Zinal Rothorn

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Zinal Rothorn
Zinalrothorn

Photo of the Zinal Rothorn
The Zinal Rothorn from the SE

General
Elevation 4,221 m13,848.425 ft
2.623 miles
Prominence 490 m0.304 miles
1,607.612 ft
Location Valais, Switzerland
Range Pennine Alps
Massif Weisshorn Group
Sponsored Links

Coordinates
DMS Coor. 46°3´53"N, 7°41´24"E
Swiss Coor. 619457 / 101503
Links Topographic Detail

Coordinates Information

Nearby Features
Besso, Blanc de Moming, Grand Mountet Hut, Mammouth, Ober Gabelhorn, Rothorn Hut, Schalihorn, Trifthorn (Weisshorn Group), Wellenkuppe
Alpinist's Info
Base(s) Anniviers, Zermatt, Zinal
Hut(s) Grand Mountet Hut, Rothorn Hut
Topo. Map SLK 1327: Evolène
Easiest Route Rating AD AD
Map
Zinal Rothorn (Switzerland )
Zinal Rothorn
Zinal Rothorn
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Contents

[edit] General information

The Zinalrothorn (4,221 m) is a mountain in the Pennine Alps in Switzerland. Its name comes from the village of Zinal lying on the north side and from the German word Rothorn which means Red Peak. When it was first climbed in 1864 the mountain was known locally as Moming. The Zinalrothorn has a very good rock quality and offers nice climbing possibilities on all routes. Therefore it has the reputation to be the most beautiful climbing 4000-meters-peak in Valais. It is situated between the Matterhorn and the Weisshorn and looks different from each perspective. It is also attractive for the reason that the ascent from the high situated Rothorn Hut is quite short.

[edit] Geography

The Zinalrothorn is one of the high summits separating the Mattertal valley on the east and the Val d'Anniviers (or more precisely the Val de Zinal) on the west. The summit of the Weisshorn (4,505 m) is located 5 km to the north and the Dent Blanche 7 km to the west. At the western foot of the mountain lies the large Zinal Glacier and, on the northern side, the Moming Glacier. L'Epaule (the shoulder) is a minor summit lying at the base of the northern ridge.

The villages of Täsch and Zermatt are the closest while Zinal on the north-west is located further (9 km).

[edit] Climbing history

The first ascent was made on 22 August 1864 via the north ridge by Leslie Stephen and Florence Crauford Grove with guides Jakob Anderegg and Melchior Anderegg (AD). They left Zinal at 1 a.m. and ascended the Zinal Glacier. They reached the shoulder from the ridge connecting the Blanc de Moming at the base of the northern ridge at 9 a.m. The traverse of the ridge to the summit took them 2 hours; Stephen wrote later that it was 'the nastiest piece of climbing I have ever accomplished'.

The slightly less difficult normal route, the south-east ridge, was first climbed by the combined parties of Clinton Thomas Dent with guide Alex­ander Burgener, and George Augustus Passingham, with guides Ferdinand Imseng and Franz Andermatten on 5 September 1872.

The west face (above the Mountet Glacier) was climbed for the first time by Martin Conway, William Penhall and G. S. Scriven with Ferdinand Imseng, Peter and M. Truffer in only 2,5 hours in August 1878. Their route is objectively dangerous.

The south-west ridge was first climbed by C. Gross with R. Taugwalder in August 1901 but was previously descended by J. Robinson with A. Kronig and P. Perren on 16 September 1898. The first winter ascent on this ridge was by A. Arnold and M. Scherbaum on 10 January 1976.

The first winter and ski ascent of the Zinalrothorn was by Marcel Kurz and T. Theytaz on 7 February 1914.

The Kanzelgrat was completed on 5 September 1933 by E.-R. Blanchet with K. Mooser.

The north face with its 800m is a beautiful challenge for iceclimbers as well. It was climbed for the first time on 2 August 1941 in 5 hours by the 29 old secretary Loulou Boulaz from Geneva. She has been the most successful female mountaineer in the world till the beginning of the 60ies. She climbed it together with Pierre Bonnant. Before this climb, she had also made the second climb of the northface of the Grandes Jorasses only a few hours after the first climbers Peters/Meier. She had also climbed the northface of the Aiguille du Dru , the Furggenridge of the Matterhorn , the northface of the Jungfrau and the Walker-pillar. In 1959 she was member of a women's expedition to the Cho Oyu .

