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Mountains & Rocks
Mountains & Rocks



Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Aosta/Wallis (Monte Rosa), Italy/Switzerland, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.92140°N / 7.83910°E

Object Title: Lyskamm

Elevation: 14852 ft / 4527 m


Page By: mulidivarese, Lodewijk

Created/Edited: Mar 26, 2001 / Jun 22, 2017

Object ID: 150274

Hits: 54813 

Page Score: 97.56%  - 70 Votes 

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Rahel Denkmal

The last maintainer of this page and early SummitPost member Rahel Maria Liu) died for hypotermia 24/25 August 2004 after being caught in a freak snowstorm while attempting to climb the Innominata Spur on the southern (Italian) face of Mont Blanc. Edward Allen, her climbing companion (a british climber known some days early), was saved by an helicopter of Italian Rescue team.
Rahel was a charter member during SP's early days, and her work here remains among the best of SP's collected contributions. Her knowledge and experience has made an impact on the world mountaineering community, and her warmth and friendship will be long remembered among her many friends and fellow members here at SummitPost. She will be greatly missed by us all. She was only 34 years old. Continued maintenance of this page is in her memory.


East summit

The Lyskamm builds a colossal massif with its almost 1000m high ice NE-face. The best view is availeable from the Gornergrat or the Monte-Rosa-Hütte. The summit ridge with a length of more than 1000 m (Waeber) or rather 2000 m (Biner) between the West-summit (4479m) and the little higher East- summit makes the end of this northface. The biggest problems are the cornices. Therefore people call it "Menschenfresser" (maneater). The concret reason: on the 6th September 1877, 2 english alpinist fell down to death (William Arnold Lewis and Noel Paterson), and in 1896, Dr. Max Günther with his guides Roman Imboden and Peter Ruppen died as well because of the cornices. It is very difficult and dangerous if weather changes.

The S-side is built by a 500 m high rockflank, which is interrupted by a small hanging glacier. This rockflank stands on the Lysglacier with its two broken tongues. It goes down to the Gressoneyvalley.

Especially the traverse from the Lysjoch to the Felikjoch is a great classic tour, which is technically not very difficult, but dangerous because of the cornices. It takes 4 to 5 hours, if the conditions are good. Because of the cornices you often have to traverse in the steep NE-flank.

Sometimes the E-summit is reached via the WSW-ridge and the S-ridge. The different ascents through the NE-face are all very difficult and objectively dangerous because of icefall. Buth the view to the Northface-wall with its many kilometers is impressing. It seems to be steeper than it actually is if you look directly to it from the north, for example from the Monte-Rosa-Hütte of from the ascent to the Dufourspitze.

The first climb of the summit-ridge was undertaken together with the first ascent of the W-summit on 16th of August 1864 by Sir Leslie Stephen and Edward N. Buxton with the guides Jakob Anderegg and Franz Biner. The main-summit (E-summit) was already climbed for the first time on the 19th of August 1861 by 8 english mountaineers together with 6 swiss guides. It was like an expedition.

For the Routes compare the section Routes-Overview below.


1. E-ridge (normal route) from the Lysjoch to the E-summit:
    -G 4, snow till 45°, 1 1/2 - 2 h, 380 hm (Waeber)
    - ZS, 2 h from Lysjoch (Biner)
    - PD, II, till 40 °, 4-5 h from Gnifettihütte, 890 hm, firn and ice, as skitour possible, skidepot at Lysjoch (Dumler)

2. Traverse to the W-summit:
    - II, G 7, 1 - 2 h, 1 km (Waeber)
    - ZS, III, 1,5 h , 6 h from the Cap. Quintino Sella to Lysjoch (Biner)
    - ZS, 4-6 h (totally) (Vaucher)

3. SW-ridge from the Felikjoch to the W-summit:
    - G 4, 420 hm, 2 h (Waeber)
    - WS, 3, 5 h (Biner)
    - PD, II (passages), till 40°, 2-3 h from Felikjoch, 390 hm,mixed, as skitour possible, depot at Felikjoch (Dumler)

