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Trek & Summit the Bishorn (4,153m)

This wild and rugged mountain journey takes us along the dividing ridge of peaks between the Zermatt and Zinal valleys before climbing the Bishorn, one of the least technically difficult of the great 4000m peaks in the Alps and a fantastic climax for the week.

Level 1 Guiding & Coaching

5 days, 6 nights

Ratio: 6:1 or 7:1

Price: Call*

The route takes us well away from the crowds across remote glaciers and varied mountain scenery. Throughout the week we will be gaining skills and acclimatising gradually in order to make a comfortable ascent of the Bishorn. Some of the days are strenuous and involve remote glaciers (which you can appreciate to the full in the company of a guide who is expert in safe glacier travel).

Trek & Summit weeks offer an enjoyable, less-pressured introduction to the Alps. There are several short instructional sessions to cover essential skills like alpine rope work, glacier travel and the use of ice axe and crampons on moderate slopes, but there will be ample time to enjoy and photograph the magnificent mountain scenery in this relatively unfrequented region of the Swiss Valais.

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Is This Course For Me?

People who walk regularly in the UK, either in the mountains of North Wales/Lakes or the lower hills and moors, will enjoy this week. If you are not a regular walker, other aerobic exercise such as cycling, running or gym work can adequately prepare you for this course. The only specialist equipment you need to bring is a pair of sturdy mountain boots (B1 or B2).

Sample Programme

Day 1
Welcome drinks and meeting at hotel Le Grand Chalet at 6.45pm. After discussing the week we will check kit so that we are ready for a prompt start the next morning.

Day 2
We travel to the Zinal valley (2 hours). From the village of St Luc a beautiful walk up through alpine forests takes us to the Hotel Weisshorn, amazingly situated at 2337m. From mid-afternoon we have an instructional session covering the various alpine skills needed for the rest of the week, including correct use of climbing harness, basic knots and how the rope will be used on steeper ground.

Day 3
A good trail leads up to the Meidpass at 2790m where we enjoy a stunning view into the Turtmanntal, a tiny valley ringed by magnificent peaks. Our route takes us down and along this valley, past the little lake of the Meidsee, until an ascent of 400m gets us to the Turtmann hut at 2519m. Beyond here our route is on serious glaciers so we will have an instructional session covering the use of ice axe and crampons, glacier ropework and simple crevasse rescue.

Day 4
A very interesting glacier ascent connects Turtmann with the Tracuit hut at 3256m. A steep scramble onto Gassi gets us onto the Brunegg glacier which we cross to the Turtmann glacier. We climb up on its left bank beneath the impressive Diablons des Dames to reach the Col de Tracuit (3250m) not far from the hut. This is an amazing day of glacier travel through very impressive terrain, and may involve using crampons on moderately steep ice slopes (protected by the rope of course). The Tracuit hut is an old traditional building located directly below the Bishorn and the Weisshorn (4505m - one of the most sought-after summits in the Alps).

Day 5
Climbing the Bishorn (4153m) will be for most people the highlight of the week. It requires a very early 'alpine' start to ensure that the glacier is well frozen, making it safer for travel. We travel as light as possible, leaving any non-essential equipment at the hut. A three to four-hour climb of 900m, usually with a good trail in the snow but passing between big crevasses, gets us to the spacious summit. The views are amazing - above looms the mighty Weisshorn and to the SW many of the greatest peaks of the Swiss Valais. We return to Tracuit for refreshments then descend and cross the Col de Milon to Cabane d'Ar Pitetta (2786m).

Day 6
The final day takes us down the lovely valley of L'Ar Pitetta back to the main Zinal valley, where a relaxing descent through pastures and alongside the river gets us to the pretty resort of Zinal at 1675m. From here we return to Leysin and the Hotel Le Grand Chalet.

Day 7
Breakfast at the Grand Chalet is included before departure.

Maps: 1308 St Niklaus, 1328 Randa, 1327 Evolene

Course Dates

Please call +44 1539 721561 for availability