Alpine route to the highest summit of Switzerland


Analysing terrain data

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The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.

Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.


Dufourspitze is Switzerland's highest mountain and is part of the Monte Rosa massif.

Its name was given by the Swiss Federal Council in the year 1863 in honor of Henri Dufour, army general, inventor of the Dufour map and co-founder of the Red Cross.

This mountain was first climbed in 1855 by English alpinists and Swiss guides and porters, later than most of the other Monte Rosa summits.

One of the successful climbers was Charles Hudson who died 10 years later on the first ascents of the Matterhorn. The normal route starts at the Monte Rosa hut, but it is also common to start at the Capanna Margherita if the trek is on a weekly tour coming from the Theodulpass.

Dufourspitze is not considered as a difficult mountain on its popular and populated ascents, but you must be fully equipped with ax, rope, crampons and warm and wind resistant clothes.

Only Mont Blanc is higher in the Alps, and it is highly recommended not to start the climb under dubious weather conditions.

You must feel strong and have several days spent in high altitude. The sight from the summit gives a peculiar feeling looking down on the near Matterhorn, however the sight down to the Italian Macugnaga is not as overwhelming as from Nordend, since Dufourspitze is not located on the Monte Rosa ridge, which forms the frontier between Italy in Switzerland, but one hour away to the west.

Thus the Dufourspitze is NOT located on the Swiss Italian border. Its peak is easy to find from all sides, but very difficult to climb from the Italian side.

The Macugnaga wall is Europe's highest and goes down a full 2600 meters! Its bright white wall reflecting the morning sun can be seen from hundreds of miles away.

It is a pity that this wonderful wall is extremely dangerous or enormously long to climb.

One of the few safe, interesting and pleasant ascent from the Italian side is the Cresta Signal from the Resegotti hut to the Punta Gnifetti.