4. S-ridge to the E-summit:
    - II (passages), G 5, 960 hm, 4-5 h (Waeber)
    - PD, II, mixed, 5 h from Gnifettihütte, 890 hm (Dumler)

5. NE-face:
    - very difficult (Waeber)
    - D, till 55°, 7 h from the foot, 700 hm, very difficult and dangerous (Dumler)

  • Neruda-Klucker-route to the E-summit (the most secure route through the face):

  • - SS, IV+, 4 h for the face, 1- 3 h to the foot (Biner)
    - 50°-55°, 700 hm, 5-6 h, 3 h from the Monte-Rosa-Hütte (Vanis)
    - SS, 6-8 h, 727 hm (Vaucher)

  • Nessi-Andreani-route to the W-summit (ojectively dangerous):

  • - SS, 8-10 h (Vaucher)

6. W-flank:
    - very difficult, big bergschrund, seldom climbed (Waeber)

7. NW-flank:
    - very difficult, big bergschrund, seldom climbed (Waeber)

8. SE-face:
    - AD+, III+, mixed, 7 h from Gnifettihütte 890 hm (Dumler)

Approach Routes

There are several ways to get to the different mountain huts from the valley. The different approach routes are described below.

I to the Mantova / Gnifetti Hut

Approach routes from Gressoney/Alagna
Approach routes from Gressoney/Alagna
Coming from Gressoney (Staffal)

From Gressoney, Staffal, take the cableway to the Indren glacier. The first cableway brings you to the middle station of Alpe Gabiet (there is a bar- restaurant called Rifugio Lys) a few minutes from the Gabiet Lake. The second cableway brings you to direct to Passo Salati, where you can find the new lift to Punta Indren (3250m).
From here you have to walk: you have to cross the glacier, therefore crampons are advised.
From the lift, follow the track that crosses the glacier, and in about 20 minutes you reach the place where the track splits in two, a low and a high track. Follow the  low one until the end of the glacier. Go beyond a rock with fixed ropes (15 meters), than climb up again and and  shortly the Mantova hut is reached.  It takes about an hour from the lift to the hut.
If you choose the high track (you have to consider the season and the snow conditions), climb up slightly. When the snow ends, you go on a mixed path (earth, rocks and snow) and after a few bends you reach an equiped path. The fixed ropes and steps made with wooden trunks make your ascent of this steep section easier. When you reach the top of this path you see on the left, below, the Mantova hut. The duration is about 1 hour.
To reach the Gnifetti Hut from the Mantova Hut you have to cross the Garstelet glacier. This will take up to 30 minutes longer.

Fore information about the cableway to Indren from Gressoney (including prices, timetable) see this link

Coming from Alagna
From Alagna take the cableway system to Passo Salati (it  consists of two sections: the cableway (1st part) to Pianalunga and then the cableway that bring you to the Passo Salati (2nd part). From here it is a 100m walk to the new Punta Indren cableway. Once reached Indren (3250m) you follow the same path as described above. 
Otherwise, from Gabiet, follow the old path 6a to reach the hut on a very safe and well-marked path. The last part of the path is on stony ground.
The way from Gabiet to Mantova hut takes about 4-5 hours. To reach the Gnifetti Hut you have to cross the Garstelet glacier. This will take up to 45 minutes longer.

Fore information about the cableway to Indren from Alagna (including prices, timetable) see this link

II to the Quintino Sella Hut

Starting from Gressoney-La-Trinité, continue for about 4 km to  reach Stafal, where the paved road ends. The lift to Colle Bettafora, at an altitude of 2680m, departs here.  At the ending of the lifts path number 9, indicated by a yellow marker, starts. The first section of the trail, until Colle Bettolina at 3100m, is easy. From the beginning of the season until the end of July this path is usually covered with snow, but due to the amount of  hikers, the path is usually well visible. The last section consists of an open ridge (30-40 minutes), there are fixed ropes present though, making this section relatively asy as well. Total time to reach the refuge is about 3 to 4 hours in total.

