3 Ways to climb the Breithorn, the easiest of all four thousanders.

Breithorn

The Breithorn

Breithorn
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.

 

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Breithorn Map

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Breithorn Map 45.940765, 7.748022

Breithorn map

 

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:

 

 

Zermatt: Gornergrat − Riffelberg

Live view of the Matterhorn, just next to the Breithorn.

 

Breithorn Climb – relative easy, but best with a guide.

breithorn-climb
Climbing the Breithorn. Photo: Maximilian Cieszynski

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).

Monte Rosa Massif
Breithorn Occidentale

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.

  • Skill Level

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.

  • What to carry

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.

  • What to carry

A crevasse rescue kit, a few wires, slings and a 50m glacier travel rope.

  • Skill Level

This terrain is a technical climb and you will need adequate knowledge of when to long pitch, short pitch, short rope or long rope.

The Triftjigrat

This is a classic alpine climb route. It is quite a lengthy climb, about 1,400m meaning you will have to be fit and fast. From the Gandegg, head downwards onto the Theodul glacier (Theodulgletscher) the move across. Gradually move up and then take a left to the left side of the spur just before the Triftjiplateau.

Traverse across this and you’ll reach a steep couloir that’s from the summit. You can either short rope or short pitch to the western summit before an easy descent via the normal route.

  • What to carry

A crevasse recue kit, wires, slings, ice screws for the belays and a 60m rope for longer pitches. Snowshoes will come in handy especially when crossing the Theodulgletscher.

the summits of the Breithorn

Accommodations near the Breithorn

Zermatt is the base for those who wish to see or climb the Breithorn. Zermatt is to Switzerland what Chamonix is to France. This mountaineering village breaths history as you will see traces of the past. Not in the least is the Zermatt cemetery where several mountaineers lie buried.

Hotels/ Campsites in Zermatt

Zermatt is flocked with day tourists taking the Glacier Express train to the village, since no cars are allowed in the center. Most of them spend the night in one of the many hotels in the village. However, for those on a budget, or spending a night in Zermatt before commencing their hike, there is a campsite available, the closest being camping Matterhorn at the entry of the village about two minutes from the train station. This is only for tents as there is no way to reach the campsite by car. Cost is 15 CHF/ day. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth considering:

Hotel Alpenhof is located in the center of Zermatt, in a sunny, quiet location near the train station. The opposite cable car Sunnegga and the Gornergratbahn, which is only a five-minute walk away, lead you directly to Zermatt’s ski and hiking paradise – within easy reach of the Matterhorn.

Hotel Albana Real in Zermatt welcomes you to a refined yet familiar atmosphere. The luxurious cozy rooms, expressing a touch of Art-Deco, invite you to enjoy tranquility and relaxation.

 

Hotel Butterfly is ideal for modern globetrotters and active snow sports enthusiasts. You feel comfortable in the cozy rooms and you feel at home. The center of Zermatt is around the corner. The train station, the famous Gornergratbahn and the mountain sports facilities can be reached in 3 minutes on foot.

Mountain huts in the area

Mountain hut - Gandegg Hutte
Gandegg Hutte

If you’re planning on climbing the Breithorn, you can easily take the cable car to Klein Matterhorn in the morning and climb the peak up and down in a few hours before returning to Zermatt for a delicious raclette. However, for those who wish to have a bit of a mountaineering feel, other options are available.

Gandegghütte

The Gandegghütte is a cosy little mountain hut accommodating climbers and hikers. It is located about 30 minutes from the Trockener Steg cable car station. Not only is it a great base for climbing Breithorn, but it provides a comfortable night of sleep for those who wish to hike the Tour de Monte Rosa or hike to Theodulpass. From the hut, you get splendid  views of Breithorn and the Matterhorn.

Mountain hut - Theodulhutte
Theodulhütte

Theodulhutte / Refuge du Théodule

Another great trip is to Theodulhütte or ‘Refuge du Théodule’ at 3.317 m., close the Theodulpass. This is the highest mountain pass in the Alps. From Zermatt, this requires a lengthy ascent to Trockener Steg (or a short ride on the cable car) before crossing the Theodul glacier leading to the pass. Near the pass, you will find the Theodulhütte often used by hikers of the Tour de Monte Rosa. It has 86 beds and it is open from June till September.  (Phone +39 – 0166 949 400)

Mountain hut - Monte Rosa Hut
Monte Rosa Hut

Spending a night in the Monte Rosa Hut is a great experience. This innovative structure has a very recognizable silver-colored surface that looks like mountain crystal. But not only the structure is modern. The several integrated solar panels and thermal solar collectors provide 90 percent of the energy consumed by the mountain hut. Melting water is collected in a rock cavity while a filter system cleans the wastewater. The hut is mostly used by mountaineers looking to climb the Dufourspitze via the normal route.

