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Signalkuppe / Punta Gnifetti

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Signalkuppe / Punta Gnifetti

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Monte Rosa, Italy/Switzerland, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.92713°N / 7.87704°E

Object Title: Signalkuppe / Punta Gnifetti

Season: Summer

Elevation: 14941 ft / 4554 m


Page By: mulidivarese, Lodewijk

Created/Edited: Apr 16, 2001 / May 19, 2017

Object ID: 150348

Hits: 55479 

Page Score: 94.82%  - 49 Votes 

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The first ascent of this mountain was during the month of August, year 1842, when the priest Giovanni Gnifetti (this the reason of the italian name "Punta Gnifetti") and seven Guides reached the peak starting from Alagna.

Alpinism history in Monte Rosa group begun in 1778, when seven Italian people from "Gressoney" went up from south side to discover the mythical lost valley: they believe that over the mountains and the ridges existed a paradise, with animals and fruit-threes, ancient home of their ancestors. The higher point to reach by the seven people (at about 4000 meters) was called "stone of the discover.

The first ascents are in 1801 when the preast Giordani conquered the peak calls with his name. In the same period Zumstein (Zumsteinspitze) , Vincent (Vincent Pyramide) and, finally, the priest Gnifetti, conquered other Monte Rosa peaks.

On the top is situated the highest refuge situated in Europe, built with the help and the visiting of the italian Queen Margherita (from her the name of the refuge, "Margherita").

Signalkuppe (Punta Gnifetti) 4559 m

Getting There


Monte Rosa Hutte (2795m):

You reach the hut from the station Rotenboden (Gornergrat cable car) over the Gornerglacier in 2 - 2,5 h, 200hm up and down. The way over the glacier is partly marked by poles. From the station Rotenboden, you choose the way with S-direction to the ridge saddle in the E of the Riffelhorn (signs). After a few 100 meters, the way goes up over the Gornerglacier to the E and slightly down to the S-flank of the Gorner-ridge. You reach the Grenzglaicer and traverse it to the S till you reach the E-side of the Grenzglacier. You climb up on the glacier below the hut. You reach via the moraine in short zigzag (100hm).

You can also come from the station Stockhorn. You pass the Stockhorn in 30 min. to the E to the Stockhornpass and traverse the Gornerglacier at the foot of the Nordend (NW). Then you go at the left side down and along the Monte-Rosa-Glacierbreak and the rocks. You reach the edge on about 3120m (pole). You go up slightly on the S-side and traverse the middle tongue of the Monte-Rosa-glacier to the Unteren Plattje and the hut (2-3h)

You can also make the long ascent over the whole Gornerglacier (about 9 km from Furi, 4 h, 940 hm). About 1 km northwestern of the icy glacier-tongue, the road from Furi ends.

You reach the train to the Gornerridge from Zermatt.

You reach Zermatt (1616m) with car or bus from Visp/Brig and by train from Täsch. Zermatt is well-know in the whole world as one center of the Walliser Alps. You are not allowed to drive your car in the village.

Brig is the main city of the upper Wallis and the junction of the trains:

a. Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon-Domodossola b. Furka-Oberalppass (Andermatt/Disentis, Glacierexpress) c. Brig-Visp-Zermatt d. Lake of Geneva-Milano

In Brig, many busses arrive as well: a. Simplon-Gondo b. Saastal c. Blatten d. Mund e. Rosswald

You reach Visp/Brig by car:

a. from the West: From Geneva (airport) on the A1 to Lausanne, on the A9 via Montreux, Martigny and Sion to Sierre. From Sierre the road no. 9 with direction to Brig. But at Visp, you turn already right to the S with directin to the Saaser valley. In Stalden, you turn right and leave the Saaser valley to the left. Here, the Matter valley beginns. Via St. Niklaus, Randa and Täsch, you reach Zermatt.

