Few people outside Switzerland know Doldenhorn, since it is not 4000 m high, nor has it the deadly prestige of an Eiger or Matterhorn. It is neither located near Zermatt or St. Moritz and it is overtowered by the neighbouring Blüemlisalp. But it has merits that few other mountains have: a difficult south-west face for rock climbers of over 1000m, a difficult east ridge with rocks to start and ice to finish reminding of the Mittellegigrat, a popular north-east ridge from the Fründen hut (Galletgrat), a rival of the Biancograt, a challenging ice wall on the north side and a ski trip that you will never forget. Doldenhorn is certainly not an easy mountain and all ascents take at least 5 hours and longer. Only for experienced mountaineers!
Starting point is Kandersteg (1200m), a small town to be reached by the Lötschberg railroad (Berne - Milan) or by car, but with a road only from north. Kandersteg is a quiet and not too expensive holiday resort where you can hire a guide or just have easy hikes to several mountain lakes and to half a dozen different huts of the Swiss Alpine Club. In spring it is the starting point for very steep and exciting ski mountains, all over 3000 m (Morgenhorn, Rinderhorn, Altels, Balmhorn and of course Doldenhorn). Wildstrubel is one of the easier targets.
1. Summer (east ridge and Gallet ridge): Take the cable car to a place above the Oeschinensee, go down to the southern shore of the lake (1522 m) and take the lofty walk above the dark green lake to the Fründen hut (2562 m, 90 persons). Food available in July and August. 3-4 hours.
An easy walk from the Fründen hut leads to the Fründenjoch (2983 m), a saddle between Fründenhorn and Doldenhorn . Avoid the crevasses by keeping to the east side. Now you follow the east ridge, which asks for difficult rock climbing before you reach point 3484 m. From there you change to a beautiful ridge consisting of snow or ice right to the top. 8-10 hours. Rock and ice equipment.
Point 3484 can be reached directly and more easily on the very popular and recommended Gallet ridge. See that route.
2. Normal route, by ski or foot.
From Kandersteg (1200m) climb the Doldenhorn hut (1915 m, 43 persons). You might cook your own meal. Be sure that the lower third is free of snow, because rocks and forest are not inviting for skis. 3 hours.
Climb the slope behind the Doldenhorn hut, leave the Spitzstein (2827m) to your left (east) by climbing a very steep couloir. You might carry the skis on your back and put crampons on, since the evening sun lets the snow melt and on a cold morning you will find pure ice. Afterwards you will find a flatter piece of glacier and cross several crevasses and head to the saddle between the Klein and Gross Doldenhorn. The last part of the west ridge is done without skis.
Skiing down is usually not such a problem as you might think when you climb it in the morning. The ice is usually gone by noon and a wonderful spring snow invites you on the same way down.
Crampons, ax, rope. 6 hours.
The summer route
uses a trail from the Doldenhorn hut which is slightly east of the ski route and touches the Spitzstein (2827 m) on its western flank, so you will not be bothered by the steep couloir.
Beyond the the tower Spitzstein summer and winter routes are more or less identical.
Red Tape + Literature
Mountains in Europe are free of charge. We have enough taxes, there is no demand for more.
Guide for Doldenhorn: BE 2 (German or French)
Map Nr. 5004 Berner Oberland 1:50'000
Map Nr. 264 Ski Jungfrau 1:50'000
Map Nr. 1248 Mürren 1:25'000
When To ClimbGalletridge and east ridge:
summer only (July, August), the climb to the Fründen hut is not possible in winter.
Normal route with ski:
we met excellent conditions beginning of May. March to May seems possible.
Normal route without ski:
June to October.
(contributed by Ulli)
GPS Swissgrid: 619.870/148.430
SAC Clubhütte,43 Places
Telephone on Hut: 033 675 16 60
Information & Reservation:
Toni Schärer, Wildibühl, 3718 Kandersteg,
033 675 17 25 / 079 356 43 69
GPS Swissgrid: 623.280/148.080
SAC Clubhütte,90 Places
Telephone on Hut: 033 675 14 33 (Tel.+Fax)
Information & Reservation:
Fritz Loretan, Hüttenwart, 3718 Kandersteg,
033 675 18 38 / 033 675 18 02 /
079 603 94 89 / 033 675 18 02
Camping site in Kandersteg .
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External LinksMunter, Berner Alpen
Werner and Margrit Munter: Berner Alpen. Gebietsführer für Wanderer, Bergsteiger und Kletterer. 10th ed. Munich 1995. Content: Route-descriptions of the Normalroute from NW, Gallet-ridge, E-ridge, Northface, S-ridge.