Schafbärg: A Big Up Below the Bietschhorn
Θ Out & Back
I hadn't heard of it either. But the Schafbärg is a steep up and down to add to your easy Way Up list. The summit sits below the prominent Bietschhorn. It's easily overshadowed, but for a challenging up and a rapid descent it's fantastic. By the numbers, that's over 1700 meters gain in only 6kms.
Starting in the Lötschental, near Blatten, we followed switchbacks up to the Bietschhorn Hut. The hut is positioned in the last of the grass, before the trail turns to steep scree, and worth a stop for one of their cakes served with a great view. Heading above the hut, the trail becomes even steeper and rockier, but well-marked with paint, you can't lose the route. Depending on conditions, you will likely encounter various amounts of snow on this section. Early morning ascents may be icy.
Directly above the hut, you reach the Bietschjoch, and from the pass, it's a short ridge scramble to the Schafbärg for an incredible close-up view of the Bietschhorn, which is also being done as a kind of Way, Way Up, but we'll let you decide about that.
The peaks in this region are known for loose rock. We've chosen to get you into the area, you can decide what more, if anything, you'd like to climb. For our own day here, we originally intended to scramble the ridge to the Wilerhorn, but the loose rock we kept grabbing by the handful after the Wilerjoch made us change our minds. Sure it gets done, but it just didn't seem so fun to us. Stopping at the summit of the Schafbärg seems to be enough to have a quality up and down, keeping to better rock, and off the glacier.
We decided that continuing on for more did not necessarily mean more fun. Sometimes less is best. Reaching the ridge to the Schafbärg is one of those times.
If you like this kind of up, try the next step up, on superb rock, the Wiwannihorn.
Start: 46.413994, 7.807710
Town: Ried, Lötschen
- From the hut to the Bietschjoch, the trail is north facing, and often has snow. If you are there in the morning it may be icy. Take microspikes for cold weather or early starts.
- If you're ready for a break after the first 4km, or on the way back down, stop at the Bietschhorn Hut for something freshly baked.
- The straight up and back down from Schafbärg is good training for more technical runs in the Way Up category. Give it a try if you want big vertical in a short distance, and a short section of exposure on the ridge. No mountaineering gear required.
The steep climb from the Lötschental that only get steeper the higher you go.
Arriving to the Bietschhorn Hut and heading to the alpine.
But first... the Bietschhorn Hut is known for exceptional food.
Headed to the Wilerhorn on the Bietsch Glacier. It's beautiful back here, but the ridge to the summit is loose and not so fun. We decided Schafbärg was the better choice.
The ridge to reach Schafbärg.
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