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Tomlishorn SW ridge + Widderfeld Stollenloch

Published by Stijn , 2 April 2017, 12h22.

Region: World » Switzerland » Obwalden
Date of the hike: 1 April 2017
Hiking grading: T5 - Challenging High-level Alpine hike
Climbing grading: II (UIAA Grading System)
Geo-Tags: Pilatusgebiet   CH-NW   CH-OW   CH-LU 
Time: 6:30
Height gain: 1200 m 3936 ft.
Height loss: 1200 m 3936 ft.

I got together a group of four hikers for a scramble on the Tomlishorn south west ridge (also sometimes known as "Tomlishorn south ridge" or "Tomligrat"). Representing Hikr, after she responded to my post in the "Treffpunkt" community, was Domino.

In 2009, ironknee had to write "der Südwestgrat des Tomlishorn ist auf hikr noch ein ziemlich unbeschriebenes Blatt." Eight years later and the ridge has grown into a dell-documented Hikr classic. Still, I have something new to report: the Tomlishorn south-west ridge now has a route book! It was put in place just minutes before we got there. The two locals who installed the log book and its container were still packing up their gear.

Anyway, back to the start. We parked at Lütholdmatt and hiked via Fräkmünt to Tumli. The starting point of the Tomlishorn SW ridge (T5 and II) is directly in the line of the ridge, some 40m south-east of the Tumlialp buildings. There's an old fixed rope here, but it's probably safer not to use it. Almost immediately, we reach a cosy wooden bench. Only the prospect of more exciting scrambling up ahead stops us from taking a longer break here.
The remainder of the ridge can just be discovered as you go along. It's a really enjoyable mix of limestock rock and Schofen. Often several different lines are possible. There are a number of bolts along the way as well. The hardest moves are an upper UIAA grade II (being tall helps) and there are some quite exposed stretches (but these are less technical). Just after the brand new route book, a final steep scramble has a fair amount of loose stones that you need to be careful with. At ca. 1900, the ridge becomes wider, flatter and grassier. The remaining ascent to the Tomlishorn summit is straight-forward.

The weather is warmer and sunnier than expected. Winter already seems ages ago. It's astonishing how fast the snow has disappeared on south-facing slopes. The entire Tomlishorn SW ridge is completely dry and also the fastest descent route through the Tomlishorn west face back to Tumli has hardly any snow left. 

Instead of going down directly, we add the Widderfeld to our hike as well. We head along the foot of the Widderfeld east face, over the stunning rock arches, towards the Stollenloch tunnel. (T4, maybe slightly harder in current conditions, a single snow field at the bottom of the east face is the only point on our entire hike where an ice axe is useful.) We climb the tunnel staircase and follow the blue markings (repainted since my last visit in 2014) up towards the Widderfeld summit plateau. The cable securing the final scramble before reaching the plateau has disappeared, but it wasn't really necessary anyway.

We have a siesta enjoying the sunshine, until we get worried that someone looking at us through binoculars might call Rega to report "four lifeless bodies on the Widderfeld summit". So we finally get going again, following the marked hiking path via Feld and Märenschlag back to Lütholdsmatt.

Hike partners: Domino, Stijn

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


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