 

Hiking routes with views of the Breithorn

While the Breithorn is often overlooked due to the neighbouring Matterhorn, the massif is one of the Alps classics.

BreithornTour the Matterhorn

Despite the fact that this 145-kilometer trek circumnavigates the Matterhorn, it provides great views of the Breithorn on the sections near Zermatt. It is best done during the summer in July or August when the weather is good and the mountain huts where you’ll be staying are open. Some experience with glacier hiking may be necessary as you will be crossing the Theodul glacier. An alternative is to hire a guide for this portion of the trail.

Tour de Monte Rosa

The Tour de Monte Rosa is another multi-day trek in the same area. It provides great views of the Monte Rosa massif, the Matterhorn and the Breithorn as well. It crosses the Theodulpass, the second highest mountain pass in the Alps and explores the Valais region and the Valle D’Aoste. Along the way, spending your nights in cabins such as Europahutte and Gandegghutte makes the experience of hiking in the Alps even better. Both Gandegghutte and Theodulhutte are recommended stayovers offering splendid views.

Abenteuerweg

The Abenteuerweg or Adventure trail is a steep trail (900 meters in little over 4 kilometers) leading from the Rothorn to Tufteren. You will be descending all the way and still be rewarded with magnificent views of the surrounding 4,000-meter peaks, including the Breithorn. The trail takes about 1h40 min to complete, without the many stops for taking pictures, that is.

Aussichtsweg

Aussichtsweg
photo Ian Slingsby

This short hike is suitable for a levels. Along the way, you will be enchanted by panoramic views of 29 mountains above 4,000 meters. So, you could say that the trail lives up to its reputation. Few trails this short provide such scenic panoramas of the Alps–a real must if you are short on time.

Zermatt to Gornergrat via the Riffelsee

The Gornergrat is situated at the end of a mountain train line, so it’s easy to take a train back to Zermatt afterwards (CHF 40 one-way). From this point, you are offered great views of the Monte Rosa, Lyskamm, Castor, Pollux and Breithorn. You can reach Gornergrat by hiking to Riffelalp through the forest and then take the furthest trail to the south above the Gorner valley. This leads to the Riffelsee, where you will see the trail going towards the Gornergrat. It takes about five hours oneway, so if you intend to hike back down as well, be sure to make an early start. At Rifferalp, you will pass by a 5-star hotel that features some of the most delicious Rösti with bratwurst.

Zermatt to Chalbermatten and return via Zmutt and Zum See

photo Izakigur

This hike brings you under the north face of the Matterhorn, meaning you will catch great views of the Monte Rosa massif and the Breithorn. It is one of the classic hikes that takes you through the beautiful hamlet of Zmutt. The ideal walk would be to make a loop by starting via Eldelweiss and take the high contour via Hubel. A detour via Zumsee is recommended if you are getting hungry after the walk. Max und Greti’s offers the best cinnamon ice cream you will eat during your visit to Switzerland. They also have full menus available.

Hike to Trockener Steg / Gandagg Hutte

A popular option for a hike is towards Trockener Steg and Gandagg Hutte. The route passes Schwarzsee, which offers great views of the Matterhorn and surrounding 4,000-meter peaks. The ascent to Trockener Steg from Zermatt ratchets up the altitude meters. If you’re not sure about your physical capabilities, there is the option of using the cable car before descending back to the village. Gandagg hutte, located about 30 minutes from the Trockener Steg cable car station, offers great accommodations for an overnight stay. In the area are great walks towards the Theodulglacier or even Klein Matterhorn.

Things to do in the Breithorn region

For those with mountaineering ambitions, the Breithorn is a peak within access of most abilities. If you have no prior experience in mountaineering, be sure to hire a guide in Zermatt. Hikers, on the other hand, are tempted by the Theodulpass close to the Breithorn massif, since this is not only one of the highest passes in the Alps, but it marks the border between Italy and Switzerland.

