The Portjengrat is a long rock climb following the high frontier ridge which separates Switzerland and Italy. We do the Traverse in the south to north sense, as this gives by far the best climbing and a quick descent.
The climbing is sometimes exposed with a few short passages of difficult rock–very scenic.
This is a two day outing with a night spent in the Almageller hut. From the hut, we begin with a long hike to the south end of the ridge. We follow trails though the talus and then climb slabs to reach the beginning of the technical climbing. A short scramble brings us to the airy crest where exciting moves on the sharp ridge get us started up the first step. Easier scrambling leads to a steep wall which is climbed in one and a half pitches. Then more exposed climbing on the crest follows. The final moves to the small pointed summit are among the most difficult of the climb.
A sort down climb among towers bring us back to easy talus which is descended back to the hut.
This is a long route, usually taking 6 to 7 hours from the hut to the summit. The descent may take up to two hours, giving a big day, 8 to 9 hours hut to hut.
One reason we like to do the Portungrat, aside from the fun climbing, is it is great training for the Matterhorn. The continual changing from pitched climbing to moving together is good practice, as is the climbing in mountaineering boots.
|Climbing on the Portjengrat|
The final moves to the summit are fairly difficult, up to about 5.7, but may feel harder in big boots. But the main difficulty is to move efficiently when the climbing is easier, and keep to good time.
This is a route for experienced rock climbers, who are fit enough to keep moving on a long day.
The Almageller hut, our start for this climb, can also serve as a base for climbs of the Dri Horlini and a traverse of the Weissmies via its South Ridge.
|The berghotel Almagelleralp and the Protjengrat|
Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
AMGA Certified • SNGM members
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