/ Low grade multi pitch sport route in the alps
My friends and I are aging but enthusiastic climbers, and we would love to send an easy multi-pitch alpine sport route in Europe - can anyone recommend a good route? Would ideally be 5 or lower. Our rope work and safety are good, but we are getting too long in the tooth for the hard stuff.
loads in Ailefroide
Yes an excellent suggestion
I agree about Ailefroide. Another venue is La Berarde, on the other side of the Ecrins massif (a lovely spot which is somewhat easier to reach by car). Pujolidal on the Tete de la Maye is the easiest route on that big crag, but there are other options - such as the Voie Boell on the Aig. Dibona.
More about Alpendurst...
When I say long, don't read too much into "13 pitches". The route is a bit over 300m so each pitch is only about 25m, not full rope lengths. It finishes right at the summit of a pointy 3000m+ peak. You'll see from the log books the route takes about 1-1.5hrs walk-in (from the lift), 3-4hrs to do the route and about 1hr to descend back to the lift with a little scrambling on a well marked path. So even if you take your time over lunch on the summit it's still not a massive day. There's a Via Ferrata route on the same peak but to do that first would I think, spoil the excitement of summiting via Alpendurst. The Mittaghorn VF would be a better warm-up. If Alpendurst goes well you could also do South Rib - Südkante (AD) which has more of a "mountaineering" feel to it without really being any harder. The other route there (Panorama (5c)) is a a good bit harder. There are two or three single pitch valley crags in the area. As well as lot's of other walks another worthwhile but strenuous objective on a trip there would to tackle the 4hrs walk/scramble up to the Mishable hutte with possible overnight in the hut.
Second vote for Pujolidal on the Tete de la Maye, good route, though the easy (?) ground following the last pitch leading up to the path down, needs a steady head. It is possible to abseil down but could be very anti social if other parties are on the crag.
For easy but alpine climbing the two places that spring to mind in Switzerland are Wiwanni and Orny.
Wiwanni has the classic Steinadlerroute (5a) and lots of other easy multi-pitch.
Both huts are nice and there's enough to do for several days without getting bored.
I did a really nice 5b in the Val d'Aosta on the Arnad cliff in 2018. Perfectly protected and nice slab climbing on knobby granite. Likewise my daughter did a 4c somewhere in the val ferret, above Coeurmayeur. There is much more in this grade range, with lots of bolts in this area. Sorry, I can't give route names, my aging memory is a bit foggy, but it's worthwhile to investigate this area.
We also had a fantastic time this year in La Berarde, but I climbed mostly grade 6 routes. Some friends were more into the 5's though and enjoyed it a lot. Likewise on the other side of the mountains around briancon there is loads of stuff. I climbed a 200 meter 5c above the camping in Freissineires, Again no idea about the routename anymore, but there is a guide book Briancon climbs with loads more options. There is much more then just Aillefroide in this area. That camping is very nice too, large spots, shaddy under the trees and mostly mountain active people.
I'd recommend getting hold of the Swiss Plaisir guides to help with your search. They contain selected sports and trad routes of all lengths and levels of commitment, depending on what you're looking for/weather etc.
Alpendurst (4c) also sprung straight to my mind, and you've had some good feedback on that route already. Also spectacularly situated a little further up the Saas valley is the Dri Horlini right next to the idyllic Almageller Hut. This ridge of good quality Gneiss hosts some excellent F5 multipitch routes (up to around 7 pitches), a bit more technical than the Jegihorn route, but never too hard, we did Take it Easy (5a)Hittuliecht (5c) and Heimweh (5c) which were all worthwhile outings (especially the latter two) - descents are either by multi-pitch abseil or continuation of the ridge traverse at the top. Spending a couple of nights at the hut gives you the chance to really make the most of the venue.
Agree with above comment on Schweiz Plaisir guidebooks.
Hear are some suggestions:
Galtigenturme (4c) Great outing with a rack railway to help you.
Directe (5a) Quite long and a rather long and tedious descent. Start early! Quite a hard day.
Bergseeschijn Südgrat (D-) Lovely walk up to a nice hut and a short walk in the morning to the crag foot. Also some single pitch routes nearby. The descent is relatively short and simple. Highly recommended. Start early as several routes all share the last few pitches.
