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Bishorn NW flank Normal Route

Bishorn NW flank Normal Route

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Bishorn NW flank Normal Route

Page Type: Route

Location: Val d'Anniviers, Switzerland, Europe

Lat/Lon: 46.11777°N / 7.71472°E

Object Title: Bishorn NW flank Normal Route

Route Type: Mountaineering, Skiing

Season: Spring, Summer

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: Alpine F

Route Quality: 
 - 6 Votes


Page By: alpinbeta

Created/Edited: Jul 17, 2007 / Dec 13, 2017

Object ID: 313098

Hits: 6612 

Page Score: 87.76%  - 25 Votes 

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Bishorn NW Flank Normal Route

Bishorn 4153 m, belonging to the Weisshorn Group, Wallis, is one of the northernmost Fourthousand of the Alps, located just North of the Weisshorn. The mountain has two distinct summits, separated by a 600 meter long snow ridge: the Western summit is the highest one, while the Eastern summit at 4134 m is a fore-summit named Pointe Burnaby.
The Bishorn is considered one of the easiest 4000 of the Alps, because the climb is not particularly difficult along the North-Western snowy slopes, covered by the broad Turtmanngletscher, but not to be underestimated in reason of the presence of some crevasses.
The mountain in the distance is not particularly spectacular, as it is overshadowed by the stunning and superb pyramid of the Weisshorn, with which it's connected by one of the most beautiful and majestic ridge of the Wallis.

Bishorn,Weisshorn and Cabane de Tracuit
Bishorn,Weisshorn and old Cabane de Tracuit

Weisshorn and Bishorn Bishorn in last sunrays from Cabane de Tracuit

It is quite advisable to stay overnight at the Cabane de Tracuit 3256 m, as the approach from Zinal to the shelter is long and with a significant difference in level, although never particularly tiring (about 1600 m of difference in level).

At the top of BishornAt the top of Bishorn - Ph. mikus

Getting there

The nearest village is Zinal, a charming tourist resort at 1670 m, located at the head of Valle d'Anniviers in the Wallis.

Getting to Zinal

By plane - To Geneva International Airport

By car - A9 motorway to Sierre-est, then follow the road signposted Val d'Anniviers, Vissoie, Ayer-Zinal. The access roads are cleared all year round. Free parking in all the municipality of Ayer.

- from Italy - The easiest and fastest access from Italy is from Domodossola via the Simplon Pass, passing close to Visp and then Brig in Rhone Valley. You reach Zinal, with a convenient road from the Rhone Valley near Sierre.

Dent Blanche and Grand Cornier from Cabane de Tracuit approach
Dent Blanche and Grand Cornier from the approach
Montée à la cabane du Tracuit...
Rising to Cabane de Tracuit
Juste avant d'arrivé à la...
Last steps before the shelter

Approach to Cabane de Tracuit

From the village of Zinal follow the signpost to the Cabane de Tracuit, getting to a parking lot a bit out of the village, where it starts the trail (signpost Cabane de Tracuit). The path is well marked with red and white signs. After a starting part inside the forest, the trail called du Roc de la Vache becomes more steep and twisty, getting the mountain pasture Combautanna (2578 m) and huge heap of stones heading to the Col de Tracuit. In about 4 hours the trail leads us to the base of an easy rocky gully equipped with chains.


Annotated view from Cabane de Tracuit
Cabane de Tracuit annotated view

Just above, in a few minutes, you will get the Cabane de Tracuit (3256 m) situated on the pass between the Turtmannan and Anniviers valleys. Enjoy the awesome view over Bishorn and many peaks belonging to the Imperial Crown (Weisshorn, Zinalrothorn, Ober Gabelhorn, Dent Blanche).

Route Description

North-West Flank (Normal and ski route)

Difficulty: F (Alpine)
Difference in level: 900 m from Cabane de Tracuit 3256 m

A good and advisable route - not too demanding - with breathtaking views

Bishorn Summit PanoramaBishorn Summit Panorama - Ph. Rick B

The glacier begins at a few minutes from the refuge and its first part is a flat traverse. From the refuge bypass a stony hump and head to the Turtmanngletscher, proceeding with a short descent which leads to a shelf with cairns near the start of the glacier. Although there are a few crevasses, here you must rope up. Begin to proceed on the glacier with a long and almost flat traverse, crossing a crevasse area and reach slightly downhill a basin on the glacier that must be crossed heading towards an obvious snowy saddle, situated between the rocky ridge on the left (rocky band extending from the top of Bishorn until a point at 3469 of altitude) and the wide snowy slope on the right.

