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Weissmies

  Featured on the Front Page
Weissmies

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Valais, Switzerland, Europe

Lat/Lon: 46.12773°N / 8.01202°E

Object Title: Weissmies

Activities: Mountaineering

Season: Summer

Elevation: 13179 ft / 4017 m

 

Page By: om, Lodewijk

Created/Edited: Mar 23, 2001 / May 2, 2017

Object ID: 150231

Hits: 52670 

Page Score: 95.33%  - 53 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Overview

Cold Weissmies
Climbers approaching the summit of Weissmies by MammoetMenno


Weissmies is a prominent mountain surrounding the famous Saas valley in Wallis, Switzerland. Weissmies is one of the 82 mountains above 4000 meters (UIAA-list)in the Alps and therefore a (very) popular objective for climbers. “Mies” is a local dialect for the German word “moos” which translates into “moss”. So the name “Weissmies” literally means “white moss”, which refers the glaciated summit of the mountain, resembling a white moss-like cover. Weissmies is considered an “easy” 4000 meter peak, since the normal route to the summit is graded PD. The relative ease of the ascent  adds to the popularity of this grand mountain. The mountain was first climbed in 1855 by Jacob Christian Häuser en Peter Josef Zurbriggen.

Weissmies has a prominence of 1186 meters (Mondellipass) and an isolation of 11km with the nearest higher neighbor being Lenzspitze (4294m), part of the Mischabel chain. The elevation of Weissmies used to be 4023 meters. Due to global warming, the elevation of the snowcapped summit has somewhat decreased to 4017 meters, which is at present time, the widely accepted altitude of Weissmies. Lots of older topographic maps and books still state 4023 meters as altitude though.

Weissmies 4017m
NW Face

Weissmies east side. North...
East Face

Weissmies From Britannia-Hütte
South Face

Weissmies is located in the very eastern part of the Swiss Kanton Wallis, near the border with Italy. The mountain is part of the Weissmies Group and is also the highest mountain of the group, shortly followed by Lagginhorn (4010m), the only other 4000 meter peak in the group. The third main mountain in the Weissmies Group is Fletschhorn,with 3993m, falling just short of the magical 4000m barrier.

Directly north of Weissmies rises Lagginhorn, separated from Weissmies by the Lagginjoch(3499m). To the south of Weissmies is Pizzo d’Andolla/ Portjengrat (3654m), situated on the border with Italy and separated from Weissmies by the Zwischbergenpass (3268m). The Weissmies Group is 12 km long, 8 km wide and has a North-South orientation. It also is the easternmost mountain group of the Pennine Alps and Walliser kanton.

Descending Weissmies
Triftgrat near the summit

Weissmies climb
Summit ridge

Weissmies, Switzerland 2009
Summit ridge

To the east Weissmies is bordered by the Simplon Pass (2000m) and Gondo Valley, including the villages named Simplon (1472m) and Gondo (855m). To the west the mountain is bordered by the Saas Valley, including the villages Saas Balen (1483m), Saas Grund (1559m), Saas Fee (1803m) and Saas Almagell (1673m). The northeast side of Weissmies is covered by the Weissmies glacier, the southeast side by the Rottalglacier and the west side by the Trift- & Mellig glacier.

Weismies has several routes up to its summit. The route along the NW-flank of the mountain (over the Trift glacier) is considered the normal route up the mountain. This route is also the most climbed one: The vicinity of the Hohsaas cableway, which takes climbers up to  3100 meters and allows them to climb Weissmies in a single day, is one of the main reasons for it. The route is also often climbed by starting from the Weissmiesshütten (2724m) or the Hohsaas Bergrestaurant/Hütte (3200m). This route is graded PD. Another popular route is along the SE-ridge from the Almageller Hut (2894m). This route is also graded PD but involves much more rock Climbing (up to UIAA grade II) compared to the normal route, which is almost fully on glaciated terrain. A traverse combining both routes is also a popular objective for climbers. Other routes on the mountain are the SW-ridge, the North ridge  and the difficult East Face.

