Obergabelhorn, 4063m. ENE Ridge via Wellenkuppe.

A beautifully shaped mountain, unusual in having its least difficult route via another summit.

Alpine Climbing Difficult

Distance
7.3 km
Ascent
972 m
Descent
972 m
Low Point
3.2 km
High Point
4 km
Gradient
29˚
Obergabelhorn, 4063m. ENE Ridge via Wellenkuppe. Map

From the Rothorn Hut descend a short way onto the Trift Glacier and follow it quite easily, in a big arc, skirting the obvious crevassed area on its R, then on a higher glacial shelf heading L, to gain the foot of the E ridge of the Wellenkuppe. Avoid the first steepening on its L, then climb easy rock leading back to the ridge, avoiding a steeper section on its L. There are sections of walking scrambling and some easy rock climbing higher up, leading to a snowy crest to the summit of the Wellenkuppe at 3903m.

Description

Descend the far side of the summit to a col about 100m lower then pass to the R of an obvious tower ahead, the Grande Gendarme. There is often a fixed rope up here, if not it will be the crux of the route, climbing this and then descending steeply the far side, to regain the snow crest with the imposing final summit ridge above. This is very condition dependent and can be extremely delicate if icy. Hopefully you will find it in firm snow when it is a pleasant ridge, which you follow on its R side, then L higher up. There are stanchions every 25m which can be used as belays or runners. There are two final bumps in the ridge before the summit, with its fantastic view of the many even larger 4000m peaks in all directions. The descent is the reverse of the way up. The stanchions can be used in rappel, and it is usual to also rappel the Grande Gendarme, and various parts of the E Ridge of the Wellenkuppe, before regaining your tracks on the Trift Glacier to the Rothorn Hut.

Difficulty

Difficult

The beginning of truly technical terrain which might involve pitched climbing on rock and/or ice, exposed terrain and complex route finding in ascent and descent. Equivalent to AD, AD+

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Much of the route is difficult to protect and a fall could be disastrous at certain points.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

July, August, September

Equipment required

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Quickdraws
  • Glacier kit
  • Wires and Friends

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area