The swiss steep ice specialists André Roch, Robert Grélou and Ruedi Schmidt found the first route through the east face on 6 August 1945. It is a dangerous way. Today there are two other routes besides this one. The first winter ascent on this route was undertaken by the swiss mountaineers Paul Etter, Ueli Gantenbein, Ernst Scherrer and his brother Andi on 27/28 December 1971.

[edit] Routes

This is one of the finest mountains in the Valais with excellent rock quality on all routes. The main spine of the mountain runs roughly N to S along the rocky N and SW ridges. Butting up to the spine is a third ridge, the SE ridge, which is steep and rocky at the top but quickly levels out into what is called the Schneegrat. Each of the ridges provides an excellent climb and in addition there is the steep 800m high E face. The routes in the flanks have a lot of rockfall. Therefore, the E-face has a very bad reputation.

When the mountain is viewed from the N, its upper part appears to be a gigantic, thin blade of rock slightly inclined to the E which emphasises the steepness of the E face. The ridges are well worth combining to give a traverse of the peak. Probably the best combination is to ascend the SW ridge and descend the N ridge. This can be started from either the Grand Mountet Hut or the Rothorn Hut. From the latter a return to the hut would necessitate a second day, ideally crossing the Trifthorn. The views N and S from the summit are stunning.

SE Ridge, Rothorngrat (SW ridge) and Kanzelgrat routes on Zinalrothorn
SE Ridge, Rothorngrat (SW ridge), Kanzelgrat and N Ridge N routes on Zinalrothorn
SE Ridge, Kanzelgrat, N Ridge and E face routes on Zinalrothorn

[edit] South-East Ridge via the Gabel (AD)

Corridor towards the Gabel

The ordinary route on this mountain, much more interesting than most climbs of this category and a classic route. It avoids the upper part of the SE ridge (Kanzelgrat) and climbs a couloir to a notch on the SW ridge known as the Gabel, finishing by the upper part of this ridge.

Zinal Rothorn: South-East Ridge via the Gabel (edit infobox)
Summit Approach
Summit Zinal Rothorn (4,221 m2.623 miles
13,848.425 ft
)
Valley base(s) Zermatt (1,608 m0.999 miles
5,275.591 ft
)
Route Type Snow and Rock, III (4 - 5 h) Hut Rothorn Hut (3,198 m1.987 miles
10,492.126 ft
)
Difficulty Rating AD AD Difficulty W1
Height Gains Hut - Summit: 1023 m0.636 miles
3,356.299 ft
    -    Valley - Hut: 1590 m0.988 miles
5,216.535 ft
    -    Valley - Summit: 2613 m1.624 miles
8,572.835 ft
Useful Maps SLK 1327: Evolène, SLK 1328: Randa (Maps)

From the Rothorn Hut climb the slopes of the Rothorn Glacier close to the rocks of the rib which dominates the hut. As the angle eases bear more to the R until snow slopes lead to a higher snow terrace. Follow this back L a little way until it is possible to climb the rocks on the R, which dominate the terrace, to reach a further snow slope S of Pt. 3,786 m. Now either, climb up to this point and follow the rocky ridge NW to reach the quasi-horizontal Schneegrat or, contour below the rocks of the SE ridge and reach the Schneegrat beyond the point at which the rocks terminate. Continue along the ridge, sometimes delicate and with a couple of rock outcrops to the next section of rock (1.5-2h). The rocks ahead steepen and straight ahead can be seen a deep couloir. Clib a couple of steps on the ridge then, where the ridge rears up Rwards, make a rising traverse (difficult when snow covered) on the S flank to reach the foot of the couloir. The couloir may have a lot of snow or it may be quite dry, depending on the season. In either case climb it to the notch in the ridge above (the Gabel). The couloir is rigged for rappel descent so belays are easy to arrange. From the notch climb the ridge to a step and turn this on the L, passing through a slot before descending a little and traversing on to a slab (Biner slab). Climb this making use of a slanting crack (III-: pitons, much more difficult if it is icy, in which case it is better to move further L and climb snow to reach the ridge) and more slabs above (III-) back to the crest. Rappel in descent unless conditions are perfect. Keep on the crest to a small gendarme and turn this on the L to reach the Kanzel (pulpit): a fine rock tower. Turn this by very exposed yet easy traverse on the E side and a little further attain the summit (2-2.5h). Total climbing time is 4-5h but other parties might cause delay.

