Published by Stijn , 6 August 2017, 11h33.

Region: World » Switzerland » Glarus
Date of the hike: 4 August 2017
Mountaineering grading: PD+
Geo-Tags: CH-GL   Tödigruppe   CH-GR 
Time: 2 days
Height gain: 2550 m 8364 ft.
Height loss: 2550 m 8364 ft.

Day 1
Hinter Sand - Fridolinshütte
800m ascent, 1h45, T3

Just like with our Galenstock tour last month, the weather forecast forces us to find a tour where we can reach the hut from Zürich on Friday afternoon, so we can aim for the summit on Saturday. This time, the choice falls on the Tödi - highest point of canton Glarus as well as the highest mountain that can be seen from downtown Zürich.

We park the car at Tierfehd, where we have booked the Alpentaxi to Hinter Sand. It costs half of my savings for this month, but it's the only way we can reach the Fridolinshütte roughly in time for dinner. The Fridolinshütte is very authentic and the dinner tastes excellent. Only seven people in total are sleeping in the "Tödi" room, but of course there's still a snorer among them.

Day 2
Fridolinshütte - Tödi - Fridolinshütte - Hinter Sand
1750m ascent, 2550m descent, 12h, PD+/WS+

Start from the hut at 3.35am. It's still so warm that you could almost walk in shorts and t-shirt. Ascent in the dark to the historical Grünhornhütte, along fixed cables down to a first bit of glacier, with some crevasse slaloming we reach the via-ferrata-like climb on the Gelbe Wand, which is followed by an endless glacier ascent (and lots more slaloming between crevasses).

It's too hot in the sun, yet too cold in the wind. How do you pick clothes for that?

"I'll try not to look at the altimeter for another 100m."
"I'll try not to look at the altimeter for another 100m."
"I'll try not to look at the altimeter for another 100m."
[I look at my watch.]
"Dammit, that was only 30m? Oh man..."

After a strenuous ascent of just over six hours, we finally reach the summit. The skies have been blue all morning, but of course dense fog starts surrounding the summit just minutes before we get there. Everything is grey and there's an strong, icy wind. Great.

In descent, we follow another party of two climbers who have roughly the same pace. We take a slightly different line and of course we get completely stuck in a maze of crevasses. We end up having to climb back for a bit, and use the GPS to retrace our exact ascent route. This was in good visibility. I can't imagine having to find my way down the glacier in fog...

Then there's the Gelbe Wand again. Down-climbing a via ferrata in crampons is not exactly on top of the list of my favourite activities. Especially not towards the end of a long, exhausting tour.

There's a nice little tarn next to the Fridolinshütte. Unfortunately it's not deep enough for a swim, but the water is still delightfully refreshing.

The difference between descending 2550m and descending 3100m might not sound like much, but it's still enough to also spend the second half of this month's savings on another ride in the Alpentaxi from Hinter Sand back to Tierfehd.

Some more objective remarks
  • Conditions are all-in-all still good. The snow was still surprisingly solid, despite the warm temperatures. Conditions are likely to become more challenging soon, especially at the Randkluft at the Gelbe Wand, as well as at the larger crevasses higher up (where the snow bridges might not be usable for long any more).
  • The "+" in the grade of PD+ mostly refers to the physical endurance required for this route. After 8+ hours, you must still be able to concentrate fully for the tricky down-climb of the Gelbe Wand. The glacier is pretty wild as well, with some massive crevasses.
  • Breakdown of climbing times:
    Fridolinshütte - Gelbe Wand (highest point): 2h45
    Gelbe Wand (highest point) - Tödi: 3h15
    Tödi - Gelbe Wand (highest point): 2h
    Gelbe Wand (highest point) - Fridolinshütte: 2h
  • The Alpentaxi from Linthal/Tierfehd to Hinter Sand costs 30 CHF per person for one way, regardless of the number of passengers.

Hike partners: sudorock, Stijn

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


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