A few days ago I received an email from one of the guys leaving for Grossglockner with me in just 18 days from now – my goodness how time flies, it is already just around the corner! – pointing out that there are a couple of route options which I have missed in my last post. Now, I wonder how I have been able to miss these obvious routes, which even fall right in the range of our skills. I have also updated the Grossglockner routes Google Earth KMZ file [urldisplaymode=nomap] include these new additions.
The routes I have not yet discussed are Nordwestgrad – for which there are two variations – and Glocknerwand-Grossglockner traverse. Both of these are a bit more challenging than the Stüdlgrat which is my group’s first target on the mountain but for both of these you have guided tours available by multiple guide operators. The standard price seems to be 370e for 1:2 guide ratio on the Nordwestgrad variant 2, which is the easier of the two. The traverse will set you back more than 500e.
As far as I have read and seen from the pictures and from a video, these routes are up to a 45 degree snow/firn/ice slope to the ridge and then snowy rock all the way to the top. The Nordwestgrad variant 2 is graded -IV and the variant 1 as IV. The little more difficult grade for the variant 1 comes no doubt from the two towers you have to pass – Glocknerhorn (3680m) and Teufelshorn (3677m). I do not know actually whether you have to actually go over the horns or if can you go around them. The pictures you can find do not clearly indicate neither. But this is a moot point really as most certainly you would want to go over them, right?
The Glocknerwand-Grossglockner traverse adds even some more to the grade. I could not find any given grade for it, but it will certainly be a longer, harder and more challenging route than the Norwestgrad routes as it will, on top of traversing the multiple towers on Glocknerwand, also go up the Nordwestgrad and over the same two horns there. Some guiding company has estimated that the traverse would take 8-9h going up and another 4h coming down. For the Nordwestgrad the same figures are 5-6h up and 5h down. Don’t know why the descending times are different as they both come down from the same top, don’t they? Maybe they are assuming the people going for the traverse are better fit and will also descend faster. Dunno.
Without doubt these new additions to the route repertoire are definitely interesting. The Nordwestgrad looks very intriguing with its horns if we do not have the strength or will to go for the Glocknerwand traverse. As they say, only time will tell, and within just a few more weeks we are wiser when it comes to the route we eventually decided to go for.