[edit] South-West Ridge (Rothorngrat)

Climbing the Rothorngrat

Perfect slabby gneiss which dries quickly and makes for a splendid climb. It can be started equally well from either the Grand Mountet Hut or the Rothorn Hut; both approaches lead to the same starting point on the ridge. This is some way above the lowest point of the ridge but misses none of the best climbing. The one detracting feature of the climb is that it joins the ordinary route and the crowds at the Gabel.

[edit] From Mountet Hut (AD+)

Zinal Rothorn: South-West Ridge (Rothorngrat) from Mountet Hut (edit infobox)
Summit Approach
Summit Zinal Rothorn (4,221 m2.623 miles
13,848.425 ft
)
Valley base(s) Anniviers, Zinal
Route Type Snow and Rock, III - V (6 - 7 h) Hut Grand Mountet Hut (2,886 m1.793 miles
9,468.504 ft
)
Difficulty Rating AD+ AD+ Difficulty W1
Height Gains Hut - Summit: 1335 m0.83 miles
4,379.921 ft
Useful Maps SLK 1327: Evolène (Maps)

Follow a slightly rising path to the moraine of the Mountet Glacier. Climb the moraine to the first cairn and then slant down a poor path to the glacier. Pass to the N of the rock island SW of the Pointe du Mountet. Follow a snow ramp ENE to reach the foot of the couloir leading to the Ober Rothornjoch. Climb rocks on the N side of the couloir and at the top traverse R to the col (3h). If this particular route looks uninviting, it is simple enough to reach the same point by climbing the ridge from the Col du Mountet. From the Ober Rothornjoch climb the ridge via a series of gendarmes, some fairly small, others large. Although it is possible to turn some of them the best climbing is almost always to be had by traversing them. The first gendarme is easy and the top of the second is reached via a chimney on the L (III+). Cross a third without difficulty to a little saddle (often snow) and a little higher reach the crux gendarme which is 15m high. A slab leads to a belay (several pitons). Now either traverse a/ R (Zermatt side) for 2m and make some airy moves straight up to a small ledge (IV) then easily to the top, or b/ climb direct to the top (two moves of V), or c/ turn the gendarme on the Mountet side by the slab forming its base (III). The final split gendarme immediately S of the Gabel is turned on the L side (3-4h). From the notch climb the ridge to a step and turn this on the L, passing through a slot before descending a little and traversing on to a slab (Biner slab). Climb this making use of a slanting crack (III-: pitons, much more difficult if it is icy, in which case it is better to move further L and climb snow to reach the ridge) and more slabs above (III-) back to the crest. Rappel in descent unless conditions are perfect. Keep on the crest to a small gendarme and turn this on the L to reach the Kanzel (pulpit): a fine rock tower. Turn this by very exposed yet easy traverse on the E side and a little further attain the summit (2-2.5h). Total climbing time is 6-7h.

[edit] From Rothorn Hut (AD+)

Zinal Rothorn: South-West Ridge (Rothorngrat) from Rothorn Hut (edit infobox)
Summit Approach
Summit Zinal Rothorn (4,221 m2.623 miles
13,848.425 ft
)
Valley base(s) Zermatt (1,608 m0.999 miles
5,275.591 ft
)
Route Type Snow and Rock, III - V (6 - 7 h) Hut Rothorn Hut (3,198 m1.987 miles
10,492.126 ft
)
Difficulty Rating AD+ AD+ Difficulty W1
Height Gains Hut - Summit: 1023 m0.636 miles
3,356.299 ft
    -    Valley - Hut: 1590 m0.988 miles
5,216.535 ft
    -    Valley - Summit: 2613 m1.624 miles
8,572.835 ft
Useful Maps SLK 1327: Evolène, SLK 1328: Randa (Maps)

