How much land is 4545 feet
Dom 4545 - where real Swiss reach their limits
Once as a genuine Swiss on the highest genuine Swiss, as the mountain, which with its entire base lies within Switzerland, is not entirely without its charm! So I decided months ago to seize the opportunity and respond to the announcement from SAC Lindenberg. After neither the ascent of Piz Palü nor the Nadelhorn with the SAC Lindenberg came about last year, it should work on the third attempt ... Before the start of the tour, it was not entirely clear to me whether we would climb the Festigrat or the normal route as a group clear. I had my preferences, but also my assumptions - and finally ... Oh, what do I want to anticipate now. You have to struggle hard to get up to the cathedral: 3150 meters in altitude without the possibility of shortening with the help of a mountain railway. I can expect the reader to be patient a little longer.
From Randa we climb as a group of 13 up to the Domhütte. The Dorfbach is crossed at P. 1534. Then we overcome a pleasant walking path with a steady incline and mostly in the shade of the larches a few hundred meters in altitude. At an altitude of approx. 2400 meters you come to the foot of the Festiflüe. From there we simply climb technically on an alpine hiking trail, which is well equipped with chains and climbing aids, up to the Domhütte.
After moving into the room and a refreshing beer, we soon enjoy the delicious dinner and then try to sleep. The alarm clock should ring soon, for some the far too early end of a short night, for others the release from seemingly endless tossing and turning.
At 3 a.m., it is not the tour leader's alarm clock that rings, but rather, to everyone's surprise, the alarm clock programmed by the hut warden in our dormitory - high-tech on the mountain! After a leisurely breakfast, we start at around 4 a.m. as the last of the groups. Immediately to the left of the hut, a path leads up to a side moraine of the Festigletscher, so that one walks parallel to the Festigletscher towards the sun (i.e. eastwards). At an altitude of approx. 3150 m. Above sea level. M. we change from the moraine to the Festigletscher and climb on this up to under the Festijoch (P. 3723). Even on the wide and unmistakably well-trodden track that leads up to the very north edge of the glacier, crevasses are visible again and again, sometimes extremely deep even on the edge of the glacier, along which the track ideally leads up. It is therefore worthwhile to switch to crampons when entering the glacier and continue roped up.
Down at the Festijoch, after many shorter breaks, there is a longer break. Slowly but surely it is becoming clear that today I will not be traveling quite as fast as I normally would. Instead of sweating, I tend to struggle with the cold that accompanies the wonderful day awakening for a short time.
After the break, the climb to the Festijoch follows, probably the only passage on this tour that requires climbing. After initial uncertainty as to where the entrance to the path, which is lined with rubble and secured with bolts, is, we finally climb leisurely up to the Festijoch with our three rope teams. While some of us are enjoying the ascent, others are already thinking with a feeling of anxiety about how this obstacle will be overcome on the descent, especially since there is no way around this 50 meter high steep passage; and this regardless of whether you climb the normal route or the Festigrat.
Arrived at P. 3723, I take one last longing look at the tracks that run towards ESE. The ascent via Festigrat would run in this direction. As a huge group, without a helmet in our luggage, we take the opposite direction for a few meters and descend to the Hobärg Glacier without any problems and without great loss of altitude. Below the massive glacier breaks we cross the Hobärg glacier and rather climb up on the eastern side of the glacier. When you pass the 'en' of 'Lenzjoch', the beaten path of the normal route leads up to the summit. In contrast to the Festigletscher, where visible smaller and larger crevasses were constant companions, this phenomenon could not be observed on the Hobärg Glacier. From the Festijoch to the summit, you always had the feeling of walking on a ski slope. Nevertheless, it is probably true that the normal route (compared to the Festigrat) is the technically easier route up to the cathedral, but due to the invisible crevasses it is also objectively more dangerous.
With the “stop and go” technique, we finally reach the summit together, some dead tired and exhausted, but all happy and satisfied.
After photos of the summit, congratulations, etc., the descent follows the same path. It would have been a lot easier for the knees to descend next to the well-trodden path ... At the Festijoch we decide, due to the condition of the group (or individual participants) and the security, to rappel down, especially since there is a stand up at the Festijoch Precisely 50m rope is enough to let all participants down onto the Festigletscher directly from above (without intermediate standings). Another stand has been set up in the middle for the last participant if he does not want to knot two 50 mm ropes at the top. Due to the stone or rock structure, it is advisable not to leave any knots in the rope when the rope is being pulled. A knot could get caught too quickly ...
At the bottom of the hut, Cornel and I get ready for the early trip home. We already knew that we would have to cover the costs for accommodation and half board anyway. We were informed of this the day before. And so we decide to end the day in the hut with the other participants, with beer and then a fine dinner. Shortly after 8:00 p.m., the two of us set off, first in daylight, then at dusk and gradually dark in the light of the headlamp. In about one and a half hours we reach Randa, sweating after we walk a little faster on this last 1550 meters of altitude than before in the group.
Tour with the SAC Lindenberg
Conclusion on the tour: The cathedral is undoubtedly a worthwhile, physically demanding, technically not very difficult destination for mountaineers. The mountain rewards with an overwhelming view. And as the highest genuine Swiss, he probably also belongs to the ranks of the prestige mountains.
For me it was the first tour ever with the SAC and in such a large group. The community among the individual participants was a great experience. The size of the group and the fact that it was probably not completely homogeneous were also a hindrance, especially since I never got around to going at my own pace and finding a rhythm.
Conclusion on the Domhütte: The newly renovated hut is undoubtedly very professionally run, the food is excellent, the staff friendly. In spite of all the professionalism, in my opinion, there is a noticeable alienation from what once made the SAC huts so appealing and still does in many places: the passion for work and the idealism that goes with it. The hut staff undoubtedly did their job well, but I lacked the charm, the warmth. A conversation was held at the "counter" - certainly also due to the fact that the booth was full - and everything additional was generously billed. I fully understand that nights that are booked in advance will also be charged in high season, even if you go down a night earlier than planned. I also understand that as a hut keeper you have to rely on sales. However, I have a hard time dealing with it when sales seem too important. At least that is how I and some of my colleagues felt. And if I wrote this, it was not to defame someone, but only to convey personal impressions (created by comparing them with other huts I visited), especially since HIKR offers space for this, especially compared to other mountain portals want.
By the way ... If you want to get in touch with the Domhütte, it is best to do so by phone. The contact email on the Domhütte homepage will no longer be answered without information on this on the homepage. Reservations can only be made by phone.
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