Turtmanngletscher at sunset
Turtmanngletscher at sunset
On Bishorn normal route
Party on the normal route
On the normal route to the...
On Bishorn normal route

Take the slope, steeper at the beginning, giving access to the North-Western snowy ramp of the mountain. Climb up along keeping more or less in the middle of the slope (easy ramp at about 35°), avoiding some big crevasses. In the higher section take some steep ramps exiting to the col between the fore-summit (Pointe Burnaby) to the left and the summit of Bishorn to the right.

Bishorn Normal routeBishorn Normal route

Pointe Burnaby
Pointe Burnaby
Climber close to
Climber close to the summit
Weisshorn from Bishorn summit
Weisshorn from Bishorn summit

There is a big creasse just below the summit. Turn sharp right, pass the crevasse and climb a short snowy wall to get the summit (3 hours from the refuge).
From the summit you can admire the imposing Weisshorn and many other mountains of the Couronne imperial (Dent Blanche, Zinalrothorn, Obergabelhorn) and Monte Rosa. Wishing to climb also the close Pointe Burnaby 4135 m descend to saddle and in a few minutes you can climb to the peak keeping slightly below the edge of the ridge, on snow, debris and rocks, and finally coming out on the final crest in the vicinity of the highest point. Easy.

Essential Gear

Ice-axe, crampons, rope, a good pair of sunglasses and warm clothes.

Red Tape

No fees no permits required. The first stretch is the slight slope and leads to a glacier zone enough plagued by crevasses. Tacking to the left and descend towards a depression in glacier before rising again in an easterly direction pointing the obvious saddle snowy. The first light of dawn, leaving open the scenario on the left, behind the shelter compact massif of Les Diablons to the immediate left and the long rocky strip of Stierberg. The ascent increases in intensity up to take the foot of the long glacial slope, north-west, which leads to the summit.
then turn right and begin the most challenging part of the climb.
It starts the steep ascent of the glacial tongue, following the tracks can be made a few bends to mitigate the slope that also reaches 35 °; consequently it takes share rapidly reaching 4000m altitude at a point where the slope is attenuated a little. Continue the march pointing the wide snowy saddle that separates the Punta Burnaby (4135m) from Bishorn. After reaching the saddle the view becomes spectacular: all the peaks of the Imperial Crown appear in front of the climber with a privileged view of the impressive north ridge of the Weisshorn.
Continue for a short flat section then overcome with a sudden attention with crevasses before starting to climb the cap


- Cabane de Tracuit - S.A.C. Sect. Chaussy

Situation: Turtmanngletscher
Owner: S.A.C. Sect. Chaussy
Open: from March to September
Size: 120 persons
Winter shelter: 15 persons
Guardian: Anne-Lise Bourgeois, Pralonzet 3961 Zinal
Hut Phone: 0041-027-4751500
e-mail: cabane@tracuit.ch
website: www.tracuit.ch

Monte Paterno seen from the approach path
The old Cabane de Tracuit near sundown

The old Cabane de Tracuit near sundown
The new Cabane de Tracuit - Bishorn and Turtmann gletscher - ph. EricChu

When to climb

- Mountaineering: the best period goes to the end of June to middle September

- Ski-mountaineering: from April to June


Tracuit Hut, access map

"Il grande libro dei 4000" by Marco Romelli, Valentino Cividini - Idea Montagna Editore, 2015

“Tutti i 4000” – L’aria sottile dell’alta quota” – CLUB 4000 CAI TORINO – Vivalda Editori

“The 4000 of the Alps” by Richard Goedeke (CAAI) – All the normal routes to the 4000m. summits of the Alps – Libris Edition

Meteo Forecast



Pointe BurnabyBishorn Summit PanoramaAt the top of BishornWeisshorn and BishornZinalrothorn and Obergabelhorn from Cabane de TracuitNW Flank of BishornZinalrothorn and Obergabelhorn from Cabane de Tracuit
The new Cabane de TracuitA look from P.3549 to the two...Turtmanngletscher at sunsetSummit of Bishorn 4153mTete de Milon and Zinalrothorn seen from Cabane de TracuitWeisshorn from Bishorn summitSerac fall near Cabane de Tracuit
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