From the Rothorn Hut climb the slopes of the Rothorn Glacier close to the rocks of the rib which dominates the hut. As the angle eases bear more to the R until snow slopes lead to a higher snow terrace. Follow this back L a little way until it is possible to climb the rocks on the R, which dominate the terrace, to reach a further snow slope S of Pt. 3,786 m. Now either, climb up to this point and follow the rocky ridge NW to reach the quasi-horizontal Schneegrat or, contour below the rocks of the SE ridge and reach the Schneegrat beyond the point at which the rocks terminate. Follow this route to the last snow hump of the Schneegrat. Descend L into the glacier bowl then cross the bowl horizontally to the foot of the snowy couloir leading up to the Ober Rothornjoch. This is the col immediately N of Pt. 3,877m (Pt. du Mountet). Clim the couloir, with a few rocks, to the col (2.5-3h). From the Ober Rothornjoch climb the ridge via a series of gendarmes, some fairly small, others large. Although it is possible to turn some of them the best climbing is almost always to be had by traversing them. The first gendarme is easy and the top of the second is reached via a chimney on the L (III+). Cross a third without difficulty to a little saddle (often snow) and a little higher reach the crux gendarme which is 15m high. A slab leads to a belay (several pitons). Now either traverse a/ R (Zermatt side) for 2m and make some airy moves straight up to a small ledge (IV) then easily to the top, or b/ climb direct to the top (two moves of V), or c/ turn the gendarme on the Mountet side by the slab forming its base (III). The final split gendarme immediately S of the Gabel is turned on the L side (3-4h). From the notch climb the ridge to a step and turn this on the L, passing through a slot before descending a little and traversing on to a slab (Biner slab). Climb this making use of a slanting crack (III-: pitons, much more difficult if it is icy, in which case it is better to move further L and climb snow to reach the ridge) and more slabs above (III-) back to the crest. Rappel in descent unless conditions are perfect. Keep on the crest to a small gendarme and turn this on the L to reach the Kanzel (pulpit): a fine rock tower. Turn this by very exposed yet easy traverse on the E side and a little further attain the summit (2-2.5h). Total climbing time is 6-7h.

[edit] North Ridge (AD)

N ridge

The ridge itself is short, terminating at a bifurcation where one ridge slants NNW before turning W at l'Epaule to form the fine snow crest of the Arête du Blanc and another ridge heads of NNE towards the Pt. S de Moming. Continuing N between these two ridges, the slope rapidly steepens (50°) and falls dramatically to the upper basin of the Moming Glacier forming in effect the N face of the mountain. A direct route up this face to l'Epaule (P. Bonnant and Miss L. Boulaz, 2 Aug 1940) is graded D and can be approached by crossing the lowest point of the Arête du Blanc from the Grand Mountet Hut (short, steep descent on the N side). The ridge is almost entirely rock but the approach route climbs the Arête du Blanc which can be icy and delicate. On the ridge there are several dictinctive gendarmes, all of excellent gneiss, which provide plenty of of interest. A superb climb which, on the first ascent, was climbed in a day from Zinal.

Zinal Rothorn: North Ridge (edit infobox)
Summit Approach
Summit Zinal Rothorn (4,221 m2.623 miles
13,848.425 ft
)
Valley base(s) Anniviers, Zinal
Route Type Mostly Rock, 50°, III (5 h) Hut Grand Mountet Hut (2,886 m1.793 miles
9,468.504 ft
)
Difficulty Rating AD AD Difficulty W1
Height Gains Hut - Summit: 1335 m0.83 miles
4,379.921 ft
Useful Maps SLK 1327: Evolène (Maps)

