Grass climbing

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Descent of the Southeast Face of the Hofats East Summit in a drawing by Ernst Platz in the 1896 German Alpine Club Yearbook Abstieg von Hoefats.jpg
Descent of the Southeast Face of the Höfats East Summit in a drawing by Ernst Platz in the 1896 German Alpine Club Yearbook

Grass climbing (German : Grasklettern) is a type of climbing in which, unlike rock climbing, the climber has to scale very steep grass mountainsides, through which the underlying rock protrudes in places.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Climbing Activity to ascend a steep object

Climbing is the activity of using one's hands, feet, or any other part of the body to ascend a steep object. It is done for locomotion, recreation and competition, in trades that rely on it, and in emergency rescue and military operations. It is done indoors and out, on natural and man-made structures.



This type of climbing is used in the Alps, especially in the Bavarian range known as the Allgäu Alps where the numerous grass mountains, which are not high, but very steep, make this mode of ascent necessary or possible (e.g. on the Höfats, Himmelhorn and Schneck). [1]

Alps Major mountain range system in Central Europe

The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, separating Southern from Central and Western Europe and stretching approximately 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) across eight Alpine countries : France, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, and at 4,810 m (15,781 ft) is the highest mountain in the Alps. The Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).

Allgäu Alps mountain range in the Northern Limestone Alps

The Allgäu Alps are a mountain range in the Northern Limestone Alps, located in Bavaria in Germany and Tyrol and Vorarlberg in Austria. The range lies directly east of Lake Constance.

Höfats mountain

The Höfats is a 2,259 m high mountain in the Allgäu Alps. Located near Oberstdorf, it separates the Oy and the Dietersbach valleys, along with the Rauheck and other lower summits. With its very steep faces it is the most striking of the Allgau "grass mountains" (Grasberge) and is unique in the Eastern Alps. It may be compared to the mountains of the Lofoten.

Other regions notable for grass climbing include: the gorges of the Himalayas, [2] Scotland, [2] Poland's Tatra Mountains, [3] and Lofoten. [4]

Himalayas Mountain range in Central Asia

The Himalayas, or Himalaya, form a mountain range in Asia, separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The range has many of the Earth's highest peaks, including the highest, Mount Everest. The Himalayas include over fifty mountains exceeding 7,200 m (23,600 ft) in elevation, including ten of the fourteen 8,000-metre peaks. By contrast, the highest peak outside Asia is 6,961 m (22,838 ft) tall.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Tatra Mountains mountain range in Europe

The Tatra Mountains, Tatras, or Tatra, is a mountain range that forms a natural border between Slovakia and Poland. This is the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains. The Tatras should not be confused with the Low Tatras, which are located south of the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia.

The level of protection possible when grass climbing is usually less than that for pure rock climbing. As a result, fatal falls are more common. Experienced grass climbers often use an ice tool.

Ice tool

An ice tool is a specialized elaboration of the modern ice axe, used in ice climbing, mostly for the more difficult configurations. Ice tools are used two to a person for the duration of a pitch, and thus in some circumstances such as top-rope-anchored climbs, a pair may be shared among two or more people, where only one of them at a time is climbing. In contrast a classical "ice axe" is used one to a person for the hours or days a party is traveling across snow or glacier. In communities where it is common to refer to an "ice tool" simply as an "ice axe", classic "ice axes" are often referred to as "traveling axes", "walking axes", or "general mountaineering axes" to distinguish them from "tools".

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Mountaineering sport of mountain climbing

Mountaineering is the set of activities that involves ascending mountains. Mountaineering-related activities include traditional outdoor climbing, hiking, skiing, and traversing via ferratas. Indoor climbing, sport climbing and bouldering are usually considered mountaineering as well.

Grade (climbing) degree of difficulty of a climbing route

In rock climbing, mountaineering, and other climbing disciplines, climbers give a grade to a climbing route or boulder problem, intended to describe concisely the difficulty and danger of climbing it. Different types of climbing each have their own grading systems, and many nationalities developed their own, distinctive grading systems.

Longs Peak mountain

Longs Peak is a high and prominent mountain summit in the northern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,259-foot (4346 m) fourteener is located in the Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness, 9.6 miles (15.5 km) southwest by south of the Town of Estes Park, Colorado, United States. Longs Peak is the northmost "fourteener" in the Rocky Mountains and the highest point in Boulder County and Rocky Mountain National Park. The mountain was named in honor of explorer Stephen Harriman Long and is featured on the Colorado state quarter.


Scrambling is "a walk up steep terrain involving the use of one's hands". It is an ambiguous term that lies somewhere between hiking, hillwalking, mountaineering, and rock climbing. Canyoning often involves scrambling.

Climbing route path by which a climber reaches the top of a mountain, rock, or ice wall

A climbing route is a path by which a climber reaches the top of a mountain, rock, or ice wall. Routes can vary dramatically in difficulty and grade; once committed to that ascent, it can sometimes be difficult to stop or return. Choice of route can be critically important. Guidebooks, if available, are helpful in providing detailed diagrams and photographs of routes.

Glossary of climbing terms Wikimedia list article

This page describes terms and jargon related to climbing and mountaineering.

First ascent first successful, documented attainment of the top of a mountain, or specific route

In mountaineering, a first ascent is the first successful, documented attainment of the top of a mountain, or the first to follow a particular climbing route. First mountain ascents are notable because they entail genuine exploration, with greater risks, challenges, and recognition than climbing a route pioneered by others. The person who performs the first ascent is called the first ascensionist.

