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Dufourspitze - far too cold

As part of my autumn 2017 project, I wanted to climb the 7 Summits of the Alps. Due to heavy snowfall and adventurous conditions on the Zugspitze, Vorder Grauspitz, Grossglocker and Triglav I had not even tried an ascent of the highest points of Switzerland and France. In addition, it was clear to me that Dufourspitze and Mont Blanc are only climbed with skis.


Long story short, the Dufourspitze was still on the List. When I saw an entry on at the end of March, I immediately started to plan the tour. The more opportune it was for me that I was able to spontaneously make free on Friday and thus tackle the summit on Saturday. This should mean a little less rush. However, the Monte Rosa hut was currently closed, this would mean a little more carrying work, because so only the winter room would remain.


After arriving in Zermatt and marching to the valley station, we first went up to Klein Matterhorn. A surreal Alpine bustle that is hard to beat for heterogeneity of the audience. From fashion dolls in high-heels to die-hard alpinists, everything is represented. After a short photo shoot on the viewing platform, we made our way towards the Breithorn plateau. The cloudy mood in Italy was incredible and provided an impressive backdrop for the descent to Schwarztor.


But before we would go to the hut we wanted to climb the Pollux to acclimatize a bit. The detour was marginal and the effort was manageable from the ascent meters.

After the ski depot, the first 200hm were climbed in light block terrain. There were still traces of traffic, the way to miss was difficult. Nevertheless, a pair of mountaineers managed to miss the trail. While they made a loud argument, we made our way up the nimble. At about 4000m we finally reached the fix chain. The smooth handles made the climbing more challenging than I expected. The subsequent chimney and the wall to the summit plateau were nevertheless quickly mastered. The firn ridge to the summit was then pure enjoyment, the cloudy mood in Italy was still fantastic.

After a few photos, we made our descent, the chain passage we roped off and quickly reached the ski depot.


The Schwarztor run is certainly one of the most famous runs in Zermatt. The north-facing exposure is always powder, but a careful choice of route is appropriate, but the descent leads through highly rugged glacial eruptions. Also with us it was the one or other abyss to avoid, the panorama and the scenery are stunning.


After skinning up we made our way to Monte Rosa hut, the route is longer than expected, but with a good track it is still fast and after an hour I reach the terrace of the hut, which is well filled. I'm a bit unsure, because the information was the hut is closed. I already imagine the night in the winter room (12 beds ...), but on request I learn that the hut is still open. Reason was a broken water pipe which has now been repaired. Although we had dragged so unnecessarily much luggage, but it would give reasonably restful sleep, that would not hurt for the 1900m ascent from the next day.


The alarm clock rings at 02:50 clock, there is one more say alpinism has no masochistic traits ...

After a hearty breakfast, we enter the cabin at 03:50 and wiggle out into the dark night. Thanks to a good track, the path can hardly be missed, up to the glacier up the harsest serve well for a short time. From 3500m I sleep almost regularly. The height and the few hours of sleep in recent weeks take their toll. Nevertheless, we are making good progress and are already at 3800 meters at sunrise. The mood is bombastic, pictures say more than words ...

After about 3:45 am I reach the ski depot, the wind on the glacier had frozen my toes during the ascent, but the feeling was there, so that would be fine. For the hand warmer and the thick gloves, however, I had already been extremely happy during the ascent.


After a short break and changing to crampons, we made our way towards the west ridge. 50 hm After the ski depot we finally reached the warming sun, what a blessing. First, from the saddle, a 40 degree steep Firnrampe upwards before the first rock section comes.

In easy climbing with fantastic panorama you can quickly reach the second Firn section which consists of a renewed ramp with 40 ° steepness. then the exposure of the climbing increases noticeably. Yawning left 100 yards, right up to 250 yards abyss while balancing over mostly solid blocks.

After a short south-facing traverse, a gap follows. First you must traverse over a shaky block to the north (left). To stabilize the block, I clamp my foot. Then I follow a slightly icy ramp upwards before the last obstacle before the summit shows. A 4 meter high chimney which is defused by a fixed rope. Also this is quickly climbed and at 10:45 am I stand together with 2 Frenchmen on the highest point of Switzerland. I congratulate them on the summit, they only acknowledge my success with "You`re crazy, no rope, so crazy". My companion had acknowledged before the last 2 climbing sites, anyway we had climbed everything rope-free. In my view, justifiable, the falls is not allowed in any case.

In order not to get stuck behind the two Frenchmen (with rope) on the way back, I only stayed at the highest point for a short time, took a few pictures and made my way back. The climb was quite easy, even the wobbly block was quickly overcome. We quickly reached the firn part and were astonished to see that most of the other contenders were already leaving. Since the Silbersattelroute was currently not accessible due to bad snow conditions, these had probably all waived a summit attempt. On the descent to the ski depot came exactly two rope teams contrary, started probably be a total of 10-12.

Back at the ski depot and a short break we started the long descent back to Zermatt. Above still completely blown down further down one or the other powder slope can be found. The crevices were well covered everywhere and so the hut was reached quickly. After we had collected our seven things together again, it went down with so many pole use the glacier, here were so many large columns worryingly wide open. the descent through the Gornerschlucht gorge was a real highlight again, as in a bobsleigh track we went through the rock channel. Then soon on the slopes down to the spring Zermatt.

Conclusion: An impressive landscape with immense dimensions of the glaciers in Monte Rosa. The distance to the highest point in Switzerland is correspondingly far, but as a ski tour the effort is still limited. The Monte Rosa hut is a bijou and worth the way alone, as well as the Schwarztor descent. The west ridge is demanding to the end than expected, he calls for safe climbing in 3 degrees. There are no fixed backups. The Silbarsattelroute is hardly feasible at present, according to hut warden, a column must be roped off, accordingly, the number of summit successes will certainly be less than in previous years and before it came to the big rock outcrop. If you do not climb safely, you should consider taking a guide or choosing another mountain. Even with the cold you should arm yourself, I have worn 3 frozen toes, despite heat insole.

The altitude leaves its traces

What to bring:

4 m Reepschnur

1 Riegel

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