From the Grand Mountet Hut follow a slightly rising path to the moraine of the Mountet Glaccier. Walk up the moraine crest to the second cairn. Leave the crest here and follow a cairned route through the boulders to regain the crest where the angle eases. From here continue in roughly the same direction to reach the Mountet Glacier and follow its R bank below the rocks of the E ridge of the Blanc de Moming. Eventually climb on to the crest of the Arête du Blanc where the bergschrund permits. Climb the crest to the rocks of l'Epaule, Pt., 4,017 m (3h). Continue easily up the ridge to the first gendarme (Gendarme du Déjeuner) and turn this on the Zermatt side to reach the next one which has the appropriate name of the Rasoir. Traverse this (III) then turn the next gendarme (Sphinx) on the Mountet side. If there is any verglas it may be necessary to traverse the Sphinx (III). The next section if the ridge is very hand-traverse, first on one side of the ridge then the other. The final obstacle is the Bosse, 40m high and quite imposing from below. Climb this direct with the aid of a fixed cale (III, pitons). This is the most difficult pitch if there is any snow or ice on the rocks. From the top of the Bosse the summit is reached easily and quickly (1.5-2h). Total climbing time is 5h.

[edit] East Face Direct (TD)

E face

A number of routes have been climbed on the face but only two, this one and what might be considered a variation of it, climb to the summit. Although the rock, especially in the upper part, is quite good the face is subjected to stonefall as it catches the sun very early in the day. This particular route is comparingly well sheltered but is the best done in cool weather.


Zinal Rothorn: East Face Direct (edit infobox)
Summit Approach
Summit Zinal Rothorn (4,221 m2.623 miles
13,848.425 ft
)
Valley base(s) Zermatt (1,608 m0.999 miles
5,275.591 ft
)
Route Type Mostly Rock, III - V (10 - 12 h) Hut Rothorn Hut (3,198 m1.987 miles
10,492.126 ft
)
Difficulty Rating TD TD Difficulty W1
Height Gains Hut - Summit: 1023 m0.636 miles
3,356.299 ft
    -    Valley - Hut: 1590 m0.988 miles
5,216.535 ft
    -    Valley - Summit: 2613 m1.624 miles
8,572.835 ft
Useful Maps SLK 1328: Randa, SLK 1327: Evolène (Maps)


From the Rothorn Hut cross the Rothorn Glacier NE to the col marked Pt. 3,562 m (Unt Äschjoch) and from there climb over the Ob Äschhorn to reach glacier bowl below the E face. Slanting down the face from the vicinity of the Sphinx gendarme on the N ridge is a couloir which terminates on the glacier. Head for the foot of this couloir (1.5-2h). Cross the bergschrund and climb its L side before slanting L in another couloir after 50m. Continue in this line towards the massive headwall up gradually steepening rocks (and snow) keeping on the R of any difficulties (III and IV). Below the steep headwall move up Rwards along a ramp and reach a steep pillar which bounds the R side of the wall. The next section is the crux. 25m L of the pillar climb a steep chimney-crack, which is rather loose: (three 12m pitches and one 40m pitch: V and V+: pitons). At the top traverse R (V) on to the crest of the pillar. Easier climbing follows up the broad crest via slabs and short walls (III and IV) to an icy terrace at the top of the wall. Move up L on easy ground to a steep chimney on the R. Climb this and exit through a hole a few m from the summit (7-8h). Total climbing time is 10-12h.

[edit] Kanzelgrat (D)

Picture from Schneegrat with Kanzelgrat route on the right and Gabel notch in the center

In essence this is the upper part of the SE ridge which the ordinary route avoids. Short but worth climbing although the difficulties are more severe than on any of the other ridge routes on the mountain. Mainly rock and quite sound. The first ascent party made three attempts by various lines starting on 31 July 1928 but were not satisfied with their efforts until the third attempt.