Ice climbing activity of ascending inclined ice formations

Ice climbing is the activity of ascending inclined ice formations. Usually, ice climbing refers to roped and protected climbing of features such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water. For the purposes of climbing, ice can be broadly divided into two spheres, alpine ice and water ice. Alpine ice is found in a mountain environment, usually requires an approach to reach, and is often climbed in an attempt to summit a mountain. Water ice is usually found on a cliff or other outcropping beneath water flows. Alpine ice is frozen precipitation whereas water ice is a frozen liquid flow of water. Most alpine ice is generally one component of a longer route and often less technical, having more in common with standard glacier travel, while water ice is selected largely for its technical challenge. Technical grade is, however, independent of ice type and both types of ice vary greatly in consistency according to weather conditions. Ice can be soft, hard, brittle or tough. Mixed climbing is ascent involving both ice climbing and rock climbing.

Rock climbing sport in which participants climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls

Rock climbing is a sport in which participants climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a usually pre-defined route without falling. Professional rock climbing competitions have the objectives of either completing the route in the quickest possible time or attaining the farthest point on an increasingly difficult route.

Via ferrata protected climbing route found in the Alps and certain other locations

A via ferrata is a protected climbing route found in the Alps and certain other locations. The term "via ferrata" is used in most countries and languages except notably in German-speaking countries including Switzerland and Austria, which use Klettersteig.

Grass mountain

A grass mountain in topography is a mountain covered with low vegetation, typically in the Alps and often steep-sided. The nature of such cover, which often grows particularly well on sedimentary rock, will reflect local conditions.

Henry Barber (rock climber) American rock climber

Henry Barber is a leading American rock climber and ice climber in the 1970s. Known by the nickname "Hot Henry", Barber was an advocate of clean climbing, a prolific first ascenscionist and free soloist. He was one of the first American rock climbers to travel widely to climb in different countries. Barber was one of the first "professional" American rock climbers, supporting himself as a sales representative for outdoor equipment companies including Chouinard Equipment and Patagonia, and by giving lectures and slide shows. He was an integral member of the "Front Four" quartet of the 1970s: "Hot Henry", John Stannard, Steve Wunsch, and John Bragg.

Rudolf Fehrmann, a German, was a pioneer rock climber at Elbsandsteingebirge near Dresden. He began climbing at the age of 17 and was soon at the leading edge of the fledgling sport. He and Oliver Perry-Smith, an American college student and fellow climber living in Dresden, became as close as brothers and formed a team which pushed the limits of risk and difficulty on the steep sandstone spires, making many first ascents. Early on, Fehrmann exerted leadership in both climbing ethics and environmental protection. He imagined the purest of climbing routes as "great lines", ascending directly up steep faces and cracks and sometimes presenting considerable difficulties, and he encouraged the use of rope-soled slippers and a minimum of metal protective devices in order to avoid destroying the fragile rock.

Aiguille du Dru mountain

The Aiguille du Dru is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps. It is situated to the east of the village of Les Praz in the Chamonix valley. "Aiguille" means "needle" in French.

Hochwanner mountain

At 2,744 metres (9,003 ft), the Hochwanner is the second highest mountain in Germany after the Zugspitze. In addition the Hochwanner is the highest peak on the main ridge of the Wetterstein (Wettersteinhauptkamm) running from Gatterl to the Upper Wettersteinspitze above Mittenwald in an east-west direction. From the Hochwanner massif there is an all-round view of the Rein valley (Reintal), the Leutasch valley in Austria, the Gais valley, the Zugspitze, the Mieming Chain, the Jubiläumsgrat, the Karwendel mountains and far into the central Alps.

Trettachspitze mountain

The Trettachspitze is a 2,595-metre-high (8,514 ft) mountain in the Allgäu Alps in Germany. Due to its striking appearance it is one of the best-known mountains in the Allgäu Alps.


Schrofen, a German mountaineering term, is steep terrain, strewn with rocks and rock outcrops, that is laborious to cross, but whose rock ledges (schrofen) offer many good steps and hand holds. It is usually rocky terrain on which grass has established itself, but it can also refer to purely rocky slopes. Schrofen are found especially where the rock has broken off against its angle of dip.

Fritzerkogel mountain

The Fritzerkogel is a mountain in the Tennengebirge in the northern Limestone Alps, Austria. With its elevation of 2,360 metres (7,740 ft), is one of the higher peaks in the mountain range. Seen from the north it stands out as a relatively isolated, broad summit block, whose mighty rock faces and steep, rugged, rocky flanks (Schrofen) fall away on all sides. Its 1,200-metre-high (3,900 ft) south cliff face is impressive and makes it a striking two-thousander.

Émile Rey Italian mountain guide and mountaineer

Émile Rey was an alpine mountain guide from Aosta Valley in Italy. Dubbed "the Prince of Guides" in Courmayeur, he was one of the most renowned guides at the end of the 19th century, making many first ascents on some of the highest and most difficult mountains in the Mont Blanc massif of the Alps. He has been described as "one of the greatest guides of his generation."

Tour Ronde mountain

The Tour Ronde is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif of the Alps, situated on the border between France and Italy. It is a prominent mountain, some 3.5 km north-east of Mont Blanc, but is effectively part of a continuation of the south eastern spur of Mont Maudit which forms a frontier ridge between the two countries. It is easily accessible to mountaineers and provides not only a very good viewpoint from its summit of the Brenva face and the major peaks on the southern side of Mont Blanc, but it also offers a popular introduction to alpine climbing of all grades, including a north face ascent.


  1. Wilfrid Noyce. The Alps. Thames and Hudson, 1961, p. 221.
  2. 1 2 Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal, Vol 32, Issues 171-174, 1980, p. 206.
  3. Alpinist, Issues 1-4, LLC, 2002, p. 68.
  4. Ed Webster, Climbing in the Magic Mountains, Nord Norsk Klatresskole, 1994, p. 33.