Zermatt, a municipality in the Visp district in the German-speaking section of Valais, is an exceedingly popular tourist spot in Switzerland. Lying at the upper end of Mattertal at an elevation of 1,620 m, the town of Zermatt is surrounded by high mountains of the Pennine Alps. In total, there are 38 peaks, all over 4,000 m, in the region.
Famed as a mountaineering and ski resort of the Swiss Alps, Zermatt is a paradise for mountain landscapes. So, if you enjoy a climb, get ready and pack your things because we have the five high peaks of the region.
- The Breithorn (4,164m)
The Breithorn, literally translating to the “broad horn” in German, is a mountain range filled with ice and glaciers in the Pennine Alps. It includes several subsidiary peaks, all located on the eastern side of the main summit.
The highest and primary peak of the range, called the Western Summit or Western Briethorn, lies at 4,164 m altitude between Italy and Switzerland. Also known as simply Briethorn, the peak rests on the main chain of the Alps, east of the Theodul Pass and almost halfway between the Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn.
Reports and statistics have discovered that the Briethorn is the most effortlessly climbed 4,000 m Alpine peak. It is due to the Klein Matterhorn cable car that takes climbers up to 3,820 m from the starting point of Zermatt. The standard route for reaching the peak (SSW flank) begins from the Italian side of the mountain, continuing over a glacial plateau before ending in a summit on a 35-degree snow slope.
However, the climb serves to be a problem for inexperienced climbers who may run into difficulties if they do not exercise adequate caution. For experienced mountaineers, the half traverse of the Briethorn crest is a viable option.
- Allalinhorn (4,027m)
The Allalinhorn, lying at an elevation of 4,027 m, is a mountain in the Pennine Alps in Switzerland. Located between Saas-Fee and Zermatt, it is a part of the Mischabel range that ends at the Dom. The London barrister, Edward Levi Ames, a member of the Imseng family and Franz-Josef Andenmatten, was the first to climb the mountain peak on August 28, 1856.
Via the most traversed path, climbers can ride up the mountain to the Mittelallalin. From there, the rest is only a 500 vertical meters tackle. The standard hiking route (WNW Ridge), ranked Grade F in difficulty, is accessible through the Metro Alpin funicular to the Mittelallalin, taking about two hours.
The Metro Alpin, lying below the mountain’s northeast face, has turned the Allalinhorn into one of the most easily climbed 4,000 m Alps peaks. From the summit, the mountaineers can get a glimpse of approximately the entire sweep of the western Alps.
The climb up the Allalinhorn is a glacier trek with hardly any rocks, making it a relatively easy one. However, no matter how effortless it may be, a suitable mountain guide and adequate acclimatization to the terrain are necessary due to the underlying objective dangers.
- Matterhorn (4,478m)
The Matterhorn is a mountain of the Swiss Alps with an enormous, almost symmetric pyramidal peak at 4,478 m altitude above sea level. The range lies in the extended Monte Rosa area of the Pennine Alps and is one of the highest summits in Europe and the Alps.
It has a magical attraction with its mesmerizing scenic beauty, making it one of the most photographed mountains. It offers a suitable tourist spot for those who wish to enjoy the scenery. The Matterhorn provides additional services to interested individuals who dream of reaching its peak.
Ever since the establishment of railways in the region during the late 19th century, the mountain has received numerous visitors and climbers. Every year, multiple mountaineers attempt to climb the Matterhorn via the most popular and traversed route.
The path starts from the Hornli Hut and continues through the northeast Hornli ridge. Experienced and interested trekkers also opt for the 10-day long circuit around the entire mountain.
Nevertheless, all mountaineers must be aware and beware that the climb up the Matterhorn comes with its due share of risks. Hence, a mountain guide and satisfactory expertise, fitness, and stamina are essential factors before venturing up the mountain.
- Dufourspitze (4,634m)
The Dufourspitze is the highest peak of Monte Rosa and Switzerland and the Pennine Alps, with its summit lying at 4,634 m. It is an ice-covered mountain chain located in the Swiss Alps, between the Canton of Valais of Switzerland and the Piedmont and Aosta Valley of Italy. Being the second-highest mountain of the Alps and Western Europe, it is a famous tourist spot for those who seek the thrill of climbing up a peak.
A party of eight mountaineers, led by Charles Hudson and accompanied by three guides, was the first to climb the Dufourspitze on August 1, 1855. On the 150th anniversary of the first ascent in 2015, Federal Councillor Joseph Deiss, with three guides, climbed the mountain. In a seven-hour tour, they reached from the old cabin at Monte Rosa to the peak.
The general ascent route begins from the Monte Rosa Hut and ends with a rocky west ridge. It requires adequate physical endurance and acclimatization. For experienced climbers, the path starts from the Marinelli Hut and follows the steep Marinelli couloir. This route is long and dangerous and must be accessed only on the early mornings of cold days to minimize the risks of avalanches.
- Weisshorn (4,505m)
The Weisshorn, literally translating to White Peak or Mountain, is a notable peak of Switzerland and the Alps. Extending to 4,505 m above sea level, it is a part of the Pennine Alps, located between the valleys of Zermatt and Anniviers in the Canton of Valais. It is one of the most stunning mountains with its pleasing and symmetrical pyramidal shape and pure white slopes.
The Irish physicist John Tyndall was the first to conquer the Weisshorn in 1861. Ever since then, many mountaineers have ventured to ascend and climb to the summit of the mountain.
The Weisshorn, with an arduous two-day trip, offers a thrilling challenge to all those who dare take it up. All routes up the mountain are strenuous, requiring ample mental and physical preparation. The general path begins from the Weisshorn hut and continues along the sharp eastern ridge.
The mountain can also be climbed from the Bishorn through the north ridge, from the Cabane de Tracuit. The first three hours of the hike comprise a relatively easy walk across the glacier, leading to the Bishorn summit at 4,153 m. However, the second part of the ascent is an exposed five-hour path with several underlying hazards.