The Weisshorn is a very recognizable peak and one of the secret stars around the mountaineering village of Zermatt. It is bordered by the Mattertal and the Turtmanntal in the north and Val d’Anniviers on the west.
About the Weisshorn
With neighboring peaks such as the Zinalrothorn, Dent Blanche and many other 4000-meter peaks around, the Weisshorn is in good company. Its symmetrical triangular shape offers a thrilling challenge for mountaineers. The views offered from its summit of peaks like Matterhorn, Dom and Monte Rosa come as a well-earned bonus.
The Weisshorn is surrounded by three valleys: Mattertal, Turtmanntal and Val d’Anniviers. It has an altitude of 4505 meters and was first ascended on August 19th, 1861 by John Tyndall, Johann Joseph Benet and Ulrich Wenger via the east ridge, now considered the normal route.
The Weisshorn might not be as popular as the Matterhorn, but it is a higher peak towering at 4505 meters. The ascent is slightly harder and longer than the Matterhorn ascend, andis of higher technical difficulty. The summit is often reached from the village of Randa via the Weisshorn Hut.
Accommodations near the Weisshorn
The Weisshorn is surrounded by three valleys: Mattertal, Turtmanntal and Val d’Anniviers, if you are looking for a fine hotel, these are worth checking out:
Klein Matterhorn Hotel is a 2-star Gastro-Suisse certified hotel / restaurant and is located in Randa in a prime central location next to the train station.
Backstage Boutique Hotel, The hotel bears the signature of Heinz Julen and every piece of furniture is handmade in his studio in Zermatt. The six Cube lofts are lover pieces, the hip Deluxe and StandART double rooms are creations of contemporary architecture and art.
Hotel Phoenix, located in the Quartier Wiesti (near the cable car Sunnegga). In 7-8 minutes you reach the train station, the village center and the various sports facilities. The bus stop to the Klein Matterhornbahn is only 200 m away, the valley station Sunnegga-Rothorn Paradise can be reached in only 1-2 minutes on foot.
The Mattertal is a popular holiday region in the Swiss Alps as it is home to several iconic mountains such as the Weisshorn, the Mischabel group and, ofcourse, the Matterhorn. It provides several charming villages as a base for hiking holidays.
Zermatt is a not-to-be-missed destination when it comes to visiting the Swiss Alps. One of the main reasons is the shadow of the Matterhorn 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 neighboring 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.
Val d’Anniviers is a valley in the Valais region characterized by a strong cultural history of alpine farming. The brown houses, barns and churches are the legacy of long-established traditions and crafts. The villages of Grimentz and Zinal are the biggest in this area.
The Turtmanntal is only inhabited during the summer months as it is not accessible in winter. The forested valley is a protected natural area. Visitors often stay in Gruben which has a hotel, and is a great base for hiking in the surroundings of several 4000-meter peaks. A hike to Turtmann glacier of Turtmann hut takes about half a day, while crossing the Augustbordpass to the Mattertal is considered as a strenuous day hike.
This mountain hut is the desired starting location for climbing the Weisshorn. It is located at an altitude of 2932 meters and is best reached from Randa. Hiking from the valley to the hut takes about 4 to 5 hours. Its excellent location and panoramic view of 19 4000-meter peaks in the Valais region, make it a goal worth setting for hikers.
The Schönbielhutte 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 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.
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. To reach the cabane glacier, crossings are involved and experienceis required. From Ferpècle, at about 1700 meters of altitude,reaching 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.
One of my favorite mountain cabins is the Cabane de Moiry, located above the Moiry glacier. Renovated to 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 1hour 30 minutes 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 those not used 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 of the Weisshorn
If you enjoy walking through alpine meadows, this short day hike is for you. The walk is about a 3-hour round trip from Blauherd to Tuftern back to Sunnega. Along the way, you will see some rare alpine flora including edelweiss. The hike offers views of the Weisshorn as well.
Best season: June to September
The alps are home to ibex, chamois and…marmots. The 3-hour walk from Blauherd to Sunnegga takes you past several information boards and observation points giving you glimpses of the area where the marmot lives. They are often seen in this region. Can you spot one?
Best season: June to September
Hike to Weisshorn Hut
Since most travelers stay in Zermatt, a train ride to Randa is the best option to start your hike. From Randa it takes about 4-5 hours to reach the Weisshorn Hut. Because of the elevation difference, the trail is considered to be demanding, although the views from the mountain refuge make the effort wellworth it.
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 a unique experience. Besides the Matterhorn, other 4000-meter peaks can be enjoyed as well, including the Dent Blanche. The trail is suitable for families with children as there are options to pull your kids on a sled.
Cabane de la 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. To reach the cabane glacier, crossings are involved and experienceis required. From Ferpècle, at about 1700 meters of altitude,reaching the hut necessitates an early start. It is owned by Marlyse Vuadens and has 45 beds. When planning to spend the night, reservations are a good idea. Half-board accommodations costs about 42CHF.
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 as it requires snow shoes. Guides take you up to the glacier located above the village of Zinal, and best of all, 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.
Things to do in the Weisshorn Region
The Alps offer some of the best hiking locations and the Mattertal is no exception. Views of the majestic peak during one of your hikes surpasses those you get from the village of Zermatt as the angle is much better higher up the valley flanks. The cable car leading to Schwarzsee, Trockener Steg and Klein Matterhorn makes the ascent easier for those who want to shorten their hike. 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.
Afterwards, be sure to enjoy a delicious cheese fondue or raclette in one of the fine restaurants in the center of Zermatt. Those who wish to learn more about the Matterhorn can visit the Matterhorn museum on their rest day.
The copper mine, La Lee, in Zinal offers a entirely 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 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 will 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.