Lenzspitze Nadelhorn Traverse

Saas Fee

The Mischabel Range

A great route traversing two 4000m peaks, with excellent rock towards the summit of the Nadelhorn

Alpine Climbing Difficult

Distance
5.5 km
Ascent
1 km
Descent
1 km
Low Point
3.3 km
High Point
4.3 km
Gradient
33˚
VIEW ON MAP
Lenzspitze Nadelhorn Traverse Map

Description

This is a fine outing, conveniently done from and back to the Mischabel Hut. It is possibly the most common way of climbing the Lenzspitze, as downclimbing the ascent route is less interesting and much more tricky. It is also one of the most enjoyable and satisfying traverses in the area, so as a result is popular. The Lenzspitze is a very attractive peak, famed for its smooth NNE face, which is a popular snow climb early season, and has even been skied a number of times. Later in the season the NNE face turns to glacial ice as the spring snows melts or slides off the face, so is best avoided.

Like the Matterhorn, whose famous Hörnli Ridge also face a similar direction, dry conditions are highly recommended for this route, as it is much harder in crampons. Equally it is best avoided when the snowy sections have turned to ice, so August may well be too late in an average year.

The ENE Ridge of the Lenzspitze starts up the path behind the hut, which you follow up to the Schwarzhorn, 3619m, then onto the wide snowy crest beyond. Take to rocks once again, passing pt 3814m, then you are on the main ridge. You have to climb over the Grande Gendarme, 4091m, which involves short sections of downclimbing or perhaps a short rappel. It becomes more snowy a little higher, leading to the summit of the Lenzspitze. The traverse lies before you and the rock gets better and better.

Descend the NW Ridge of the Lenzspitze over some rocky towers to the Nadeljoch, the lowest point between the two summits, at 4208m. From here the rock gets better and better and is lovely orange gneiss. There are a succession of small rocky towers all of which are climbed over, rather than round. They are well equipped with protection from their tops. The final climb to the summit of the Nadelhorn is on massive holds and is very enjoyable.

The descent of the Nadelhorn is much more straightforward than what you have done, to the Windjoch col at 3847m, then a glacial journey back to the final section down to the hut which you did in ascent.

Difficulty

Difficult

The beginning of truly technical terrain which might involve pitched climbing on rock and/or ice, exposed terrain and complex route finding in ascent and descent. Equivalent to AD, AD+

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

Equipment required

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Quickdraws
  • Glacier kit
  • Wires and Friends

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area