There is no doubt that hiking is one of the best things to do while spending your time in the Mattertal. This will provide you the best views of some iconic 4,000-meter peaks. The cable car up to Klein Matterhorn makes it easier for those with less time. Also, with over 100 kilometers of biking trails reaching 1,400 to 3,100 meters of altitude, the region around Zermat offers a unique mountainbiking experience suitable for all levels.

zermatt valaisDay tourists will have no problem filling their day in Zermatt by visiting the Matterhorn Museum, wandering the streets and enjoying some delicious Valais specialties in one of the many restaurants. Chances are high that you will need to take the train to leave the Mattertal (or at least Zermatt). However, the Glacier Express from Zermatt to Brig is known for its scenic mountain views and is considered as one of the best train journeys in the world. Here you can check for things to do in Zermatt.

Hiking with kids near the Breithorn

Kids child carrier backpack for hiking
Photo  by furiousmadgeorge 

Spending your holiday in Zermatt with small children? Even if your children can’t yet walk, there are some great options for hiking. The Rundwanderung Täsh is a great round-trip hike suitable for those who wish to get some great views. The little altitude difference makes it ideal for families with children, even if you decide to bring a baby carriage. You can swim in the Schalisee Lake, rest at one of the many playgrounds along the route or enjoy the views on the Breithorn.

The best travel times to the Breithorn

The best travel times to the Breithorn are the months of May through September. The average day temperature fluctuates between 20 and 25 degrees, although it can still get very cold up the mountain. The greatest chance of sun is in July and August.

In general, Switzerland can be visited all year round, but for wintersport the period from January to March is the best travel time. For hiking in the mountains the best time  is from July to September.

The high season in Zerrmatt is from the end of June to the end of August and from the end of December to the end of March.

Sights

Switzerland is a popular destination for both winter sports enthusiasts and fanatical hikers because of the Alps. Wallis, also known as Valais, is a popular region. It is the region around Breithorn and the more famous mountain Matterhorn, including the tourist town Zermatt at the foot of the Breithorn.

 

Flora and fauna in the region

In spring, the tender flowers of the Soldanella are the first to penetrate the alpine meadows through the last layer of snow. It is the beginning of a beautiful flower season, which is considered by many tourists as the main attraction of Valais. In the months of May and June the deep blue gentians still bloom on the slopes between 1200 and 1600m; after that, the flowers in the higher areas are fully in bloom.

The climate in Valais ensures exceptional vegetation. Due to the influence of the sun, the tree line can rise above 2000m. Anywhere else in Europe trees usually won’t grow above 1750 m. As people get higher up in the mountains, however, the vegetation decreases. Logical, when one considers that the average temperature ins July at 4000 m altitude is -9 ° C.

Protected flowers and plants

The Swiss Institute for Nature Conservation has ensured that a large number of flowers and plants are protected in Valais. This means that it is forbidden to pick or dig out such flowers or plants. The pink mountain Cyclamen and the blue Alpine Columbine are protected. Various lilies may also not be picked, and the same applies to various orchids that can bloom on the alpine pastures.

Of course there is Edelweiss, but that plant has become so rare that it is hard to discover it in the wild. Also the alpine roses (family of the azalea) are protected, just like the Männertreu, a deep red to vanilla scented flower, which is named so because it almost immediately falls out when it is unexpectedly plucked. Which casts a light on the one who made up the name. Thousands of succulents and mosses thrive on rocky ground.

In the endless alpine meadows, herbs grow like thyme, cumin and fennel. These plants are often decisive for the strongly scented alpine air that guides walkers almost always on their journey.

Not protected but also worth mentioning is the yellow Arnica Montana, a plant of about 50 cm height, which is often used to relieve pain during sprains or contusions. The rubbing with a single flower on a bruise can provide relief after a short time, but more solace offers a brew of boiling water with some crushed flowers that has been able to attract at least a quarter of an hour. Here compresses can be soaked.

Wildlife

The Institute has had since 1976 a unique visitor center on the Riederalp (Villa Cassel), where thousands of visitors come every year. This villa was built in the beginning of the 20th century, and Churchill spent his holidays there. He said he slept like a Murmeltier, and he felt as healthy as never before. The Murmeltiere Churchill speaks of are the specific alpine marmots, which occur everywhere in Wallis, but especially in Aletschwald. They live in colonies in very extensive cave systems. Their hibernation lasts from October to April.

Murmeltier breithorn
Murmeltier

Other animals are of course the chamois and ibex, which generally live above the tree line and are excellent climbers and jumpers. Their food consists of grasses, mosses, pine needles, twigs and tree bark. During the winter months they often come a little lower, in search of food. It is interesting to be able to observe the animal spores in the snow.

