Disclaimer

Hiking on routes in alpine terrain requires good physical health, meticulous preparation and technical skills in mountain sports. The routes presented here are undertaken at one’s own risk. If you want to safely practice mountain sports, taking training courses run by experts is highly recommended by the SAC. All the contents of the SAC touring platform are put together with utmost diligence. However, the Swiss Alpine Club and the authors cannot guarantee that the information provided here is up-do-date, correct and complete. Therefore, the SAC and the authors cannot be held liable for possible errors.

  • Alpinism

Aiguille Purtscheller 3474 m Alpinism

The Aiguille Purtscheller is located south of the Aiguilles du Tour. It is a freestanding spire with two closely spaced peaks. The pyramid shape makes this peak appear larger than it is: it stands just 180m above the the Glacier du Tour; a mere 70 m above the Plateau du Trient. The Aiguille Purtscheller however does offer some great 'plasir' climbs and classics. The west wall is known to have some tough routes that didn't make the guidebook. On this wall, some large rockfalls have occurred. To the south of the Aiguille Purtscheller are two more peaks. One is listed at 3393 m, the other (about 3332 m) is just NNW of the Col Supérieur du Tour. These outlying peaks also have several routes, but they are not described here.

 

The name Purtscheller, given in 1912, honours the famous Austrian's first ascent of the peak in 1890. Before then, it presumedly had no name. Ludwig Purtscheller (1849-1900) was born in Innsbruck. As a Tyrolean and 'Son of the Eastern Alps', the rock bastions of his homeland meant a lot to him. He spent every free minute in his mountains, developing an impressive, revolutionary and athletic climbing technique. On his tours in the Western Alps, he also discovered a talent for firn and ice. Soon he ventured - always without a guide and often solo - into some the most difficult mountain terrain in the Alps. He became friends with the brothers Emil and Otto Zsigmondy. Together with these two first-class alpinists, he achieved extraordinary ascents, such as the Kleine Zinne, the Ortler, Monte Rosa east face and Bietschhorn south face, and in 1885 the first complete traverse of Meije. Ludwig Purtscheller became a protagonist of 'leaderless' mountaineering, a kind of alpinism that was still largely frowned upon. He was active over all the massifs and was soon considered THE connoisseur of the Alps. Around 1700 peaks were climbed by Purtscheller in his rather short life!

In 1889 he was taken by German researcher and lexicon publisher Hans Meyer as an alpinist expert and companion, to German East Africa (Tanganyika, now Tanzania). Meyer had previously explored the area around Kilimanjaro and failed twice to climb it due to technical and political problems. Purtscheller, Meyer and his native companion Yohani Kinyala Lauwo succeeded together on October 6, 1889; it was the first ascent of the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro (5895 m). This ascent, via today's standard Marangu Route was the team's second attempt, after an ailment (probably altitude sickness) stopped them during the first. Meyer christened the highest point of Africa, "Kaiser Wilhelm-Spitze", though today it is known among geographers and alpinists by the locally sourced name "Uhuru Peak".

The fact that Meyer and Purtscheller were able to detect the fading remnants of a glacier cap on the summit of this volcano during their expedition is astonishing. Today, all glacial remnants have practically melted away, and are only to be seen in old photos.

Purtscheller was then restless on his return to the Alps, and opened countless new routes. In 1891 he also visited Elbrus in the Caucasus. He married relatively late (1895), but unfortunately his marriage short. Five years afterwards, Purtscheller took a big fall on the Aiguille du Dru and died in Bern as a result of his injuries. He was buried in Salzburg and left his wife, a daughter and a son behind.

Huts in the Region

Similar Destinations

Our recommendations

Klettern Oberwallis

Klettern

Klettern Oberwallis

Price CHF 59.00
Member price CHF 49.00
Walliser Alpen

Alpine Touren

Selection guide

Walliser Alpen

Price CHF 59.00
Member price CHF 49.00
SAC-Hüttenarchitektur

Hütten

SAC-Hüttenarchitektur

Price CHF 49.00
Member price CHF 39.00
Alpine Touren Berner Alpen

Alpine Touren

Selection guide

Alpine Touren Berner Alpen

Price CHF 49.00
Member price CHF 39.00
Tourenportal Jahres-Abo

Tourenportal Abonnemente

Tourenportal Jahres-Abo

Price CHF 42.00
Member price CHF 32.00
Bergwandern von Hütte zu Hütte

Alpinwandern

Bergwandern von Hütte zu Hütte

Price CHF 49.00
Member price CHF 39.00
Garmin InReach Mini

GPS

Garmin InReach Mini

Price CHF 419.00
Sales price CHF 329.00
SAC-Hütten-Monopoly

Hütten

New

SAC-Hütten-Monopoly

Price CHF 69.90
Member price CHF 59.90
feedback