b. from the North: from Bern on the A6 to Spiez, from here the road to Kandersteg, at Kandersteg, you drive your car on a train and go by train through a tunnel; end of the tunnel: Goppenstein; you continue the road to the S and reach the main road from Sierre. On the crossroad, you turn left (E) and reach Visp. From here, continue as route a.

c. from the East: from Bregenz on the A13 to Chur; turn off at Reichenau and continue the road no. 19 to Brig/Visp via Flims - Sedrun - Andermatt - Gletsch - Fiesch. From Visp, continue as described in a.

d. from the South: either from Como on the A2 via Bellinzona to Airollo, then road no.2 till Hospental and here to the left on the road no. 19 to Brig/Visp or from Arona till the end von the A26 and then the E62 via Domodóssola to Brig.


You come from the Rif. Gnifetti.

2. To the RIF. GNIFETTI (3647 m):

You reach the hut from Punta Indren, 3260 m (cable car from Alagna), in 1,5 h via Rif. Città di Mantova (350 hm), 45 min. from Rif. Mantova, 7 h from Alagna (2420hm). In the lower part, it is a marked way (no. 5). The traverse of the glacier is not marked. From Punta Indren, You traverse the ski-run, slowly going up on the Indrenglacier till you reach the outstanding rock band above which the Mantova-hut is situated (yellow-red signs). You climb up the rock steps (fixed ropes). From the hut, you go up over the E-side of the Lysglacier to the N and at the end over rocks to the Gnifettihut.

You reach Punta Indren on the marked hiking way no. 5 from Alagna via Dosso (1357m). You go to the Alpe Oltu (1847m, cable car station, 1,5 h) and furth in the Valle d'Olen up. You go along the Sasso del Diavolo and reach almost Colle d'Olen, wher you turn right to the Vigevano-hut (3 h). You go further along Passo Salati (2936m) to the ridge-crest and traverse Stolemberg. Over the side of the Indrenglacier, you reach the station (1 1/4 h, totally 6 h).

You reach the Gnifetti hut also from Gressoney in 6-7 h (1800hm). The lower part is a marked way (no. 6). Lift to Alpe Gabiet (1270 hm, 4,5 h). In the upper part: easy glacier walk.

You reach Alagna Valsesia by car on the road no. E62 from Brig via Simplonpass. You turn off at Ornavasso (near the Lago Maggiore) and follow the small route to the S via Omegna. Here turn right and drive along the western side of the Lago d. Orta to Borgosésia. In Borgosésia you take the road to the N an reach Alagna via Varallo and Scopello.

When To Climb

The best period to climb this peak is July (a small presence of crevasses) but generally from June to the beginning of September. Looking for reaching the peak in other seasons is quite dangerous nad possible only by skies. It's necessary absolutely to use the crampons and the ice-axe during the summer. It's also recommended to climb on the rope (presence of crevasses on the path).

starting from Val Sesia : rif. Barba-Ferrero - canalone Sesia and SW ridge - (Motta-Gugliermina-Schiavi 1898) - D+ - SE wall - (Chiara-Guglielminetti 1906 + variants) - 700 m - D+
starting from Val Sesia : rif. Resegotti (3624m) - E ridge : cresta Signal - (Supersaxo-Topham 1887) - 800 m - D - a wonderful classic climb (could be compared to Cresta del Leone to Matterhorn, but without ropes)
starting from Valle Anzasca (Macugnaga) - rif. Zamboni-Zappa (2065m) - NE wall left spur - (Devies-Lagarde 1931) - 2500 m - ED - one ot the most himalayan routes of the alps - NE wall right spur - (Zurbriggen-Pisoni 1933) - 2500 m - ?? - maybe impossible now after the big ice-rock fall

Mountain Conditions


Tourist office +39-0163-922988
- Club Alpine Varallo +39-0163-51530
- Monterosaski +39-0163-91363
- Alpin guide Alagna +39-0163-913101
Zermatt (CH) and Alagna Valsesia (I)