In the typical Valaisian fauna, you should of course also mention the Saint Bernhard dogs, which can be visited on the eponymous pass, and the black Ehringer cows, which mainly occur in the Val d’Anniviers. Valais also has a number of birds of prey, including the golden eagle, the griffon vulture and the eagle owl. The large swarms of alpine crows (Dohlen), which live at high altitudes in the summer, and find plenty of crowing around hotels and holiday homes in the winter, hoping to find something to their liking.

 

 

Ober Gabelhorn – Part of the most famous skyline in Switzerland

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Ober Gabelhorn

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Ober Gabelhorn 46.037200, 7.668500

The Ober Gabelhorn is a 4000-meter peak in the Pennine Alps in the west of the well-known mountaineering village of Zermatt. From its summit, climbers have views of some of the most famous mountains in the Alps including the Dom (4545m), the Matterhorn (4478m), Monte Rosa (4634m) and the Breithorn (4185m). The same views make the region around Ober Gabelhorn a true hiker’s paradise.

About the Ober Gabelhorn

The Ober Gabelhorn reaches an altitude of 4063meters and is located in the Swiss canton of Valais at the southern end of the Zinal valley, a part of the Val d’Anniviers. The peak has a pyramidal shape, similar to the nearby Matterhorn, but smaller. The north face of the Ober Gabelhorn is completely glaciated while the other faces are mostly rocky. It is part of the glaciated mountain massif that includes the Dent Blanche. Together with the Dent Blanche and the Zinalrothorn, it rises above the Zinal glacier.

The mountain was first ascended on July 6, 1865 by A.W. Moore, Horace Walker and Jakob Anderegg. The second ascent of the peak, and the first on the north-north-west ridge, was made one day later by Lord Francis Douglas, Peter Taugwalder and Joseph Vianin on July 7, 1865. At the time of their ascent, the hikers were not aware of Moore and his party’s success the previous day. It is considered as one of the nicest Valais mountains due the fact that it provides great viewsfon some of the most famous peaks in the Alps. There is no easy way to the summit: the easiest route from Rothornhütte is AD. The south-west ridge is called the Arbengrat while the north-north-west ridge is Arête du Coeur. The south-east ridge looking over the Ober Gabeljoch (3,597 m) is the Gabelhorngrat. The Wellenkuppe on the side is a lower prominence on the north-east ridge; it is usually climbed as part of the normal route. Huts serving the peak are the Rothorn Hut (3,198 m), the Grand Mountet Hut (2,886 m) and the Arben Bivouac (3,224 m).

Accommodations around the Ober Gabelhorn

The Ober Gabelhorn has some famous and notorious neighbouring peaks, which makes ita popular region amongst travelers and climbers. With Zinal and Zermatt serving as great bases for an active holiday, you could not wish for a better setting, if you are looking for fine hotel these are worth checking out:

Hotel Firefly, It is a family owned hotel located in zermatt. This is the kind of hotel where you’d be pleased to spend the day thanks to the unusual concept of this four-star superior hotel. Your choice to relax and enjoy extraordinary service through out the day is paramount here.

Hotel Alex, This unique hotel in Zermatt combines modernity and tradition to create an attractive world of experiences with many surprises.

Christiania Hotels & Spa, The Franzen Family welcome you with a cosy informal atmosphere and boost your natural resources in their modern spa or in the wonderful natural setting with views of the Matterhorn.

Zermatt

Zermatt is a not-to-be-missed destination when it comes to visiting the Swiss Alps. One of the main reasons is the Matterhorn’s shadow hanging above the village center. Zermatt is to the Matterhorn what Chamonix is to Mont Blanc. The traffic-free center gives the village a charming atmosphere, not often surpassed in the Alps. The center of Zermatt can be reached on foot or by taking the Glacier Express from the neighbouring village of Täsh. There are plenty of options for accommodations, even though most hotels are quite pricey due to the location. Budget travelers may find alternative options at the nearby campsite, just outside the village center.

Zinal

Zinal is a small Swiss alpine village situated in Val d’Anniviers, close to the Mattertal.  It is surrounded by the highest mountains in the Alps, making it a favorite place to stay for active travelers seeking splendid hikes in the region. Despite the fact that Zinal is quite small, it has several hotels in its center. Prices tend to be a bit more affordable than Zermatt, and it has rooms for all budgets. However, keep in mind that this is according to Swiss standards.

Rothorn Hut (3,198 m)

Mountain Hut - Rothorn HutThe hut can be reached in 4.5 hours from Zermatt. The easiest way is to follow the signs from the village center. The alpine hut is located above Zermatt, at the base of the Zinalrothorn. It attracts a colorful variety of mountaineers and hikers seeking high-altitude challenges.

