The Schönbiel Hut is located at the foot of the south ridge of Pointe de Zinal and Schönbielhorn above where the Schönbielgletcher and the Zmuttgletscher meet. The Matterhorn Zmuttgrat and the north side of the Dent d'Hérens can be studied in detail from the hut terrace.
In the old days there was an important trade pathway leading by the Zmutt valley over Col d'Hérens connecting Zermatt with Sion in the Rhône valley. It was a difficult glacier walk taking 15 hours to complete. Since long there had been a bivouac site along the route near the location where the hut is now standing.
The first real Schönbiel hut was built in 1909 taking 45 people. The original hut was enlarged and reconstructed in 1955 to accommodate 80 people from 15 March to 15 September (15 beds during the winter).
Getting there and Routes
Overall travel information is given on the SP Matterhorn page.
A four hours interesting mountain walk starts at Zermatt. The track goes along the moraine above the Zmuttgletscher with the ever changing impression of the Matterhorn north face as a companion. Using the cable car to Furi shortens the walk by one hour (one expensive hour). The walk to the hut is indeed an exciting tour in itself.
Dent Blanche and Dent d'Hérens are often climbed from the hut. The Matterhorn Zmuttgrat is also an alternative but by use of the new Lonza bivouac the approach has been considerably shortened (destroyed by avalanche in 2001, status today?). To the north Pointe de Zinal and Obergabelhorn via Arbengrat are within reach from the hut.
Maps and Books
Swiss Map: 1:25.000 Nr. 1347, Matterhorn
Griffin, Lindsay: Valais Alps West, Alpine Club Guide Books, 1998
Visp-Zermatt, Saas Fee-Grächen, Wanderbuch Vispertäler, Kümmerly+Frey, (Tour no. 26)
Les Cabanes, Du Club Alpine Suisse, No. 13 Schönbühl, 1928
Monte Rosa 1865-1965, Section Monte Rosa Du Club Alpine Suisse, 1965
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