Zermatt is surrounded by a ring of 3000 meter hiking summits, minor summits which, however, have marvellous views on the adjacent huge glacier peaks. Mettelhorn is by far one of the nicest of those “bellevues” above Zermatt but by far the most strenuous and demanding as for your stamina. There is no cablecar helping you up. Hotel du Trift, a private alpine hut, located at about the half way up, offers refreshments or an overnight stay if you don´t want to do the 1700 meters of altitude difference on one day.
Mettelhorn is located at the far end of the eastern ridge system dropping down from elegant Zinalrothorn, one of the famous 4000 m - peaks of Wallis. It is a hiker´s summit with an easy but long and strenuous approach if done in one day. There are no major obstacles from the valley floor up to the summit cross. However, the little glacier which has to be traversed below the summit can be icy and the last steps over slabs and scree are steep.
Towering high above the valley ground, Mettelhorn has an advanced position which offers those grand views on the huge glacier mountains of Zermatt. Walliser Weißhorn or the whole of Monte Rosa range are just breathtaking when viewed from Mettelhorn. So even the “normal” hiker can get the feeling of being high up and amidst glaciers and demanding peaks.
Trailhead for Mettelhorn is Zermatt center.
At Visp follow the signposts to Stalden, Sankt Niklaus, Randa and Täsch.
Leave the car at Täsch parking areas. Take the shuttle train to Zermatt. Cars are not allowed to proceed from Täsch to Zermatt.
Zermatt can easily be reached by train, too. The Matterhorn - Gotthart - Bahn is operating the regional railway net. Schedules, stations and the adjacent railway companies can be found here.
The trailhead for Mettelhorn is at Zermatt center, Bahnhofstraße, in front of the post office. Use Triftweg branching off from Bahnhofsstraße and ascend the road in the direction of Hotel du Trift.
The road steepens and ends at the last houses of Zermatt. There is a good trail which takes you to the mouth of the Trift gorge where you traverse the creek to the left and then into the woods.
The trail is steep and takes you up to Edelweiss, a small restaurant at about 300 mtrs above the valley and a perfect place to take a break and enjoy the beautifull view's down to Zermatt and to Rothorn and Gornergrat across the valley.
After Edelweis the trail follows on a more or less level section the upper southern rim of the Trift gorge. It traverses the creek a second time and zigzags up the northern slopes of Trift gorge. The views are limited ther but be patient, it will soon get much, much better.
Without any problems you reach Hotel du Trift waiting for you with coffee, nice refreshement and a great sun terrace.
Here the views open to Wellenkuppe, Obergalbelhorn, Zinalrothorn and the surrounding glaviers. A little higher up you can see the Untergabelhorn which was hiding behind the ridge.
From this private mountain hut follow the marked trail to Rothornhütte. Some minutes later the summit trail to Mettelhorn branches off to the right, climbing up the meadows of Triftchumme to its upper part. This section is steep in parts but good to hike. Triftchumme is a beautiful and vast streching alpine meadow, from here you can see the neighbouring peak of Mettelhorn: Platthorn.
High up at Triftchumme the grass gives way to scree and gravel as you slowly pass the vegetation line. A scree – littered trail leads up to a col west of Platthorn. From below it looks as if the col is miles away but in fact is only a good thirty minutes of scree scrambling.
Still the Mettelhorn is not visible it will reveal itself when you reach the col.
At this col traverse the level upper part of Hohlichtgletscher in northeastern direction to the steep summitblock of Mettelhorn. There may be small crevasses, so watch out. Normally nobody goes there roped.
Climb Mettelhorn summit over steep scree fields, slabs and some talus.
Awesome views are waiting for you. You will see all glacier summits around zermatt valley and the most impressive views are those of Walliser Weißhorn and Matterhorn.
Return on the same route.
I recommend an overnight stay at Hotel du Trift. It is a very nice private mountain hut with an impressive breakfast choice. You can stay long on Mettelhorn summit and savour the late afternoon scenery at Triftchumme with its plant and animal life: Marmot's leave their borroughs and chamoix and ibex come down from the mountain's to graze.
Mettelhorn is an easy but long and - as for your stamina - demanding hike, if done in one day. There are technically no major difficulties.
There is, however, a short glacier part - about 5 minutes to go. Below the summit you have to traverse the upper Hohlichgletscher. Normally nobody goes there roped. There can be some minor crevasses but the glacier part, you have to cross, is level, so I think it is o.k. without rope and hareness. In late summer and autumn crampons can be useful in case of icy conditions.
You need full hiking gear for the ascent / descent. Take rain gear, too, and maybe hiking poles for traversing the snow field.
Mettelhorn is a summer and maybe autumn tour. Triftchumme slopes seem to be good for skiing, too. Wether Mettelhorn is a ski hike, too, I do not know.
Red Tape & Accommodations
There are, as far as I know, no special restrictions in this area.
All parking areas require fees.
You find Hotels, Bed & Breakfast, Tourist houses and campgrounds in and around
Mountain huts in the area are
Maps & Guide Books
The best map is
The main guidebooks, available in German, are