Ascent of Großglockner on 2011-08-31

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Dave Kenyon
Andrew Tibbetts
Date:Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
    Elevation:3798 m / 12461 ft

Ascent Trip Report

To be completed...

We did this peak from the south. Arriving late evening after our Piz Bernina climb, Dave (mountain guide from UK xxx), Andrew and I bivvied above Kals at the small parking area by the toll booth xxx.Tue 30 The day dawned cloudy with snow showers forecast. The toll booth opened at about 8 a.m. but before driving further up the valley we drove back down to Kals to visit the national park information centre. This seemed to open at about 0830 - earlier than the advertised 9 a.m. Here we obtained the latest local weather forecast plus useful leaflets describing our ascent route in some detail. There is also an ATM.We had a booking at the Studlhutte so we drove to the trailhead at Lucknerhaus (well signposted), stopping to pay the €9 toll en route. The surfaced road ends at a large car park. We started walking at 0930. The trail is well defined - just follow signs for Studlhutte. We arrived at the hut xxx after 1h45 of steady walking. The forecast was relatively poor and we probably didn't have time to summit today without a late finish so we spent a leisurely afternoon at the hut, which is comfortable and nicely laid out. The meals are also excellent. We debated which route to take. The Studlgrat is the obvious line from the hut but with several pitches of III and one at IV- this route would only be worth considering in warm dry weather and this seemed unlikely.Wed 31 An early rain shower ruled out the Studlgrat - there would be snow on the route higher up. The normal route was far more suitable for a chilly day of low cloud. We set off at 6. Cloud was low but with some patches of blue and glimpses of ridges. Grossglockner is signposted r at an info board outside the hut. In a short while is a signposted fork xxx - go L. The well defined path climbs (there are a few alternatives/shortcuts - keep to the most obvious trail) to reach the glacier. There is a large expanse of dry glacier with just a few obvious small crevasses. We headed for an obvious path which could be seen ascending the steeper snow- this path was obvious from about xxx. It passed a deep crevasse then climbed to the base of a low cliff. The most obvious feature was a tall wooden board which apparently serves as a bergschrund bridge when needed, although today the gap was narrow and easily crossed, with due care. The steep scrambly ascent was cable protected (yds 3). Easy ground above soon led to the crest of another ridge. We turned l and climbed this (cable protected, yds 3) to the Erzherzog Johann hut (3454m, xxx). We were there at 0800. The SE ridge route passes round the s side of the hut then ascends a snow ridge, gentle at first but soon steepening, with icy zigzags leading to the foot of steep rock. This is the Kleinglockner ascent. The climb is well worn and crampon-scratched, protected by bolts and steel poles. It is mostly fairly easy scrambling with a few harder moves (yds 3 and 4), and is quite exposed throughout. We initially ascend a gully, then slabs, then the Kleinglockner. This is a narrow arete, very exposed, especially to the north (r). Its summit is unmarked, and has about 10m of prominence. On the scrambling section we met several other parties on their way back from the summit, having presumably started from the higher hut this. Everyone was well mannered and there was no difficulty passing, despite the exposure. A steep down climb and final steep ascent led to the summit cross. We had the summit to ourselves - surely unusual for this popular summit. We could see the last few metres of the Studlgrat. It looked steep, cold and unfriendly in these poor conditions - we were very happy we had chosen the normal route, which had provided such good entertainment.After a short break we could see no immediate prospect of a clearance so we headed down. There were a few other parties but no difficulties, except on the steep snow below the rock, where slushy snow overlying ice made for a slippery surface in an exposed situation. At Erzherzhog hut we took a short break then descended the protected ridge, then found the top of the cable which led down to the bergschrund. Once safely across this, we made a speedy descent of the glacier. A waypoint for the path below the glacier could be useful in poor visibility, although we walked a little further down the glacier before joining the path at xxx.We were soon back at the Studlhut and enjoyed soup and a drink before hiking back down to the trailhead. We were down at 3pm, and drove west, having made arrangements to climb Wildspitze with Lee Newton the following day.

Großglockner photos
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1792 m / 5877 ft
    Extra Gain:10 m / 33 ft
    Distance:16 km / 9.9 mi
    Route:Lucknerhutte, Normal route
    Trailhead:Lucknerhaus  2026 m / 6650 ft
    Grade/Class:PD YDS 4
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Exposed Scramble, Glacier Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Guide, Hut Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:1 Days 0 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:5 Hours 

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