.
Height loss: 1100 m 3608 ft.

Hikr-Treff 2016; the first Hikr meetup where I participate. Uncertain about how long the weather would remain stable, I decided to start hiking straight away upon arrival in Melchsee-Frutt on Saturday morning, and only meet up with the other Hikrs later on. Or maybe I would run into some of them on the mountain?


From Melchsee-Frutt, I walk past the Blauwsee and onto the white-blue-white path towards the Haupt (or Brünig Haupt). The path is a little vague in places until it reaches the Leiteren ridge at the top of the Europaleiter. This 50m ladder allows a descent on the other side of the ridge towards the Seefeldsee. It is possible to use a via ferrata set here, which I do as well. The ladder is very stable, but also very exposed and near-vertical (more so than e.g. the ladders on the Salbit-Höhenweg).

From the bottom of the ladder, a path marked (very frequently) with blue dots leads down towards the Seefeldsee. I want to traverse towards the Haupt west face, but since I can't see into this traverse very well, I follow the blue dots almost until P. 1966. From here, I can see that a traverse higher up would also have been possible (and probably preferable). Leaving the marked path, there are no traces to be found in the grass-and-scree slopes, but it doesn't matter which line you take exactly anyway. The aim should be clear: to reach the bottom of the ramp through the Haupt west face that reaches the summit from the south-west. The route looks quite daunting from below, but there is no doubt that this is the correct way, because otherwise there's nothing but impassable vertical walls.

After some steep terrain at the bottom of the ramp, there is a large blue arrow that confirms that this is the way up. Further on, there are sporadic vague white-blue-white markings. The route is pretty simple anyway: just keep going up as much as possible. The ramp (T5) is pretty steep and exposed in places, but for the most part there are good steps in the ground. One exposed section on rather slippery rock is well-protected with a trustworthy chain and a fixed rope. There's also a fixed chain at the last obstacle before the summit, where you have to scramble up a little wall (less exposed but slightly more technical (II) than the rest of the route). The route tops out at the north summit (cairn with a ripped flag and a log book), from where the main summit is easily reached. A new summit cross was flown in just the day before. Soon after me, two locals arrive to continue with the installation of the cross.

The descent along the normal route (T5) is officially marked white-blue-white and well-maintained with relatively new fixed cables. Still, it's not to be underestimated. Coming from the summit, a first crux involves a short scramble directly on the sharp ridge: easy in theory, but not for the faint-hearted! The route subsequently descends into the east face and into a diagonal gully. A dramatic exposed traverse at the bottom of the gully is not as bad as it looks, thanks to the grippy limestone rock, and there are slings anchored into the wall to hold on to as well. Now directly below the Murmelchopf / Chli Haupt, the route starts climbing again, with a narrow chimney (II) being the last major obstacle. Using the chain to quickly pull yourself up might be the easier solution here, because you easily get stuck when you try to scramble up deeper inside the chimney, especially with a larger backpack. From the the cairn at the top of the chimney, a steep ascent brings you back to the ridge just south of the Murmelchopf. The top of the Europeleiter is quickly reached from here.

At the Europaleiter, I run into roger_hWoPo1961 and their following. They are headed in the other direction and still want to climb the Haupt. After a quick introduction, we split ways again. I add another little loop to my hike, following the ridge (unmarked path, T3) to Abgschütz and then the white-red-white marked hiking path to the Hochstollen summit. The views towards the Berner Oberland are somewhat hazy, but still spectacular. I descend through the steep scree couloir of Wit Ris. The terrain in the couloir looks horrible but actually allows a surprisingly quick and pleasant descent (T4, sporadic white-blue-white markings). There is a huge white-blue-white marking at the top of the Wit Ris couloir. However this marking when coming from the south! When coming from the top of the Hochstollen, the couloir is easily missed, especially in bad visibility (I'm speaking from earlier experience...).

Back down near P. 1989, I am soon joined by MicheleK (coming behind me after climbing Glogghüs) and the roger_h group who all successfully reached the Haupt summit. All together, we end up at the Fusch- und Hasenbeiz for pre-drinks, before heading to the Clubhaus for a jolly evening with all the remaining Hikrs.


Merci roger_hWoPo1961 und laponia41 für die Organisation und für das Fondue. Danke an alle andere Teilnehmer für die gute Laune und interessante Gespräche. Hat mich gefreut euch alle kennen zu lernen.

Hike partners: Stijn

Click to draw, click on the last point to end drawing


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