III to the Monte Rosa Hut

Approach route: Rotenbodem - Monte Rosa Hut
Approach route: Rotenboden - Monte Rosa Hut
Coming from Zermatt
Take the Gornergratbahn (Mountain Railway) from Zermatt station to Rotenboden (2819m). From here a marked trail heads ESE following the flowpath of the  Gorner Glacier. The final descent to the glacier involves down-climbing steep slabs using ladders and chains  and finally crossing a small metal bridge to reach the ice at about 2500m. The trail on the glacier is well marked with flags and poles. Roping up is advisable. The glacier (ice!) is covered with a fine layer of grit so crampons are not obligated, but still, I would recommend using them. 

The route crosses the junction of the Gorner and Grenz Glaciers, before following the eastern flank of the Grenz Glacier. The route leaves the ice and goes over into a marked trail, which goes straight up to the Monte Rosa hut. Total time is about 3 hours from Rotenboden.

How to get there

Matterhorn from Zermatt
If you plan on climbing Lyskamm from the Swiss side (via Monte Rosa hut or via Klein Matterhorn) Zermatt is the place to start from. Klein Matterhorn is often used as starting point for a multiple day tour ("Spaghetti tour") climbing 10 to 12 4000-meter peaks, sometimes including Lyskamm. When you plan on climbing the mountain from the Italian side the Mantova or Gnifetti Huts are used as a base. Both huts can be reached from either Alagna or Gressoney. The links below provide a detailed description about how to get to these villages. For more information about getting to the mountain huts from the villages mentioned here, see the section "mountain huts" below. Both the link to the official internet page as well as to the SP-page provide information about getting to the hut.

How to get to Zermatt: Click Here

How to get to Alagna: Click Here

How to get to Gressoney: Click Here

Mountain Huts

There are several mountain huts surrounding Lyskamm. The Monte Rosa hut is the only Hut located on Swiss terrain. It is possible to climb Lyskamm from the Monte Rosa Hut via the Grenz glacier. From the Italian side of the mountain the Gnifetti , Mantova or Quintino Sella Huts are often used as a base for climbing Lyskamm. The advantage of the Gnifetti Hut over Mantova is the higher altitude and better location (closer to the mountain). These 2 huts are the base for climbing Lyskamm East or make a traverse from East to West. The Quintino Sella hut is a good base for climbing Lyskamm West or traverse Lyskamm from West to East. The last hut is the famous Capanna Regina Margherita, the highest mountain hut in Europe at 4554 meters, situated on top of Punta Gnifetti / Signalkuppe. Many climbers choose to spend the night here and traverse Zumsteinspitze & Dufourspitze, traverse Lyskamm, or descend back down to either the Italian or Swiss side of the mountain. If you plan on spending the night in the Margherita Hut, be sure to have the proper acclimatization.
Clicking on the name of the Hut in the table below directs you to the official internet page. Also the SP-link is given when available.

SP_Link      Photo
Monte Rosa Hut
+41 (0)27 967 21 15
The new Monte Rosa Hut
Gnifetti Hut
 +39 348 141 5490
Capanna Gnifetti (11965 ft / 3647 m)
Rif. Mantova
 +39 016 37 8150 Here
Piramide Vincent
Cap. Regina Margherita
 +39 348 141 5490
Signalkuppe 4554m / Rifugio Regina Margherita
Rif. Quintino Sella3585m +39 0125 366113Here
Rifugio Quintino Sella at dawn

When to climb

On the Lyskamm traverse, on...
On the Lyskamm traverse
The best period to climb Lyskamm is in the summer months: July, August, September.


