Gross Grünhorn, SW Ridge

Bernese Oberland

A lovely journey up a classic ridge, taking in the Grünegghorn on the way

Alpine Climbing Moderate

Distance
9.6 km
Ascent
1.6 km
Descent
1.6 km
Low Point
2.7 km
High Point
4 km
Gradient
29˚
Gross Grünhorn, SW Ridge Map

The Gross Grünhorn is often climbed in spring on skis via the W flank, from the Ewigschneefeld Glacier. This is a less popular route in summer, due to the serac danger, and also the glacier is less likely to be in a suitable condition. Safer and more aesthetic is to go up the Grünegg Glacier, traversing the Grünegghorn, then climbing the SW Ridge.

Description

From the Konkordia Hut descend the ladders then head NE onto the centre of the Grünegg glacier. Next head N, more steeply, passing beneath pt 3476m, looking for a snowy gully that leads steeply up to the ridge above. Climb this (40 degrees) to the broad snowy shoulder. Follow the easy snowy slope above until easy mixed or rocky scrambling to the summit of the Grünegghorn. Downclimb to the L a short section of rock and snow to the col between the Grünegghorn and the Gross Grünhorn. This can be tricky if icy.

From here the quickest route is to keep to the glacier to the L of the ridge until about halfway up, at about 3900m. Then cut back R to the ridge itself where pleasant scrambling, involving moves of UIAA 2, lead you to the summit. The views are amazing of all the surrounding 4000m peaks, and particularly impressive is looking down on the huge expanse of glaciers all around. Descent is the same in reverse.

There is a rappel descent which some people take, direct down from the saddle between the Gross Grünhorn and the Grünegghorn. This is very loose, a frequent scene of accidents, hence not recommended, despite the apparent ease of going this way to access the Finsteraarhorn Hut.

Difficulty

Moderate

May involve slightly more complex glacier hikes, easy but possibly long rock ridges and steep snow up to 45 degrees. Equivalent to PD, PD+

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Much of the route is difficult to protect and a fall could be disastrous at certain points.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

June, July, August

Equipment required

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area