Grand Mountet Hut (2,886 m)

Mountain hut - Rothorn HutThis mountain hut is located near Zinal and is often used as a starting point for climbs of Zinalrothorn, Ober Gabelhorn, Pointe de Zinal and Dent Blanche. It was originally built in 1887, but has been modified multiple times, the last in 1996. At the moment, about 115 people can spend the night here. Situated in the middle of glaciers, it has an impressive setting, although accessibility by trail makesthe cabin frequented by hikerslooking to get good views of the Zinal Glacier and surrounding peaks.

Arben Bivouac (3,224 m)

This bivouac hut is an unguarded place that can accommodate about 15 people. It is often used for climbers who are after the summit of Ober Gabelhorn. The hut is provided with gas and utensils, but there is no food or drink. Light is provided from solar panels. The best way to reach it is from Zermatt via Schwarzsee to Staffelalp restaurant, Arben waterfalls and finally towards the Arben glacier. The last 150meters to the hut are very steep and equipped with ladders and cables.

Schönbielhütte

Mountain hut - SchönbielhütteThe Schönbielhütte is surrounded by some of the most mighty peaks in the Alps such as the Matterhorn, the Dent Blanche and the Obergabelhorn. It is a popular starting point for classic routes like the Tour du Ciel. From Schwarzsee, it takes about 2.5 hours to reach the hut, making for a splendid walk. The hut has 6 dormitories hosting 80 people at the maximum. Hikers often spend the night here to enjoy the beautiful sunset and the delicious meals. They serve a mountaineer’s menu as well as Swiss cheese toast, rösti, etc. The rösti, prepared by the host with fresh potatoes, is a well-appreciated dish here.

Hiking in the region of the Ober Gabelhorn

The region of the Ober Gabelhorn is dotted with famous peaks such as the Weisshorn, the Dom, the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa and Breithorn, making it a true paradise for hikers.

Zinal glacier

Glacier
Zinal glacier Photo by Barbara Michalowska

If regular hiking is too routine for you, the hike to Zinal Glacier might offer a new dimension. However, this hike is available in winter season only and it requires snow shoes. Guides can take you up to the glacier located above the village of Zinal, and best of all, take you inside the icy world of a crevassed glacier. Duration: 2 hours.

Historic Trail of Zinal

For those who wish to combine hiking with learning about the local culture, the historic trail of Zinal is a good option. This educational trail will take you along 17 information boards that give good insight into the history of the small town and region. Be sure to visit the tourist information center first where you will be given a book that provides additional information.

Tracuit Hut

Mountain Hut - Tracuit Hut
Tracuit Hut Photo by Neil M

Located above Zinal in the canton of Valais, this hut lies at an elevation of 3,256 meters above sea level at the Tracuit Pass, between Les Diablons and the Tête de Milon in the Pennine Alps. The trail  leads to one of the highest cabanes of the Alps at an amazing height of 3256meters. From Cabane de Tracuit, you’ll get an amazing view over the 4000+ meter mountains and the Turtmann glacier.

Hike to Schonbielhutte

This hike combines two great trails, the Matterhorn and Schonbielhutte, for a fantastic point-to-point hike with stunning views of the Matterhorn, Dent Blanche, the Ober Gabelhorn massif and the Zmutt Glacier. It starts in Zermatt with a gondola ride to Schwarzsee and descends to the beautiful meadows of Obere Stafelalp with impressive views of the Matterhorn’s sheer north face along with the Ober Gabelhorn massif and Dent Blanche. The trail to Schonbielhutte is about 10km (one way) and 600meters of elevation gain.

Oberrothorn

Mountain - Oberrothorn
Oberrothorn Photo by PaiviSvanback

Hikers climbing the strenuous trail to the top of the Oberrothorn (3,414 meters) are rewarded with stunning panoramic views of 38 peaks over 4,000 meters. From the summit, you will enjoy glorious views of the Ober Gabelhorn-Weisshorn Group towering above the Zermatt valley. Ski lifts facilitate the climb to the top while a good network of hiking trails allows parties to create interesting loop hikes, incorporated into a trip to the summit. Distance: 14 km round trip.

Things to do in the Ober Gabelhorn region

Hiking every day can be physically challenging. Fortunately, the region around the Ober Gabelhorn offers plenty of options for a rest day. The Glacier Express is one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world, passing some of the finest alpine vistas. Starting in Zermatt, it heads towards Brig in the north traversing several viaducts and amazing panoramas. This is the best way to enjoy the Swiss Alps without much effort.