Alpenverein and Swiss Meteo Phone from abroad: ++411162

  • 1:25000 no. 1348 Zermatt

  • 1:50000 no. 5006 Matterhorn-Mischabel

  • 1:50000 no. 284 Mischabel

  • 1:50000 no. 294 Gressoney

  • Hermann Biner, Hochtouren im Wallis. Vom Trient zum Nufenenpass. 2nd ed. 1996. ISBN 3-859022-160-5
  • Helmut Dumler/Willi P. Burkhardt, Viertausender der Alpen. 11th ed. Munich 1998. ISBN 3-7633-7427-2
  • Michel Vaucher, Walliser Alpen. Die 100 schönsten Touren. 2nd ed. Munich 1990. ISBN 3-7654-2124-3
  • Michael Waeber, Walliser Alpen. DAV-Gebietsführer. 12th ed. Munich 1999. ISBN 3-7633-2416-X

Alpin Guides Alagna Valsesia: number +39-0163-91310.


Monte Rosa Hutte (2795m): The Monte-Rosa-Hütte is situated northwestern of the Monte Rosa at the west side of the Plattje above the Grenzglacier.
- 170 beds - run from middle March till middle September - winter room with 12 beds always open - phone: ++41(0)27/9672115 - hut often very full! - internet: Monte-Rosa-Hütte or www.vs-wallis.ch

Ref. Mantova (3470 meters): +39-0163-78150

Ref. Gnifetti (3647 m):
The Rif. Gnifetti is situated on a rockspur between the Lysglacier and the Garsteletglacier.
(according to Dumler) - 277 beds - winter room with 15 beds (blankets and kitchenware) - serviced from middle april till middle september - phone: ++39/016378015 - internet: www.vs-wallis.ch

On the Signalkuppe is situated the highest refuge in Europe, the Capanna Regina Margherita in which is possible to sleep but ONLY after a acclamatization in a refuge at about 3000 m.; this one to accustom oneself to altitude! During July and August a lot of alpinists leave to arrive on this peak, the most frequented among the peaks of the region for its easy route.

About the photos of all the Monte Rosa peaks, look the site Monte Rosa 4000

The nearest campings are situated in Riva Valdobba: - camping Alagna (+39-0163-9121) - camping Pastore (+39-0163-91220)

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 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

parete Sud-Est del Monte Rosa
Valsesia  & Monte Rosa
If you plan on climbing Signalkuppe 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 including Signalkuppe. 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 (Valsesia) 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 Valsesia: Click Here

How to get to Gressoney: Click Here

Mountain Huts

There are several mountain huts surrounding Signalkuppe. The Monte Rosa hut is the only Hut located on Swiss terrain. It is possible to climb Signalkuppe from the Monte Rosa Hut via the Grenz glacier. However, most people choose to climb Dufourspitze from the Monte Rosa Hut. From the Italian side of the mountain the Gnifetti and Mantova Huts are often used as a base for climbing Signalkuppe. The advantage of the Gnifetti Hut is the higher altitude and better location (closer to the mountain). These two huts are mostly used as a base for climbing Signalkuppe. The last hut is the famous Capanna Regina Margherita, the highest mountain hut in Europe at 4554 meters, situated on top of Signalkuppe. Many climbers choose to spend the night here and traverse Zumsteinspitze and Dufourspitze on the next day 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

When to climb

Climbing the Signal ridge on...
Climbing the Signal ridge
The best period to climb Signalkuppe is in the summer months: July, August, September.


There are several books describing one or more climbing routes on Signalkuppe. 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 Signalkuppe. 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 Signalkuppe 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 Signalkuppe. However, the only map on a 1:25.000 scale that covers all routes on Signalkuppe is the Italian Instituto Geografico Centrale (IGC) "109 Monte Rosa Alagna Valsesia Macugnaga Gressoney" map. For climbing Signalkuppe (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