OverviewNordend 4609m is the third highest mountain in the Alps after Mont Blanc and Dufourspitze. It is the most northern of all Monte Rosa peaks and is located on the Swiss Italian border. For an overwiew of the whole massif see Monte Rosa
Link for books and maps:
Literature and Maps
Walliser Alpen, Vol. III, Swiss Alpine Club (German and French)
Map Nr. 5006 Matterhorn - Mischabel 1:50'000
Map Nr. 1348 Zermatt 1:25'000
Istituto Geografico Centrale, Torino:
Monte Rosa, Alagna e Macugnaga 1:50'000
See the Swisstopo Map with many interesting features. Upload is in a seperate window.
Taking the normal route from the Monte Rosa hut, it is not difficult, but you have to be strong and accustomed to the altitude. Excellent weather is a must. It will take you from 6 to 10 hours to climb depending on the condition of the snow and your body.. The Monte Rosa glacier shows many crevasses, but these are not as mean as in the neighboring Grenzgletscher.
Take with you rope, crampons, ax. If you do it on skis from March to July you may be able to leave these items in your rucksack. An interesting but difficult variation is the Cresta di Santa Caterina from the Gallarate bivouac (3969 m) on top of Jaegerhorn (see route).
The tour to the Nordend gives you an excellent view on the many possibilities to climb the nearby Dufourspitze, the highest
Getting To The TopFrom Monte Rosa hut (2795 m), described in "Monte Rosa Hut", take the tracks of the Monte Rosa Glacier that lead to the Dufourspitze. At ca. 4000 m you will not turn to right, but keep going in direction of Nordend and head for Silbersattel (Italian: Colle Marinelli), which is a saddle between Nordend and Dufourspitze. The Silbersattel greets you with several bergschrunds. First head more to the left to the Nordend, then change your direction to the right (south east) and look for a safe way between the parallel crevasses. From far it looks worse than it is. A well trained mountaineer reaches the Silbersattel (4517m) in 5 hours.
From here take the north ridge that is covered with snow. Stay away from the Italian side (cornice!). The ridge is normally
easy and if you climb Nordend with skis (recommended) you can keep them on as far as the rocks at the end of the ridge. At
the end of a dry summer the ridge is icy and an be time consuming (crampons, ax).
Although the difference of altitude is only 100 m from the Silbersattel, even with excellent conditions you will hardly do it in
less than one hour.
Accommodation1. Swiss side see Monte Rosa Hut
2. Macugnaga see Dufourspitze
3. Bivacco Città di Gallerate just below the peak of Jaegerhorn (3969m, 9 places, always open. From the Swiss side start from the upper station of the Stockhorn cable car (3405 m) and walk down to the Stockhornpass (3394 m). Traverse to the Jaegerjoch (3913 m) and climb over the rocks to the Jaegerhorn. 4 hours.
From the Italian side start from the Belloni Bivouac (2509 m, see below) and cross the Piccolo Filar glacier above the seracs
at ca. 2800 m and reach the Jaegerruecken (spur) that leads in a rather difficult rock climb (max. IV) to the top of Jaegerhorn.
4. Bivacco Belloni 2509 m 9 places. Take the car or bus to Macugnaga (Pecetto 1360 m).
Access via chair lift to Belvedere (1932 m). Cross the rock covered Belvedere glacier and head reach the Alpe Fillar (1974
m). Take the horizontal path in direction of the moraine and turn right on the third creek that leads to the Piccolo Fillar glacier. A small path leads on its north side to the bivouac that looks like a US mail-box. 2.5 hours.
You can, of course, reach the bivouac without the chair lift. Follow the ugly road that starts near the chair lift station. Short before Burki stay on the left (northern) side of the Anza river and follow the sign for the Sella hut. Before reaching the granite wall, you see a big waterfall to your right and a path zigzagging south of it. Leave the road and head to the waterfall where you will find this path. No sign! After a flat grassy shoulder follow the yellow sign that shows left to the Sella hut. Enter and cross a gorge. At Roffelstafel 1905 m, leave the Sella path and keep straight to Alpe Fillar where you join the path from Belvedere. 3 hours.
When To ClimbSki: March to July (long days, cold, covered crevasses)
Foot: July to September.
HelicopterHelicopters are generally not allowed to drop tourists in the Swiss mountains. However, there are 50 exactly defined places
where planes and helicopters may land. The small plain below the Silbersattel is such an "airport". You can ask Air Zermatt (or any
other company) to fly you up to Silbersattel. Besides the fare you will have to pay for a compulsory mountain guide who
shows you the way from Silbersattel to the Nordend.
General InformationFor books, maps, webcams, trains, buses, weather, avalanches, rescue see my list Swiss Links in a new window.
- Trip Report Cresta Santa Catherina
A trip report of the "Cresta Santa Catherina" route to the nordend (sorry, german language only)
- Nordend at www.4000er.de
Images, routes, coordinates and more information about the highest peaks of the Alps