Mönch South-east Ridge

Grindelwald, Wengen and Mürren

Bernese Oberland

A true classic up a staggeringly well positioned peak.

Also in Bern, Switzerland

Alpine Climbing Difficult

Distance
5 km
Ascent
637 m
Descent
637 m
Low Point
3.5 km
High Point
4.1 km
Gradient
31˚
VIEW ON MAP
Mönch South-east Ridge Map

Description

This is one of the most popular 4000 metre peaks because it is easily accessible, not overly technical and incredibly well situated. Despite not being "difficult", the route is very exposed in places so you'll need to be confident scrambling and cramponing surrounded by some pretty impressive drops before taking this on.

Start the day by riding the Jungfraujoch train up from Grindelwald, through the Eiger's north face, to the Jungfraujoch station. Make your way down to the glacier exit and walk along a pisted (yes, pisted) track that leads to the Mönchjoch Hut. It is normally vital to rope up on wet glaciers, but if there is a possible exception to that rule, it is on the pisted track to the hut.

For this route you don't need to go all the way to the hut because you pass the foot of the route shortly before reaching the hut, but alternatively you can stay at the hut and do this route with an alpine start.

Whether you start from the hut or not, head to the toe of the ridge and scramble up the lower section of it over some straightforward rocky scrambling to reach a snowy arête which has a steep couloir dropping away left from it.

Follow the increasingly steep snowy ridge - which features mixed sections and has some metal stakes for protection - all the way to the final summit ridge. This final ridge is very exposed so whilst it isn't "hard", the exposure and possible cornice risks make it a serious proposition which requires your respect, not to mention concentration.

Once on the summit you are in a truly spectacular spot, with the Eiger and Jungfrau close up and the Mönch's north face dropping away below you. When the time comes to descend, go down the ascent route back to the Jungfraujoch.

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, August, September

Equipment required

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area