Breithorn Normal Route

Breithorn Normal Route

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 45.93407°N / 7.72823°E
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: F+
Sign the Climber's Log


The normal route on Breithorn is one of the easiest routes on a 4000 meter peak in the Alps. The only other contender for this title is the normal route on Allalinhorn  which is just as easy; both are graded Facile (F). Because of the Klein Matterhorn cableway, which drops climbers and skiers off at an altitude of over 3800 meters, Breithorn can be climbed in about 1,5 to 2 hours. Due to these facts the normal route on Breithorn is one of the most populated of all 4000 meter peaks as well. Being alone on the route is something that is seldom encountered here. Many guided day tours go up and down this route for the people seeking for their first 4000-meter experience. As a result you will see many unexperienced people being guided up.

Climbers ascending Breithorn Central (13648 ft / 4160 m) View from Breithorn towards Breithorn Central
Mattervalley with Weisshorn (14783 ft / 4506 m) and Dom (4545m) Summit view: Mattervalley with Weisshorn and Dom

The normal route may be easy, but the views from the summit are very rewarding. You can see the whole Monte Rosa Group with all its 4000+ meter summits, but you can look down towards Zermatt and the Mattertal as well. Last but not least the views towards Matterhorn, Dent Blanche and Weisshorn are impressive as well.

Breithorn was first climbed in in 1813 by Henry Maynard, Joseph-Marie Couttet, Jean Gras, Jean-Baptiste Erin and Jean-Jacques Erin. Most people descend the same way back along the normal route. An alternative is to make the traverse of all 5 Breithorn summits, but it is also an option to traverse only  the main summit and go down again, which is a variation to the standard route.

Route Description

The normal route starts at the top station of the Klein Matterhorn cableway. See the section ''How to get there'' for more information about how to get to Klein Matterhorn. Once you are being dropped off at an impressive altitude of 3884 meters you will enter the glacier skiing area of Zermatt. From the Klein Matterhorn starts a small towing-lift that goes up Gobba di Rollin at 3899m (this is the highest ski facility in the Alps). Follow the direction of this lift up for about 200 meters. Then cross the path of the ski-lift in the direction of Breithorn. The Breithorn is looming above you at any time. You now leave the Zermatt glacier ski area. Follow the tracks over the Breithorn Plateau to the base of Breithorn. This part of the route is more or less flat and crosses the Breithorn Plateau. Once you have reached the base of the mountain the trail starts gaining in elevation. Tracks are present almost any time of year, but in the summer period this is a certainty.

The other option for Climbing Breithorn is to start your ascent from Testa Grigia/Plateau Rosa at 3480 meters. A cableway brings you up here from the Italian side (the village of Breuil- Cervinia). Head towards the east, over the Plateau Rosa, in the direction of Klein Matterhorn. Once you have reached the Gobba di Rollin lift, the route is as described above. See the section ''How to get there'' for more information about to get to Testa Grigia/Breuil Cervinia.

Starting the route Starting the route
Follow the masses Follow the masses/tracks
View from the Breithorn Plateau View from the Breithorn Plateau

The trail zigzags up the South Face. At its steepest part the angle is about 35 degrees. No real difficulties here. After going up the West Face you will eventually reach the summit ridge of Breithorn. At this point you will have your first views in the direction of Zermatt.  Follow the summit ridge and after a few minutes you will find yourself on top of Breithorn at 4167 meters above sea level. Although the views are amazing, you will probably not be alone here. Descent is the same way back.

An alternative is to cross the summit ridge towards the East and traverse Breithorns main summit and go down again towards the Breithorn Plateau and return to Klein Matterhorn. This variation is easy as well, alpine F. Other options are a traverse of the 5 Breithorn summits, which is a classic alpine tour, but much more demanding compared to the normal route on its own. A last suggestion is to climb Breithorn Central (4154m) along with the main Breithorn summit. This will take about 30 minutes more, but on Breithorn Central the chance of being alone on the mountain is much, much greater. After summitting Breithorn Central go down to Klein Matterhorn or for those doing a Monte Rosa Round tour go down to the Rifugio Val D’Ayaz or one of the other refuges in the area.

Normal route Along the Normal route
On the summit ridge of Breithorn (4167m) On the summit ridge of Breithorn (4167m)
Castor as seen from Breithorn Castor as seen from Breithorn Normal Route

How to get there

Klein Matterhorn Top station Klein Matterhorn Top station: Starting Point

Klein Matterhorn - Zermatt The starting point for Climbing Breithorn along the normal route is the top station of Klein Matterhorn at 3882 meters. For more information about Klein Matterhorn see the links below.

How to get to Zermatt: Click Here

Timetable cableways (including Klein Matterhorn): Click Here

Liftprices : Click Here

Klein Matterhorn on Summitpost: Click Here
Testa Grigia - Breuil-Cervinia
The other starting point (from the Italian side) for Climbing Breithorn along the normal route is the top station of Testa Grigia. For more information about Testa Grigia and how to get there see the links below. Testa Gigia is reached from the villige Breuil-Cervinia.

How to get to Breuil-Cervinia: Click Here

Timetable and Info. cableways: Click Here




Essential Gear

The gear needed:  full glacier equipment (rope, crampons, ice axe)



4000er Tourenfuhrer 4000er Tourenfuhrer
4000er Tourenfuhrer - Richard Goedeke
The Normal routes to all 4000 meter peaks of the Alps
ISBN: 978-3-7654-5761-6
Bruckmann Verlag (

External Links

For guided Tours: Click Here
Zermatt Tourist information : Click Here
Breithorn at Click Here



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.