Weissmies in the early...
North Face

Sunrise on Weissmies (steep...
East Face

Weissmies
West Face

Weissmies offers tremendous views from its summit. It is the easternmost 4000 meter peak in the Walliser kanton and as result summit views in an eastern direction are near endless. The only other 4000 meter peak in that direction, Piz Bernina, is more than 100km away, so basically everything is lower in elevation when standing on top of Weissmies. To the north you can see Lagginhorn (4010m) and to the west the Mischabel chain with Taschhorn (4491m), Dom (4545m), Nadelhorn and co. and of course Saas Fee below in the valley. Towards the south you can see Allalinhorn (4027m), Strahlhorn (4190m), the Mattmark Reservoir and the sharp Pizzo d’Andolla / Portjengrat (3654m).

Routes

A group mountain climbers...
Climbers approaching the summit
There are several routes up to the summit of Weissmies. This section gives a short description of the main routes on Weissmies. All sections provide a link to the route pages on SP (when available). All difficulties are based on regular conditions (experienced mountaineer, good weather, no icy conditions!) as given in the guide. Note that when conditions are sub-optimal the difficulties can increase substantially.

I NW- Flank (Normal Route)

Through the crevasses
The route along the Northwest flank of Weissmies is considered the normal route on the mountain. The vicinity of the Hohsaas cableway allows climbers to climb Weissmies along this route in a single day. Taking the first lift up to Hohsaas and climbing the mountain in a day comes at a price though. There is a need to hurry up, especially in the summer months: in the afternoon the hard firn melts to become soft snow, and preferably climbers want to be back down from the glacier before that happens. Even so, this long day tour is immensely popular. In the summer months the route can get pretty crowded as a result. Many guides take up clients along this route from Hohsaas and back down on the same day. A preferable alternative is to spend the night in one of the mountain huts (Weissmies Hut or Hohsaas Hut) and make an early start.

The normal route is graded PD and is a "walk" over glaciated terrain. No rock climbing is involved in this route. Even though there are no technical difficulties along the route, the snow flank is quite steep: at some points up to 40º. The biggest danger though, is the presence of crevasses. The Trift glacier is filled with huge crevasses, so watch out fot this. Also, because of global warming the route tends to change a bit from season to season because of the shifting ice mass. In some years large ladders were put in place to be able to cross the large crevasses, but in other years this was not neccessary. Be sure to check the present conditions before making an attempt! A final reccommendation is to make a traverse of the mountain. Take the SE-ridge route up (see below) and descend along the normal route. This is a fine traverse including both rock and snow, but relatively easy: PD (UIAA II)

For more information about this route see the SP Page by members Fred Spicker and Moni.

II SE-ridge

Me Climbing on the SE Ridge of Weissmies with the sharp Portjengrat behind
The route along the SE-ridge is the nicest of the easier routes on Weissmies. It is also referred to as the old normal route.  It is less crowded compared to the normal route and offers a more diverse climb. The normal route goes fully over glaciated terrain, but the SE-ridge is for the larger part a climb on rock. The SE-ridge offers some fine rock climbing but is never really difficult. The larger part consists of climbing in the first grade (UIAA I to I+) with a couple of passages in grade two (UIAA II). After climbing the SE-ridge one has to cross over the foresummit of Weissmies to the main summit, this involves the crossing of a narrow snow ridge. This airy, but easy passage is probably the most photgraphed spot on the mountain. The routes overall gradation is PD (UIAA II).

Unlike the normal route there are no lift facilities to use here. Climbing the SE-ridge involves ascending every single vertical meter from the valley floor starting in Saas Almagell. The trail goes up through the Almageller valley up to the scenic Almageller Hut at 2894m. From here the route goes up to the saddle named Zwischbergenpass und further up onto the SE-ridge. Most climbers make a traverse of the mountain, which means descending from the summit along the normal route. This traverse is one of the finest easier routes in a 4000m mountain in the Alps.


For more information about this route see the SP Page by member LeslieH.
For more information about the traverse route see the SP Page by member jsurinx.

III North Ridge

Weissmies
The North ridge on Weissmies is a classic route, but not an easy one. The route is graded AD+ and involves climbing up to the fourth grade (UIAA IV). As starting point for the route the Weissmies Hut is often used. It is also possible to start fom Hohsaas. From either one on the mountain huts the first destination is the Lagginjoch at almost 3500 meters. This pass separates Weissmies from Lagginhorn (4010m). At this point the North ridge is reached, which you follow al the way to the summit of Weissmies. The rock is of medium quality. Up to 3830 m there is generally no ice, but often snow. After a short descent you will reach a snow or ice ridge, that is narrow and demands the biggest concentration. Follow the snow ridge to the top. From the Weissmies hut the route takes about  6 to 7 hours.

