Weisshorn E Ridge

This is without doubt one of the finest ridges on one of the finest peaks in the Alps.

Alpine Climbing Difficult

Distance
7.2 km
Ascent
1.6 km
Descent
1.6 km
Low Point
2.9 km
High Point
4.5 km
Gradient
38˚
Weisshorn E Ridge Map

This is one of the more demanding standard routes of all the 4000m peaks. It is exposed, complex and high altitude, with no easy alternatives. The route finding can be tricky in the dark, so it is wise to go at least as far as the edge of the glacier the night before.

Description

A path from the hut leads to the edge of the glacier and from here you cross diagonally up then diagonally down to reach rocks, locating a short couloir to access the rocky ridge. This is done by moving back L as you ascend the couloir to reach pt 3145m on the upper ridge of the buttress.

From this ridge you gain the large snow slope, or perhaps rubble, beyond it, which you climb until you meet the rocks at its top. Look for the paint marks leading up and R on a scree ramp to gain the ridge.

Outflank tricky sections on the ridge to the R and go up to a shoulder where there is snow above. Avoid the snow up and L by going R up a corner, 2, to a ledge with a cairn and belay. Go L along the ridge then follow the rocky spur above, moves of UIAA 2, to gain pt 3914m or the Fruhstuckplatz on the main E Ridge. Follow the ridge on excellent rock, turning the first difficulty on the R, then on the crest as far as a smooth steepening- the Lochmatter Tower, which has a plaque at its base. This is turned on the L side, ( UIAA 2+) and marked with metal stakes, then over the subsequent rocky steps. The final gendarme is an obvious spiky tower, which is avoided to the R, reaching the snowy crest. The crest is narrow to start, with cornices usually to its L, before broadening, steepening and passing over pt 4178m.

At approximately 4300m there is usually a bergschrund which can be crossed direct or to the R. The ridge steepens to 40-45 degrees to the easy summit rocks. Soak up the incredible view in all directions, then make the long careful journey down, retracing your steps.

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

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

June, July, August, September

Equipment required

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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area