Ascent of Grosser Mythen on 2013-08-21

Climber: Lee Newton

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Grosser Mythen
    Elevation:1897 m / 6227 ft

Ascent Trip Report

I was looking for a short afternoon hike on a fine but not too hot late summer's day and decided on the iconic pair of steep rocky summits at the east end of Lake Lucerne, visible from so many places in north central Switzerland (Basel main train station even has an enormous painting of them on one of its walls)

The drive to Brunni on the east side of the peaks was idyllic, although slow due to traffic. It was pretty close to the stereotypical picture perfect Swiss landscape of cowbells and farmsteads on impossibly green meadows. The tiny cable car was packed. It was automatically operated - the doors open, you get in, they close and it takes you to the top. You get out, and then you pay at the booth before leaving through the gate (CHF10 one way or CHF15 return in 2013).

There were many people around on such a fine day, and I passed dozens as I set up off the wide but steep path at a good pace. Near the top there was a narrow section, but always with handrails, so no danger, even for the inexperienced mountain go-er (and there were plenty). The hut on top was serving drnks and simple meals - even ice cream. I ascended the summit tor by the steeper side to avoid the queue and found steps cut into the rock, truly not a wilderness experience. However, the view, aided by the incredibly steep slopes dropping over 1400m down towards the lake more than compensate. One of the very best low peaks in Switzerland. I jogged back down to give myself maximum time for the smaller but no less steep Kleiner (smaller) Mythen.

An initial traverse on a track led to another farmstead restaurant, and a short ascent to the col Zwüschet Mythen (between the Mythens). From here there is no sign or marked path immediately obvious (strange in Switzerland, I thought. A few meters higher by a large cross I picked up a faint path with the usual red/white markings and thought little of it. However, after a steep ascent I reached a short narrow, scrambly ridge and then suddenly a fore-summit (Südlicher vorgifel, 1763m) with a little plaque. The reason for the relative lack of signage or path was now obvious - the continuation was a much more serious matter aompared to the motorway up the Grosser Mythen - presumably people are not overtly encouraged to try the route up here. I continued a few meters to where the next step was to downclimb a steep chimney. I couldn't see the lower part, which was even steeper than the upper. I then spotted a abseil ring, and alone and short of time I decided not to risk the unknown. The return down the valley to the bottom of the cable car was swiftly accomplished. I learned later from the internet that there are short passages of UIAA II, which is easy climbing / tough scrambling depending on your point of view. Given the perfect conditions it ought to have been ok (hidsight being always 20:20), but it will keep for another day.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:902 m / 2968 ft
    Elevation Loss:1206 m / 3963 ft
    Distance:8.5 km / 5.3 mi
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
temperature inversion
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:496 m / 1633 ft
    Extra Loss:4 m / 16 ft
    Distance:1.5 km / 0.9 mi
    Route:Summit path
    Trailhead:Holzegg (top station of Brunni cable car)  1405 m / 4610 ft
    Time Up:42 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1202 m / 3947 ft
    Extra Gain:406 m / 1335 ft
    Distance:7 km / 4.3 mi
    Route:via Kleiner Mythen Vorgipfel
    Trailhead:Brunni  1101 m / 3615 ft
    Time Down:2 Hours 20 Minutes

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