The Zinalrothorn is a mountain peak located between the Mattertal and Zinal, from which its name is derived. The proximity of several 4000-meter peaks and the villages of Zermatt and Zinal make this a well-visited part of the Alps. Hikers and bikers can challenge themselves on the many trails surrounding the peak and enjoy splendid view of the Matterhorn, Weisshorn and Dent Blanche.
About the Zinalrothorn
The Zinalrothorn is a 4221-meter high mountain situated between the Matterhorn, Weisshorn and Dent Blanche. The name of the mountain is derived from the village of Zinal, located on the north side and from the German word rothorn, which can be translated as Red Peak. The ascent of the Zinalrothorn is considered as one of the most scenic in the Valais region. The summit offers views of several 4000-meter peaks including the Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn and the Weisshorn. The mountain was first successfully climbed on August 22, 1864 by Sir Leslie Stephen, Florence Craufurd and Melchior Anderegg via the northern ridge from Zinal. The Zinalrothorn has a very distinctive summit that appears to lean at an angle.
Climbing the Zinalrothorn
4 to 6 hours from Refuge de Grand Mountet.
The North ridge of the Zinalrothorn is the normal route from Zinal. This very nice ridge is slightly longer than the regular normal route (the ZW ridge from Zermatt) but is more beautiful and more adventurous! This route is highly recommended for every alpinist with extensive experience!
In most climbing guides this beautiful ridge is described as extremely light. In the beginning of the tour, you will think, that will surely all come along, but the farther you get, the more impression you get from the insane depth. Certainly the passage called Rasiermesser (the Razor) lives up to its name!
This is a 5 meter long passage on the ridge that is so sharp that you can only put a hand over it, if you have traversed the 5 meter you will literally climb the depth. You have 1000 meters of air under your feet while you make the step.
Then comes the beautiful towers of the Sphinx and the Bosse. The Sphinx is a beautiful big tower that you climb via the Mountet side. De Bosse is a very beautiful tower of about 40 meters high. This consists of beautiful plates and almost always has some snow remnants. There are the necessary mephaks and a stand in the middle. Do take some small camelots with you.The entire climb is a true experience. This starts with the beautiful and sharp snow ridge that leads to the actual rock ridge. The so-called Arête Blanc. The rock is of very good quality.
You can go back both via the same route and via the ZW ramp towards the Rothornhut. The preference is for the ZW ridge, which is faster and easier. The only disadvantage is that you end up in another valley, and that you may not know the way well (just pay attention after the snow ridge and the big snow field). If you go back via the Noordgraat, you can certainly count on four or five. It is a long ridge.The big Mountet round:What is done very regularly is the so-called Mountet round. (The name, however, I have come up with.) You park your car in Zinal and walk to the Ref. the Grand Mountet.The next day you climb the Obergabelhorn via the Noordwand or via the Couergraat and descend via the Wellenkuppe to the Rothornhut. Here you spend the night and the next day you climb the Zinalrothorn via the ZW graat and descend via the Northgraat back to the Grand Mountet. So you have made two very nice trips and you can easily get back to your car in Zinal.
Accommodation around the Zinalrothorn
Zermatt and Täsch in the Mattertal are the closest villages to the Zinalrothorn, while Zinal on the other side is also a great base for your holiday in the Zinalrothorn region, if you are looking for 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.
Hotel Bristol, the hotel is very centrally located and has free WIFI, spa, half-board restaurant and a cozy lobby with log fire. They are only a short distance from the cable cars.
Hotel Testa Grigia, located in the center of Zermatt. You can expect 33 spacious clean rooms, a perfectly functioning WiFi and a great breakfast buffet for a great value for money.
Zermatt is the base for those who wish to catch a glimpse of the majestic Matterhorn. Zermatt is to Switzerland what Chamonix is to France. This mountaineering village breathes history, as you will see traces of the past, not the least being the Zermatt cemetery where several mountaineers lie buried. 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. It is only for tents as there is no way to reach the campsite by car. Cost is 15 CHF/ day.
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, do keep in mind that this is according to Swiss standards.
Rothorn Hut (3,198 m)
The 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, located above Zermatt at the base of the Zinalrothornattracts a colorful variety of mountaineers and hikers seeking high-altitude challenges.
Grand Mountet Hut (2,886 m)
This 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 being 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 is such that the cabin is frequented by hikerslooking to get good views of the Zinal Glacier and surrounding peaks.
The 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 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 host with fresh potatoes, is a well- appreciated dish here.
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.
Hiking in the region of the Zinalrothorn
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.
Hike to 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.
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.
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.
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
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 incorporating a trip to the summit. Distance: 14 km round trip.
Things to do in the Zinalrothorn 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.
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.