For more information about this route see the SP Page by member alpenkalb.

IV SW-ridge

Route: Triftgrat (SW Ridge)...
The route along the SW-ridge (also named Triftgrat) starts from the Almageller Hut just like the route on the SE-ridge. This route is much less frequently visited though, since most people ascend the SE-ridge when starting from the Almageller Hut. This route is also somewhat more difficult. The route is graded PD+ and involves climbing up to the third grade (UIAA III). Above 3800 meters on the SW-ridge the route joins with the normal route and goes over easy snow, further along the Triftgrat, to the summit of Weissmies.

For more information about this route see the SP Page by member pdou

V Other routes

Weissmies (4017m) from the summit of Lagginhorn (4010m)
Weissmies (4017m) from the summit of Lagginhorn (4010m)
- NE-couloir (TD)
- NW-Wall (IV, 90º)
- East Wall (multiple routes, seldomly ascended)

Climbing History

Weissmies
Weissmies in the year 1900
Weissmies was first climbed in August of 1855 by Peter Joseph Zurbriggen fromWallis and Jakob Christian Heusser from Zurich. Zurbriggen was a notary by profession. The local community, especially the local mountain guides, were certainly not pleased to hear a notary and an outsider from Zurich where the first ones to summit this important mountain. Many people had doubts about their claim to be the first ones toc limb Weissmies. As a result a group of local climbers decided to follow their footsteps up to the Almageller Alp and further up to the summit only to find out Zurbriggen and Heusser indeed reached the summit because of their footprints being present all the way up to the summit.

A decade later the first successful climb on the eastern side of the mountain was made. On August 1, 1876 the Americans E.P.Jackson and J.A. Peebles,together with their guides Peter Schlegel, Ulrich Rubi and Jean Martin, made a successful ascent through Weissmiess’  dangerous (brittle rock, falling ice) East wall.

A memorable first ascent was made by Claude and Herbert Wilson together with their guides Aloys Burgener and Jospeh Furrer. On August 7, 1882 they reached the SW-ridge after climbing the 500 meter high south wall of Weissmies.

The north ridge was first climbed by Johan Peter Zurbriggen on August25, 1884 and last but not least, over a century later, the Germans Jurgen Straub and Hans Rothwangl climbed the “ViaAndrea”, a route through the 680 meter high NW-wall.

Getting there

Saas Grund
Saas Grund
The starting point for most routes on Weissmies is the Saas valley. Starting point for the normal route and North ridge is Saas Grund. Also, from Saas Grund starts the Hohsaas cableway as well as the trails to the Weissmies Hut and Hohsaas Hut. The "next" village in the valley is Saas Almagel. From here a marked trail starts to the Almageller Hut, starting point for the routes along the SE- and SW-face.
The links below provide information about the Hohsaas cabelway and about how to get to Saas Grund and Saas Almagel. Also see the section ''Mountain Huts'' for more information about the Huts surrounding Weissmies and how to get to them from the Saas valley.

How to get to Saas- (Fee, Grund, Almagell): Click Here

Timetable Cableways:Click Here

Lift Prices: Click Here

When to climb

Me @ the summit of Weissmies (4023m)
On the Summit with the Mischabel chain behind
Weissmies is climbed mostly during the summer months: July, August, September. Especially on the normal route, it can get quite busy during the summer months. The normal route is also climbed with skis during the winter season.

Red Tape

Weissmies, Mid-August 2005....
Weissmies South Face in summer
There is no red tape. No permits required, no closures.
Technical equipment: rope, harness, ice axe, crampons

Mountain Huts

There are several mountain huts surrounding Weissmies. The Weissmieshütten are located to the west of Weissmies high above the Saas valley. They are easily reached from Saas Grund by using the cableway system up to either Kreuzboden or Hohsaas. The Weissmieshütten are situated at the base of the normal route up to Weissmies along the Trift glacier (NW-flank). Also ascents of the North ridge can be done from here. An alternative for the Weissmieshütten is the Hohsaas Hut (also referred to as Bergrestaurant Hohsaas). This mountain hut is less cosy and doens't have the typical mountain hut "feeling" like the Weissmieshütten, but it is closer to the summit (and at an higher elevation) and therefore a good alternative. The Almagellerhütte is located to the south of Weissmies and is the base for climbing the mountain along the SE-ridge (via Zwischbergenpass) as well as the SW-ridge / Triftgrat. 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.