The copper mine, La Lee, in Zinal offers an entirely different experience of the Alps. Exploring the 500-meter trails inside the mountain is unique, and it is the only mine accessible to the public. Looking for some Swiss history? The old farm in Zinal dates back to 1768 and has a historic cheese cellar with the traditional “fromage des mortes” (cheese of the death). Tours are possible.

Hiking with kids

The Animal Trail leading from Grimentz to St. Jean is one of the top picks when it comes to family hiking. During this short trek, you get to know the alpine animals in a fun and educational way. The trail leads through the regional forests and affords several fun activities including recognizing animal footprints and silhouettes of animals and answering riddles.

Dent Blanche – The border guard of the French and German languages

dent blanche
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Dent Blanche

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Dent Blanche 46.034900, 7.611900

Located at the end of the Mattertal in the west of Zermatt, the Dent Blanche marks the border between French-speaking Switzerland and the German part of the country. Surrounded by several 4000-meter peaks, including Obergabelhorn and Zinalrothorn, it one of the most popular regions in the Swiss Alps for mountaineers and travelers looking for hikes.

About the Dent Blanche

The Dent Blanche is a 4357-meter high mountain peak, located in the Swiss Alps between the Zinaltal and Mattertal. The Dent Blanche marks the linguistic border of the French and German-speaking parts of Switzerland. It used to have a German name as well, Steinbockhorn, because of the large number of ibex found near the mountain. It was first ascended on July 18th, 1862 by Jean Baptiste Croz, Johann Kronig, William Wigram and Thomas Stuart Kennedy.
The normal route, the southern Wandfluhgrat, starts at Cabane de la Dent Blance (3507m) owned by the Swiss Alpine Club. Other well-known routes are the Westgrat and the Ostnortostgrat. The latter one has the Schönbielhütte as a starting point. The Dent Blanche is regarded as one of the most difficult 4000-meter peaks in the Alps.

Accommodations around the Dent Blanche

The Mattertal is a popular holiday region in the Swiss Alps as it is home to several iconic mountains such as the Weisshorn, the Breithorn and, ofcourse, the Matterhorn. It provides several charming villages as a base for hiking holidays. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Helvetia, the cheap and centrally located two-star hotel in Zermatt! At Helvetia, cleanliness and friendliness are very important. The excellent location within walking distance of the train station and mountain railway station in the very heart of Zermatt and our staff guarantee an unforgettable stay.

Hotel Veisivi is pleased to welcome you in a village setting, quiet, typical of central Valais. You can easily reach it by road, by post bus or by car, 25 minutes from the motorway N9 exit Sion-est Val d’Hérens.

Hôtel des Haudères is located in the center of the village of Haudères. Built in 1869, Renovated in 1968, it consists of 25 rooms with breathtaking views of the Alps, located on the central square near all necessary services.

Zermatt

Zermatt is a not-to-be-missed destination when it comes to visiting the Swiss Alps. One of the main reasons is the Matterhorn’s shadow hanging above the village center. Zermatt is to the Matterhorn what Chamonix is to Mont Blanc. The traffic-free center gives the village a charming atmosphere not often surpassed in the Alps. The center of Zermatt can be reached on foot or by taking the Glacier Express from the neighbouring village of Täsh. There are plenty of options for accommodations, eventhough most hotels are quite pricy due to the location. Budget travelers may find alternative options at the nearby campsite, just outside the village center.

Zinal

Zinal is a small Swiss alpine village situated in Val d’Anniviers, close to the Mattertal. It is surrounded by the highest mountains in the Alps, making it a favorite place to stay for active travelers seeking some splendid hikes in the region. Despite the fact that Zinal is quite small, it has several hotels in its center. Prices tend to be a bit more affordable than Zermatt and it has rooms for all types of budget. However, do keep in mind that this is still according to Swiss standards.

Cabane de la Dent Blanche cabane dent blanche

The Cabane de la Dent Blanche is situated near the Ferbècle glacier at an altitude of 3507 meters. It is often used by mountaineers as a stayover for a summit bid of the Dent Blanche. Reaching the cabane glacier crossings is involved and experienceis required. From Ferpècle, about 1700 meters of altitude,to reach the hut necessitates an early start. The hut is owned by Marlyse Vuadens and has 45 beds. When planning to spend the night here, reservations might be a good idea. Half-board accommodations costs about 42CHF.