There are several books describing one or more climbing routes on Lyskamm. The ''Hochtouren Westalpen'' by Rother Verlag is a very popular choice. This guidebook includes photos, route descriptions and detailed route maps for many climbs in the Western Alps, including Lyskamm. For me this is the best guidebook at this moment. The ''Viertausender der Alpen'' by Dumler is a true classic. It is a 2014 reprint of one of the truly classic mountain books. The English version is still accessible as ''The high mountains of the Alps''. If you are looking for a smaller format the 4000er tourenfuhrer by Goedeke is a good choice as well. This guidebook has a description on every normal route on a 4000 meter peak in the Alps. If you are planning a ski-touring ascent of Lyskamm-West the guidebook ''Walliser Alpen'' by Rother Verlag is the guide to go with. Other recent publications like ''the 4000m peaks of the Alps'' and ''Topo Verlag Walliser Alpen'' are shown below.


Year (last Print) 
Rother Verlag
Hochtouren Westalpen Band I
Wolfgang Pusch
Rother Verlag
Viertausender der Alpen
Helmut Dumler
Rother Verlag
The High mountains of the Alps
Helmut Dumler
Idea Montagna
4000m peaks of the Alps
Marco Romelli
Rother Verlag
Walliser Alpen Skitourenfuhrer
Daniel Haussinger
Topo Verlag
Walliser Alpen
Daniel Silbernagel
Bruckmann Verlag
4000er Tourenfuhrer
Richard Goedeke


There are several maps for climbing Lyskamm. However, the only map on a 1:25.000 scale that covers all routes on Lyskamm is the Italian Instituto Geografico Centrale (IGC) "109 Monte Rosa Alagna Valsesia Macugnaga Gressoney" map. For climbing Lyskamm (and a Monte Rosa 4000ers tour) I would recommend this map. It is the only map that covers the entire Monte Rosa Group (the Swiss and Italian part). Other maps on a 1:25.000 scale are the Schweizer Landeskarte "1345 Zermatt" and the "2515 Zermatt Gornergrat" maps. Both are excellent, but only include the Swiss part of the Monte Rosa Group. These maps can be combined with the SLK "294 Gressoney" map, which covers the Italian part of Monte Rosa. Other options are the Kompass "Zermatt Saas Fee" and the SLK "5006 Matterhorn Mischabel" maps. Both are on a 1:50.000 scale and do not include the Italian side of Monte Rosa.

Monte Rosa IGC Map 1:25.000
No. 1348 Zermatt 1:25.000 Map
2515 Zermatt Gornergrat
Kompass Zermatt Saas Fee
No. 294 Gressoney 1:50.000 Map

Additional Info.
Schweizer Landeskarte            
5006 Matterhorn Michabel 
Instituto Geografico Centrale109 Monte Rosa Alagna 1:25.000 9788896455395Covers the entire area
Schweizer Landeskarte
1348 Zermatt
Covers the Swiss side
Schweizer Landeskarte
2515 Zermatt Gornergrat
Covers the Swiss side
Kompass Map117 Zermatt Saas Fee 1:50.0009783850269261 Covers the Swiss side
Schweizer Landeskarte294 Gressoney1:50.0009783302002941Covers the Italian side 

External Links

Steep ascent to Lyskamm East
Steep ascent to Lyskamm East
 at www.4000er.de Images, routes, coordinates and more information about the highest peaks of the Alps
Lyskamm at Camptocamp Description of all major routes on Zumsteinspitze; Partly in English, mostly French
Official Website Zermatt (CH) and Alagna Valsesia (I) 
Photos of all the Monte Rosa peaks: Monte Rosa 4000

Mountain Guides for climbing Lyskamm: Guide Alpina Alagna in Alagna, Alpincenter Zermatt in Zermatt

Weather Forecast by mountain-forecast.com


Additions and Corrections

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HegyibaromLyskamm Orientale normal route (and Piramide Vincent)


Hasn't voted

Video from the Lyskamm Orientale standard route (and Piramide Vincent):

Posted Oct 13, 2016 8:53 am

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