FATMAP difficulty grade
Despite the Dom’s huge height this is a relatively non-technical route, which is frequently done on skis as well. From the Dom Hut (with a very early start) follow the cairned path up the lateral moraine which merges into the Festi Glacier at about 3220m.
Keep to the left side of this glacier in ascent which climbs up towards the obvious Festijoch col.
Look out for the path that takes to the rocks and follows them, over ledges, with fixed ropes and moves of UIAA 2, before gaining the ridge on more fixed ropes to the col at 3723m.
Hopefully you will be in the sun by then and can take a break, to admire the imposing wall of the Nadelgrat which has come into view on the far side of the col.
The route then takes a circuitous loop to avoid steep and threatened ground, initially to the NE then E, staying well clear of menacing seracs.
Pass under the summits of the Nadelhorn and Lenzspitze, before turning to the S then SW to gain the final steeper slopes of the N Flank.
The route normally continues up and right to join the NW Ridge, at the col left of point 4479m, then turning left to the summit.
An alternative but popular route goes straight up to the summit from the Festijoch, along the ridge above, known as the Festigrat.
This is harder but very satisfying to do the round trip, down the route described above.
It shouldn’t take any longer if you are good on your feet.
The summit is a great reward as it reveals the other half of the staggering panorama, including the crazy ridge that links to its’ near neighbour, the Täschhorn, as well as Monte Rosa and the rest of the Saas Fee 4000ers.
The descent is the reverse of the ascent.