Schönbielhütte

The Schönbielhütte Mountain Hut - Schönbielhütteis surrounded by some of the most mighty peaks in the Alps such as the Matterhorn, the Dent Blanche and the Obergabelhorn. It is a popular starting point for classic routes like the Tour du Ciel. From Schwarzsee, it takes about 2.5 hours to reach the hut, making for a splendid walk. The hut has 6 dormitories hosting 80 people maximum. Hikers often spend the night here to enjoy the beautiful sunset scenery and the delicious meals. They serve a mountaineer’s menu as well as Swiss cheese toast, rösti, etc. The rösti, prepared by the hostwith fresh potatoes, is a well- appreciated dish here.

Cabane de Moiry

Cabane de Moiry

One of my favorite mountain cabins is the Cabane de Moiry, located above the Moiry glacier. Renovated to reach high standards, this is one of the finest huts to visit. From Zinal, the trail leads along the Haute Route, a 200-kilometer trek from Chamonix to Zermatt. The hut has a large dining area with panoramic windows offering views of the Moiry Glacier. On some occasions, you can see experienced mountaineers crossing it. Spending the night here costs 38 CHF (meals excluded). It is reached in 1h30 from the end of the road of the dam of Moiry. The trail is alpine, steep in places and we recommend the use of good walking equipment and a rope for children and people who are not used to alpine trails at the most delicate passages. Snow may cover parts of the trail until late in the season, sometimes even in late July or early August

Hiking in the region around Dent Blanche

Hiking is one of the top activities in the Swiss Alps. With thousands of kilometers of marked trails, there are endless options to explore the beauty of the mountains–whether your goal is a mountain hut, a scenic viewpoint, or just a circular hike.

Zinal glacier

Zinal glacierIf regular hiking is too routine for you, the hike to Zinal Glacier might offer a new dimension. However, this hike is available in winter season only as it requires snow shoes. Guides can take you up to the glacier located above the village of Zinal, and even best of all, take you inside the icy world of a crevassed glacier. Duration: 2 hours.

Historic Trail of Zinal

For those who wish to combine hiking with learning about the local culture, the historic trail of Zinal is a good option. This educational trail will take you along 17 information boards that will give you good insight into the history of the small town and region. Be sure to visit the tourist information center first as you will be given a book that provides additional information.

Hike to Cabane Petit Mountet

Cabane Petit Mountet

The hike to Cabane Petit Mountet is a panoramic day hike starting in Zinal by taking the cable car to col de Sorebois (2438 meter). From this location, it takes about 13 kilometers and up to 5 hours to reach Zinal. Along the way, Cabane de Petit Mountet is a great rest stop to get some refreshments or have a nice meal. Bear in mind that this is a challenging hike, not to be undertaken by families with children.

Europaweg to Zermatt

One of the most scenic multi-day hikes in the Alps is the Walkers Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. This trail passes Zinal in the Val d’Anniviers and ends in Zermatt at the end of the Mattertal. From the Val d’Anniviers, the Mattertal is easily reached via Turtmanntal and Augustbordpass. From St Niklaus, the Europaweg marks the final two stages of your journey. It is an epic multi-day hike with the reward of a splendid view of the Matterhorn. Duration: 4-5 days.

Edelweissweg trail

The Edelweiss trail via Höhbalmen is a strenuous day hike that can take up to 8 hours, but it is well worth it. Not only will you catch unique glimpses of the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa massif, but you will have the opportunity to see edelweiss flowers in the alpine pastures–any hiker’s dream. During this hike, you can even see them at eye level. Take the route via the Höhbalmen as this is one of the finest vantage points in the region.

Rotenboden – Riffelberg

This trail provides winter options. The wow factor is huge on this hike as a view of the Matterhorn against a blue winter sky is an unique experience. Besides the Matterhorn, other 4000-meter peaks can be enjoyed as well, including the Dent Blanche. The trail is even suitable for families with children as there are options to pull your kids on a sled.

Other activities in the region around Dent Blanche train glacier express

Hiking every day can be physically challenging. Fortunately the region around Dent Blanche offers plenty of other options for a rest day. The Glacier Express is one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world as it passes some of the finest alpine vistas. Starting in Zermatt, it heads towards Brig in the north traversing several viaducts and amazing panoramas. This is the best way to enjoy the Swiss Alps without much effort.
The copper mine, La Lee, in Zinal offers a whole different experience in the Alps. Exploring the 500 meter trails inside the mountain is unique as it is the only mine accessible to the public. Looking for some Swiss history? The old farm in Zinal dates back from 1768 and has a historic cheese cellar with the traditional “fromage des mortes” (cheese of the death). Tours are possible.