Zinal Rothorn: Kanzelgrat (edit infobox)
Summit Approach
Summit Zinal Rothorn (4,221 m2.623 miles
13,848.425 ft
)
Valley base(s) Zermatt (1,608 m0.999 miles
5,275.591 ft
)
Route Type Snow and Rock, III - V (4 - 5 h) Hut Rothorn Hut (3,198 m1.987 miles
10,492.126 ft
)
Difficulty Rating D D Difficulty W1
Height Gains Hut - Summit: 1023 m0.636 miles
3,356.299 ft
    -    Valley - Hut: 1590 m0.988 miles
5,216.535 ft
    -    Valley - Summit: 2613 m1.624 miles
8,572.835 ft
Useful Maps SLK 1327: Evolène, SLK 1328: Randa (Maps)

From the Rothorn Hut climb the slopes of the Rothorn Glacier close to the rocks of the rib which dominates the hut. As the angle eases bear more to the R until snow slopes lead to a higher snow terrace. Follow this back L a little way until it is possible to climb the rocks on the R, which dominate the terrace, to reach a further snow slope S of Pt. 3,786 m. Now either, climb up to this point and follow the rocky ridge NW to reach the quasi-horizontal Schneegrat or, contour below the rocks of the SE ridge and reach the Schneegrat beyond the point at which the rocks terminate. Continue along the ridge to the end of the Schneegrat. (2h) Climb two rock steps then, instead of traversing towards the couloir of the ordinary route, climb up, slanting L on snow and slabs (III), towards the crest of the ridge. After 30m traverse horizontally L on to a snow ramp and follow this to the ridge crest. Move a little way along the ridge then L to a 15m chimney. Climb the chimney (IV) and continue below the crest on the S side across steep slabs (IV) to reach a poorly defined chimney of light coloured rock which leads back to the crest just below the overhang of the Kanzel itself. Climb the chimney using a slab on the R (15m: V: piton). Now make a few easier moves up L to a crack splitting an impending wall. Climb the wall (crux: 10m: V) to a small terrace and then a slab (III) to join the ordinary route just below the Kanzel (2h). Total climbing time is 4-5h.

[edit] Overview

Route Name Hei. Dif. Dur. (h) Type Rock ° Valley Hut S. Gain Maps
Zinal Rothorn: South-East Ridge via the Gabel 4,221 m2.623 miles
13,848.425 ft
GAD 4-5 Snow and Rock III Zermatt Rothorn Hut 1,023 m0.636 miles
3,356.299 ft
1327, 1328
Zinal Rothorn: South-West Ridge (Rothorngrat) from Mountet Hut 4,221 m2.623 miles
13,848.425 ft
HAD+ 6-7 Snow and Rock III-V Anniviers, Zinal Grand Mountet Hut 1,335 m0.83 miles
4,379.921 ft
1327
Zinal Rothorn: South-West Ridge (Rothorngrat) from Rothorn Hut 4,221 m2.623 miles
13,848.425 ft
HAD+ 6-7 Snow and Rock III-V Zermatt Rothorn Hut 1,023 m0.636 miles
3,356.299 ft
1327, 1328
Zinal Rothorn: North Ridge 4,221 m2.623 miles
13,848.425 ft
GAD 5 Mostly Rock III 50 Anniviers, Zinal Grand Mountet Hut 1,335 m0.83 miles
4,379.921 ft
1327
Zinal Rothorn: East Face Direct 4,221 m2.623 miles
13,848.425 ft
MTD 10-12 Mostly Rock III-V Zermatt Rothorn Hut 1,023 m0.636 miles
3,356.299 ft
1328, 1327
Zinal Rothorn: Kanzelgrat 4,221 m2.623 miles
13,848.425 ft
JD 4-5 Snow and Rock III-V Zermatt Rothorn Hut 1,023 m0.636 miles
3,356.299 ft
1327, 1328

Hei.:Height, Dif.: Difficulty, Dur.: Duration, S. Gain: Meters from hut to summit
Summit map is always listed first. If a map is used for 2 km and another map for 1 km, the 2 km map will be listed before the 1 km map. Overview of the Swiss maps & Italian maps.

[edit] Additional Photos

[edit] External links

[edit] Recommended books

      The Alpine 4000m Peaks by the Classic Routes by Richard Goedeke

      Valais Alps East: Selected Climbs (Alpine Club Guides) by Les Swindin

      Valais Alps West: Selected Climbs (Alpine Club Guides) by Lindsay Griffin

      Alpine Climbing: Techniques to Take You Higher (Mountaineers Outdoor Expert) by Cathy Cosley

      Valais West: Zinal - Arolla - Verbier - Rhone Valley (Rother Walking Guide) by Michael Waeber & Hans Steinbichler

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