Ascent of Grosse Arnspitze on 2008-09-02

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Andrew Tibbetts
Date:Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Grosse Arnspitze
    Elevation:7205 ft / 2196 m

Ascent Trip Report

Grosse Arnspitze: 2196m, P993m

Map: Freytag & Berndt 1:50k map WK322 (100m contours).

Stats: 7km; 1240mH

Time: Tue 2 Sept 2008.

Start: Scharnitzer Klause: north end of Scharnitz. Residential road running parallel with main road, with parking on E verge just S of start of signposted trail.

Route: Trail 21 (as labelled on the 1:50k map) is signposted from the road, starting between houses and then zig-zagging up into the forest. There are several forks and turnings, and the route alternates between narrow paths and wide forest tracks, but there are enough signposts and we had no difficulty finding the way. After climbing steeply through nice forest, the trail eventually emerges on open mountainside. The trail is good, with little need to use hands. Eventually it bends L and ascends a scree gully, mostly keeping clear of the loose rock. Some more zig-zags lead past the Arnspitzhutte to a saddle.

Above the saddle, the summit pyramid is intimidatingly steep but the trail is unambiguous, zig-zagging up steep stony slopes and then good rock. Surprisingly there is only minor scrambling, although a sense of exposure and foreboding is often present (the trail is mapped as a dotted red line above the saddle - a suggestion that there could be some excitement).

Difficulties: Exposure but only mild scrambling, YDS 2+.

Triangulation point: 2 blocks at summit, apparently trigs: one white-painted concrete, the other granite. 1:50k map seems to suggest other nearby sub-peaks have "altimetric points" but nothing shown here.

Summit: Fine compact rocky summit; trig blocks; red metal post. There are several other summits nearby, a little lower and generally appearing much harder to reach than this, the higher summit. Just the N summit looks like it might be do-able without climbing.

Notes: Following this morning's Monte Bondone climb, we took the Autostrada north, crossing the border into Austria. We had a few hours free and fancied another climb, although there was nothing easy. The Arnspitze main route started from Scharnitz which was the base for tomorrow's Ultra. There was nothing easier or more convenient and we thought we might just about squeeze in an ascent before dark.

Threading our way through the complex early section, we climbed through pleasant woodland then open mountainside, with impressive steep slopes all around. Rounding a bend, the steep rocky nature of our target became evident. Once at the saddle, we took the narrow trail leading towards our peak. This section is a red dotted line on the map - things could get exciting! Higher up the trail zig-zags up steep, good quality rock, never becoming challenging but always leaving us wondering what challenges lay ahead. The summit is superb: rock with a great view out across challenging sub-summits (each with its "I was here" cross) to rugged mountain chains - Karwendel is serious terrain.

We stayed as long as we dared, but time was pressing and we knew we had our work cut out to get down in daylight. Carefully descending to the saddle (some sections further down are a little loose and gravelly and require care), we then walked and jogged, as fast as we dared, but it was growing dark as we reached the forest. Head torches were needed for the last half kilometre; luckily we found the turnings ... until we found ourselves perched above a drop with the river directly below. Retracing our steps, we reorientated ourselves and found our way down to the car without further difficulty. It was nearly 8pm but luckily the first bar we found was still serving, so we enjoyed a good meal and a beer to celebrate an excellent and varied day.

Finally we investigated the first part of the Birkkarspitze route for tomorrow, before parking and sleeping at the trailhead.

For trip details and logistics, see the Säntis report
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4072 ft / 1241 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:Trail 21 from E
    Trailhead:Scharnitzer Klause  3133 ft / 954 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 2+
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 30 Minutes

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