Hiking with kids

The Animal Trail leading from Grimentz to St-Jean is one of the top picks when it comes to family hiking. During this short trek, you get to know the alpine animals in a fun and educational way. The trail leads through the regional forests and affords several fun activities including: recognizing animal footprints, recognizing silhouettes of animals and answering riddles.

Lagginhorn

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Lagginhorn

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Lagginhorn 46.157100, 8.003100

Facts About Lagginhorn.

Lagginhorn is the peak at the farthest part of the northeast side of the Walliser Alps in Valais, Switzerland. Standing at 4010m above sea level. This might be the only reported peak climbed without crampons and crevasse-related danger. Quite a disparity from the climbing skills needed in reaching the peak of its adjacent mountain, the Fletschhorn. As part of the Mischabel Group, it is also slightly close to Dom by several miles. You can also view the Dufourspitze from the top.

How to get to the peak of Lagginhorn?

Take the train to Visp. Then take the bus to Saas Grund. You can choose between hiking to the Weissmies hut. Or you can take the cableway to Hohsaas. Walk from here to reach the Weissmies hut. Prepare for your trek to the peak from here.

What to expect at Lagginhorn?

You can enjoy local culinary delights at the Weissmies hut. But some hikers make 2 stop overs. First at the Kreuzboden rail station. There is a restaurant there serving local fare. And the second is the Weissmies hut itself. The path is steep but not slippery. It made the climb almost easy.

This is also one peak to reach easily in case you made it to the Fletschhorn first. Weissmieshutte is the common denominator regarding stopovers. And being in the same “compound” as the Mischabel group made it accessible for Fletschhorn climbers.

Gross Fiescherhorn

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Gross Fiescherhorn

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Gross Fiescherhorn 46.551300, 8.061500

Facts About Gross Fiescherhorn.

Gross Fiescherhorn is a peak found in the Bernese Alps standing at 4049m above sea level. Located at Berne in Valais, Switzerland. It is surround by glaciers names Ewischneefeld, Walliser Fischerfirn and Obers Ischmeer. Some hikers discovered this peak after reaching the summit of the Finsteraarhorn. Others have heard of it from fellow hikers staying at the Finsteraarhorn hut for the stopover.

How to get to the peak of Gross Fiescherhorn?

You can drive starting from Jungfraujoch. Other hikers are familiar with this spot when they took the train to the Jungfrau route. If driving, take the route from Sphinxstollen to Jungfraufirn. Get to the driving sequence of Konkordiaplatz-Grunefirn-Grunhornlucke. Go downwards to the Fiescher glacier. Cross this glacier across the rocks to get to the Finsteraarhorn hut.

From the hut, traverse the Walliser Fiescherfirn glacier. Turn northwest to the steep slope. Walk past the ice slabs and seracs. Beware of the deep crevasses while crossing them. You then reach the Fiescher plateau. This leads you to the Fieschersattel. See the mountain’s southeast rock ridge on this part to reach the peak.

What to expect at Gross Fiescherhorn?

The common starting point is Finsteraarhorn hut. You can come from Jungfraujoch or from Kuhboden. The Monchjoch close to the Monch is the only stopover alternative if you start from Fiescherhorner. Contact the reservations desk at the Finsteraarhorn hut through their landline number, 079 321 89 09.

Strahlhorn

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Strahlhorn

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Strahlhorn 46.013100, 7.902100

Facts About Strahlhorn.

Strahlhorn is one of the underrated peaks found at the Pennine Alps. It stands at 4190m above sea level. Some trekkers end up discovering other peaks from this mountain. Or it may have been discovered from a hiking trip in one of its adjacent peaks found at the Dom, the Alphubel or any other mountain found in the Mischabel Group in the Alps. Otherwise known as “The Strahlhorn”. It occasionally caused confusion among new tourists as there is another mountain at the Bernese Alps of the same name.

How to get to the peak of Strahlhorn?

Starting from Saas Valley will be a little familiar to you by now. It is one of the starting points of the other Alpine summit, Alphubel. Drive from the Geneva International Airport towards A1. Drive to Losanne then turn to the A9 up to Visp. From Visp, drive upwards to Stalden then get into the Saastal. On this route, you will get to Saas Fee. From here, take one of the lifts towards the Britannia hut.

What to expect at Strahlhorn?

A route from Italy is available for tourists coming from that side of the Alps. But most treks start at the Britannia hut, a highly recommended path as this is one of the closest to the peak itself. Contacting Britannia hut’s reservations’ desk would lead to real-time recommendations too.