Schweiz Plaisir at Eldorad is 6b, but I think also goes at 5c-ish with a little bit of gear pulling. 13 lengths, 100 bolts or so.
Or you move over to Austria and try one of these:
And start off with a shorter route or two at Untersberg.
thanks so much for all the great recommendations! will investigate and let you know how I get on.
Dude, if ya gonna send it ya can’t be too old!
> Directe (5a) Quite long and a rather long and tedious descent. Start early! Quite a hard day.
A little harsh perhaps, yes, it's a long walk off if you stick to the paths (there is apparently a faster way down some gully but the description sounded awful) but it's not that taxing and there's a choice of huts to stop in for coffee/beer and cake on the way down... I think Directe took us about 45 mins to walk in, 4.5 hours to climb and probably 1.5 hours to walk down, maybe a bit longer as we got waylaid in the hut...
From what I have learned Ailefroide is a top contender, numerous options in the valley.
From my experience Chamonix (aguilles rouges side) certainly has some that fit the bill, but not much in the f5 or less category.
Majority of what is in the von Känel Plaisir guidebooks is not really sport, but plaisir (meaning you'll often need to place gear on the pitches, stands generally are bolted though).
There is stuff in the Grimsel pass, that would tick the boxes, but Eldorado-sector hardly is the one to pic. The Klettergardens are better for this (like Gerstenegg . But you need to really like slabs then.
Via del veterano (5a) in CH certainly ticks all the boxes... it's long day though, as I recall it being some 800m or so of climbing. You can bail half way though. There is also other fully bolted gneiss stuff in Tessin, like Ponte Brolla.
Arco and the valley north has a bunch of multipitch sport routes on limestone (albeit some are again plaisir, so gear needed). The classic low-level multipitch is Amazzonia (5c), which I recall being like f4c or so.
Generally speakin' limestone means real climbing, and gneis & granite are often crawling up slabs at the grade you've given. The stuff I mentioned easy access climbing, but not really stuff that get's you to the top of a peak, just multipitch climbing on bolts.
I've heard, that there's some rather nice climbing higher up in the mountains near Saas Fee, Saas Grund (Alpenlight, perhaps the Alpendurst mentioned here). And that certainly is the case with other locales. But often they are not sport/bolted climbs, rahter climbs that sometimes have bolts on them (so the Plaisir-stuff mentioned a few times already) meaning you need to know how to place gear. Also the environment requires some knowledge and the descents might not be that trivial... Just to keep in in mind.
I’d definitely recommend the plastir guides- I’ve done quite a few routes from the guides and they mark really clearly if the routes are bolted, the state of the bolts (from “so, so” to “super”!) and whether any trad gear is needed. I’ve always found it to be correct with routes often better bolted than the guide if anything.
in Kandersteg I would recommend the Ueshinental routes- some wonderful water worn limestone. I would warn you off of Bire in the same valley. It’s not got that much good climbing and the descent is long down steep grass above drops.
plenty of options up in Grimsel, as long as you like padding up slabs without much in the way of holds.
alpendurst as mentioned by a few people has a more spectacular surroundings than either of these options though.
The OP is a self-confessed oldie (like me). I rest my case!
> There is stuff in the Grimsel pass, that would tick the boxes, but Eldorado-sector hardly is the one to pic. The Klettergardens are better for this (like Gerstenegg . But you need to really like slabs then.
Indeed you do! My feeling, from limited experience, is that gneiss is more likely to have proper holds and not rely entirely on friction. This place is just down the road from Gerstenneg: Mittagfluh Sudkante (4c)
Nordwestflanke (4c) This was another of similar ilk which was good fun.
If you aren't actually bothered about getting to the top of peaks, Handegg/Grimsel is superb, easy access, well bolted, loads of routes, short to 10+ pitches,
thanks for the advice - sorry for my ignorance, do you know which guide book would cover alpendurst and climbs near the almageller hut? keen to take a look at the pitches and crags in that area. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Good info here:
Some Dri Horlini info:
Not exactly big Alpine routes but Vallorcine is a lovely gentle warmup for multipitch climbing in an alpine setting.
Also, if you are in the Aiguilles Rouges, and fancy a break from longer routes, don't miss the Aiguillette d'Argentiere. Various routes up it from 1—3 pitches but the main point of the route is the spectacular photo opportunity at the top!
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