There are many combinations when planning a week around the classic 4000m peaks and we do our best to deliver the week at the right level of ability for the course participants, taking into account the weather and conditions.
The course begins with a briefing meeting at 6.45pm at The Grand Chalet Hotel in Leysin. Here you will meet your ISM Guide and other team members. We will make an overall plan for the week, taking into account the group, weather and conditions. You will also be able to sort out any equipment you need. Dinner follows the briefing.
After breakfast we leave the hotel and head up the Rhône valley towards Sion where we turn off and head up the Val d'Herrens towards Arolla. Close to Arolla we turn off and head towards Ferpecle where we park and head up the hiking train towards the Dent Blanche hut where we'll stay the night.
After an alpine start, we head up the rock ridge directly behind the hut which then leads onto the huge south ridge of the Dent Blanche. The ridge first rocky, than glaciated and then mixed gives the mountaineering a challenging long day in the high mountains climbing one of the most iconic peaks in the Alps. A fine and exposed snow arete leads to the summits cross and unforgettable views across the Alps. From the summit you can almost reach across to the Matterhorn and behind the whole of the Monte Rosa and Mischabel ranges. Also directly across is the Obergabelhorn and the pyramidal shaped Zinal Rothorn which is the focus for the second half of the week. The descent is back down the south ridge and back to the Dent Blanche hut.
After a more relaxed start we leave the Dent Blanche hut and head back down the glacier and hiking trails to Ferpecle and the vehicle. From here we head around to Tasch which is the gateway to Zermatt and the many 4000m peaks in this beautiful area. We have a night here in Tasch freshening up and preparing for the next nights up in the Rothorn Hut under the Zinal Rothorn.
A relaxed breakfast and then we head up into Zermatt. Once in Zermatt we take the relatively long and strenuous hiking trail steeply out of the valley until we arrive at Trift. From here, we continue up more easily to the Rothorn hut which normally takes around 4-5 hours walking.
An alpine start focuses on the south east ridge (via the Gabel) of the Zinal Rothorn. It's a great classic route up the south east ridge and climbing a couloir to a notch on the south west ridge known as the Gabel, finishing by the upper part of this ridge via the infamous 'Biner Slab'. Fantastic views again from this central 4000m summit looking across the whole of the Alps and back to the Dent Blanche that you climbed earlier in the week. The descent is back down the route in reverse arriving back at the Rothorn Hut later that day. Two options from here is that if there is still plenty of time left in the day, you'll continue on down to Zermatt and back to stay in Tasch the night, or you'll spend a second night in the Rothorn Hut.
If you stayed up in the Rothorn Hut the night, then you'll be walking out and back down to Zermatt and the vehicle in Tasch today and maybe planning on some rock climbing before heading back to our hotel in Leysin. If you did get back to Tasch in good time on the Thursday then there are more options for this final day. It could be another summit that can be accessed from lifts close by and around in the next valley of Saastal. Here in Saas Fee you could use the lifts to make an ascent of the Houlabgrat on the Allalinhorn for example. If not then you could have a good day multipitch rock climbing on an alpine rock route before heading back to our hotel in Leysin and the final night.
Breakfast at the hotel is included before departure.