|Year first climbed:||1845|
|First successful climber(s):||E. Desor, D. Dollfuss|
|Nearest major airport:||Bern|
Thanks to Mark Voogd for adding this peak.
When you drive from the Wallis up the Rhone river to its source, there is one remarkable ice clad mountain in front of you, that will haunt you for a full hour: Galenstock. If you drive from Italy over the Gotthard pass, a different looking overwhelming shape shows, but it is still the Galenstock. It is the guardian of the Rhone glacier that is the source of one the main European rivers that flows into the Mediterranean near Marseille. The Rhone glacier is not as large as the Aletschgletscher, but it is more famous. Goethe was delighted by it, many artists painted it, and looking at those old paintings we get a sad feeling, because our glaciers are going to disappear. In 1850 this glacier reached the hamlet of Gletsch at 1770 m; today the tourists must climb the Furka pass road up to the hotel Belvedere at 2274 in order to touch some real natural ice. The Seiler dynasty of Zermatt built first class hotels at the Belvedere and in Gletsch, which are still open to tourists and worth seeing, if you like to enhale the athmosphere of the 19th century.
Early 1900 the railroad boom even reached Gletsch. Today the cogwheel railroad, called Furka-Oberalb Bahn (FOB), makes a short-cut in a tunnel, but some enthusiasts run the old steam engines on certain days as far as Gletsch and Furka (2160 m).
Before the boom of the automobile, the mountaineers needed that train in order to climb the Galenstock. They took the train to the Tiefenbach station (1845 m) and walked to the Albert Heim hut (2542 m). The next day they climbed the Galenstock over its north ridge, using rope and crampons. Today, the Galenstock has different customers. They arrive by car at 5 o'clock in the morning at the Belvedere and climb the mountain with skis.
Rock climbers often chose the small Sidelenhut near the Furka psss, that offers a dozen of possibilities in rock/ice or just in pure granite.
Thanks to Mark Voogd for this description.