Hut                           
Elevation
Telephone           
SP-link
Photo
Weissmies Hütten   
2726m
+49 27 957 25 54
Here     
View from the Weissmies Hut towards the Mischabel Group

Almageller Hütte
2894m
+41 27 957 11 79
Here
Almageller Hut (2894m)

Hohsaas Hütte
3101m
+41 78 789 07 87
/
Lagginhorn 4010m

Books

There are several books describing one or more climbing routes on Weissmies. 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 Weissmies. 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 Weissmies 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.

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Publisher
Name
Author
Year (last Print) 
ISBN / EAN
Rother Verlag
Hochtouren Westalpen Band I
Wolfgang Pusch
2015
9783763330287
Rother Verlag
Viertausender der Alpen
Helmut Dumler
2014
9783763374311
Rother Verlag
The High mountains of the Alps
Helmut Dumler
1994
9780898863789
Idea Montagna
4000m peaks of the Alps
Marco Romelli
2015
9788897299585
Rother Verlag
Walliser Alpen Skitourenfuhrer
Daniel Haussinger
2012
9783763359301
Topo Verlag
Walliser Alpen
Daniel Silbernagel
2016
9783033024311
Bruckmann Verlag
4000er Tourenfuhrer
Richard Goedeke
2015
9783765457616


Maps

There are several maps for climbing Weissmies. However, the only map on a 1:25.000 scale is the Swisstopo map ''1329 Saas". For climbing Weissmies I would recommend this map. Another map covering the area is the Kummerley & Frey map "Zermatt Saas Fee". This map covers a large area incluing Weissmies but the downside is the 1:60.000 scale. The third map covering the area is the Kompass Map "Zermatt Saas Fee''. This map has a 1:50.000 scale and also covers the whole Saas & Zermatt area including Weissmies.  

Schweizer Landeskarte 1329: Saas

Kummerley & Frey

Kompass Zermatt Saas Fee

Type
Name
Scale
ISBN / EAN
Additional Info.
SchweizerLandeskarte
1329 Saas
1:25.000
9783302013299
Covers the entire area
Kummerley & Frey
24 Zermatt Saas Fee
1:60.000
9783259022245
Covers the entire area
Kompass Map117 Zermatt Saas Fee 1:50.0009783850269261 Covers the entire area


Campings & Hotels

Saas Fee, Switzerland
Saas Fee
Camping
In the Saas valley there are 3 good options for camping. Camping Mischabel, Camping am Kapellenweg and camping Schonblick. All three are located in the vicinity of Saas Grund in the Saas valley.

Hotels

External Links

Weissmies
Weissmies summit ridge
Weissmies
 at www.4000er.de Images, routes, coordinates and more information about the highest peaks of the Alps
Weissmies at Camptocamp Description of all major routes on Allalinhorn; Partly in English, mostly French

Mountain Guides for Climbing Weissmies: Saas Fee Guides in Saas Fee, Active Dreams Weissmies in Saas Grund.
Webcam Weissmies by Bergfex
Webcam Hohsaas by Bergfex  (from Langfluh)
Weather Forecast by mountain-forecast.com

Weather

Weissmies Panorama

Enlarge
 Panorama from the normal route on Lagginhorn  towards Weissmies (left) and the Mischabel Chain (4545m)

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
Viewing: 1-3 of 3    
Erik SaltersUntitled Comment

Hasn't voted

Just before we climbed it in july 2003, large crevasses developed in the middle section of the route. It requires some nice, not to difficult steps. Some ice screws are adviseable. An unsecurred 60 foot ladder has been placed to overcome an overhanging icewall. Add about 30 minutes to 1 hour in your route planning when you have a pre 2003 route description.
Posted Jul 1, 2004 7:19 am
GarfieldUntitled Comment

Hasn't voted

Photo
Posted Dec 12, 2005 8:39 am
MauntainfreakPhoto from Peak

Hasn't voted

This photo was taken from a plane. (click it to enlarge):





Click to enlarge

Posted Jan 7, 2016 4:32 pm

Viewing: 1-3 of 3    

Images