Climbing the South East Ridge of the Zinalrothorn (4,221 meters) in the Swiss Alps

Climbing the South East Ridge of the Zinalrothorn (4,221 meters) in the Swiss Alps

Our route:

Access to the Rothornhütte from Zermatt (1600m; 4.5h)

From the train station in Zermatt go through the pedestrian zone to a corner house with signs (including “Rothornhütte”). Turn right and west on a steep path to the mountain slopes to the right of the Triftbach. At the foot of the slope, the mountain path changes to the left side of the valley and leads up to the “Edelweiss” restaurant. The path leads up to the Hôtel du Trift (2337m). Continue NW to the flat rubble cirque of the Vieliboden (2488m). On the other side, a large moraine begins in front of the Schrofen slopes. Over her back it goes straight to the Rothornhütte SAC at 3198m.

South East Ridge of the Zinalrothorn from the Rothornhütte, AD ( III ), G 5-6

From the Rothornhütte, go right and uphill to the Rothorngletscher. Follow the cairns and ascend the glacier until a gully in the left cliffs at about 3,450 meters.

Climb the gully, then traverse the scree slope to the following ridge. Scramble up the ridge to the boulder field.

Continue up the NE ridge following cairns to a snow patch. The snow patch is usually melted out with a trail running below it however the normal track goes across the center of it with cairns and a track on the other side.

Ascend the large and final snow/ice slope to gain the ridgeline. Traverse the ridgeline. Ditch snow gear at the end of the snow traverse as the rest will be on rock.

Scramble towards the gully below the summit. Don’t climb in the gully, but 5-10 meters to the left of it. Be cautious of rockfall from the gully or parties above. There is a bolt anchor every 30 meters, which can also be used to rappel the route on the return trip (there are 25 meter rappels cords in the gully). There are about 5 pitches of this to the summit ridge.

Go behind and left of the next large boulder, then traverse left following bolts. Once past the overhanging traverse, follow a set of steel bars drilled into the ridgeline. Gain the next ridgeline.

Follow the ridgeline to the summit. Traverse left at the first gendarme, then right around the second gendarme.

To reverse the NE Ridge, go back past the first two gendarmes, rappel from the first steel pole to an anchor about 5 meters left of the lowest steel pole, then from the slings around the large block, then either the 30-meter single bolt rappels if you have a 60 meter rope or the 25-meter rappel cords in the gully if you have a 50 meter rope.

Photos from the Trip

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