Municipality: Engelberg

Challenging top tour in the Number 1 snow accumulation area. Guaranteed snow, abseiling and loneliness despite the lift support make this tour unique.

Splitboard Skitour - Engelberg Haute Route
Difficulty SAC: S
Summit altitude: 3.198m
Start altitude: 3.020m
Vertical height: 2.210m
Walking time h:min: 8:00+
Exposition: North,South,Northwest,
Best season: Late winter
How to get there:

By car or train to Engelberg.

Route description
Starting point:

The starting point is the Klein Titlis mountain station, the highest point in the ski area. The best way is to take the first ride in the morning.
Parking is available in the ski area's car parks.
On request at the cable car you can also take the staff ride in the morning at about 7 o' clock.


The rather unknown Engelberger Haute Route is a technically and physically demanding ski tour, which almost continuously moves on glaciers. Due to this and the abseiling of the Titlisjoch you need a complete ski and high alpine touring equipment! I recommend 2x50m half ropes. Safe snow conditions are obligatory!

We did the tour in three days, the last of which was only used for the descent from the Spannorthütte and the trip home. However, two days should definitely be planned!

1. Day:
From the top station Klein Titlis you ride over the glacier and cross underneath the Rotair cable car to the west to the Titlisjoch. The descent is already clearly visible during the gondola ride and usually well tracked. From the rear Titlisjoch it goes over the short but exposed ridge about 30m uphill and over a wide ridge to the first abseil. This can be easily identified by a steel pole.

For this first abseil I recommend the use of the full rope length(s) if possible. After the first few metres you can theoretically start riding again. However, I myself prefer to get as far down as possible. If the snow conditions are very good, you can also abseil down with the board fastened.

After this point, one descends down the increasingly flatter boiler until one reaches a second steep step. Here you stick to a central left channel. You can already see the abseiling position from the start of the channel. It is located at the rock wall on the right-hand side. Short descent until there. About every 15-20m there is such a place at this rock face. Depending on your personal feeling and snow situation, you can ride as far as the 3rd stand. But at the latest there you have to abseil down again. With 2x50m you can get from this place directly above the rock fall to the snowfield.

After a short descent, keep to the left and climb the wide, steep Couloir up to the glacier. Here we traversed again over a band to the right and then climbed up through a narrow, steep channel. Both variants should work. Alternatively, you can keep to the south and choose one of the flatter couloirs. But then watch out for the glacier rupture above!

The further ascent up to Grassenbiwak is easy and leads gently up to the hut. You can reach it either via the Wendenjoch or further east via the pass between Tierberg and Grassen. Particularly impressive is the south face of Titlis, which rises imposingly beside you!

We left our luggage in the bivouac and climbed the 300 vertical meters up to the Grassen. The terrain is easy and the descent is very rewarding. In addition, you have a wonderful view of the Sustenhorn, the Titlis and the Bernese Alps from the summit.

2. Day:
The second day should start as early as possible. We had a very warm and sunny spring day and got started at 7.30am. Wet snow became a hot topic in the course of the day, even though we were able to finish the tour successfully. I recommend a start around 6:00 in the morning.

Follow the ascent track to Grassen and then turn right onto Firnalpelifirn towards Stössensattel. As soon as the terrain becomes steeper again, one tries to keep the height as high as possible and then rides into a steep but wide NO couloir (~2.700m). There must be absolutely safe conditions here, the section is often endangered by avalanches.

You are now on the Grassengletscher and ride down to about 2.350m. Now a short steep firn line uphill (with hard / icy conditions tricky for splitboards!). From here you climb up again and again, cross underneath the Bärenzähn and reach the Bärenhorn (2.932m) via Glerscherplatt. From here shortly down to the Chüefadpass and below the Chli Spannort transverse to the Spannortjoch. Here one should rather stay a little further down in order to avoid very steep slopes. Ski depot for the Gross Spannort just above the crest.

The ascent to the Gross Spannort now follows over the steep south-firn flank of the SW ridge. Here one climbs a short but very crumbly rock step and then climbs further up to the ridge in the firn (~55°). Now briefly in the flat terrain up to the 2nd steep step, which one climbs in the rock. The terrain is very well structured and very good climbable (II. degree). However, you should check every grip/step for its firmness first!
After another flat stage you reach the 3rd steep step. It is best to avoid it on the right in the snow. There is probably also a variation on the left through the rock. Afterwards there are no further difficulties until the summit, which can be reached via the summit snowfield.

Descent to the depot via the ascent route. The rock step can be abseiled very well via drilled stands.

With good snow conditions and steppable firn, the ascent is probably much easier to walk than with little snow, as the entire route is very loose.


Descent from the ski depot via the Schlossberglücke (short counter ascent of 20m) to the Spannorthütte and from there to the valley. From the Führalp there is a free ski bus to Engelberg for the winter season (until mid-April).
If you have to wait for the bus, a stop at the restaurant Wasserfall with a great view of the tour is worthwhile.

Ascent route map (show/hide)

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  • Avatar
    11. April 2017 - 17:18 Log in or sign up to post comments.
    Date of Tour: 8. April 2017
    Group Size: Duo
    Kind of Tour: Splitboard
    Avalanche Warning Level: 2
    Risk potential: Allg. Lawinenwarnstufe 1 am Vormittag und 2 am Nachmittag aufgrund von Nass- und Gleitschneelawinen. Früher Start empfehlenswert, da teilweise Steilhänge bis 40° befahren werden. Im Aufstieg zum Spannort außerdem ein etwa 55° steiles Firnfeld, welches wir (leider) erst gegen 13.30 Uhr im Aufstieg begangen haben. Gletscherausrüstung (Seilschaft) kann notwendig sein. Man begeht die meiste Zeit Gletscherflächen.
    Comment / Trip report:

    Oberhalb 2600-2700m noch traumhafter Pulverschnee in den schattseitigen Expositionen, ansonsten Sulz oder Harschdeckel. Klassische Frühlingssituation.
    Im Abstieg mussten wir ab etwa 1800m das Gerät dann tragen.

    Für mich persönlich war es die eindrucksvollste und spannendste Tour der Saison. Perfektes Wetter, tolle Landschaft, anspruchsvolle Tour und alle Gipfel erreicht. Was will man mehr?