Breithorn, near Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland
The Breithorn is a beautifully curved, 4,164 meter (13,661 ft) high mountain peak with its summit lying on the border of Switzerland and Italy. Zermatt, in the Swiss Canton of Valais, would make the best starting point for your trip. It is considered the easiest of all 4,000 meter peaks in the Alps. This is due to the cable car leading to the Klein Matterhorn (3,883 m). From that point, a mere 300-meter or 3-hour bid divides you from its summit. Still, the terrain is glaciated, making basic alpine knowledge necessary. However, it is not only the facility of climbing this mountain that attracts so many climbers. The Breithorn is located between the Monte Rosa massif and the Matterhorn, giving it an idyllic location with great views of two awesome mountain ranges.
As the Breithorn is regarded as the easiest to climb of all the 4,000 meter peaks, this is not the main reason why it is a popular climb for mountaineers. Closely nestled between the Monte Rosa
massif and the Matterhorn
, the Breithorn has a unique location providing views of the most famous mountains in the Swiss Alps. quickly jump to:
Breithorn Climb - relative easy, but best with a guide.
3 Best Ways to Climb the Breithorn
With an elevation of 4,164m above sea level and a prominence of 433m, the Breithorn is Italy’s sixth-highest Alps mountain. It is located between Italian and Swiss border; specifically in the Valais and Aosta Valley region. The Breithorn which is German for “broad horn” forms part of the mountain range within the Pennine Alps. Its highest peak is the Western Summit.
The Breithorn is mostly glaciated with other subsidiary peaks which lie east of the main summit. They include the Roccia Nera, the Central Breithorn, the Gendarm or the eastern Breithorn Twin and the western Breithorn Twin.
Its first ascent was recorded back in 1813.
Best Time to Climb the Breithorn
The peak season falls in the months of July and August which are the warmest months. However, any time from May to October can be ideal to summit the Breithorn.
Breithorn Climbing Routes
The Breithorn is considered to be one of the easiest 4,000m peaks in Switzerland to climb. This is because the Klein Matterhorn cable car (from CHF 95,00) is used from Zermatt to take climbers to about 3,820m for a starting point. Its gorgeous views make it quite popular. You can catch the spectacular views of the Monte Rosa Group with all the 4000m and above summits, the Dent Blanche, the Matterhorn and the Weisshorn.
There are three main routes to choose from; the South-South-West Face also known as the Normal Route, the Half Traverse of the Breithorn or east ridge of the central summit and the north face (Triftjigrat).
The Normal Route (SSW)
It is the easiest route since it is accessible by cable car. The Klein Matterhorn cable will whisk you over 3800m from Zermatt. This will give easy access to the Breithorn Plateau. Rope up for the glacial travel to get across the plateau. Climb diagonally right of the west and central summit. The fine snow will lead you to the west ridge, a few metres shy of the summit.
Since it is mostly a glacier and snow route, the primary challenges are high altitude and crampon technique. Avalanches can be a hazard in poor weather conditions. Lives have even been lost.
It is a recommended route for beginners or inexperienced climbers. Adequate fitness and basic crampon techniques are a prerequisite.
- Best time to use this route
As long as the cable system is working, the route can be attempted all year round. Mostly summer seasons are ideal. Winter attempts can be made however there is potential avalanche danger.
A crevasse rescue kit and a 30m glacier travel rope.
The Half Traverse
It is also made accessible by the Klein Matterhorn lift from Zermatt. It has solid, excellent rock and steady snow. The general feel of high exposure makes it a special route. The ridge’s north side is mostly vertical and has a narrow crest. You will need to climb using hands on the north side and feet on small footholds on the south side.
Next you will begin the climb traversing the glaciers below the south side. This can be accessed via the Roccia Nera bivouac (Schwarzfluh or meaning Black Rock) to the bergschrund. Short rope the steeper snow to get to the coll at 4,022m. Proceed upwards to the ridge proper.
From here you will encounter short sections of snow and exposed easy rock. Climb over the three towers of the ridge. You will then take an easy walk to the east summit and finally traverse a corniced crest to the higher west summit.
Descent is via the normal route.
A crevasse rescue kit, a few wires, slings and a 50m glacier travel rope.
This terrain is a technical climb and you will need adequate knowledge of when to long pitch, short pitch, short rope or long rope.