The Egginer is a fantastic rock peak above the mountain resort of Saas Fee, which is connected to the Mittaghorn
via its NNE Ridge. The mountain is perfectly suited for acclimatization and training, since it can be reached in only 20 min from either the Felskinn station of the Metro Alpin (cable car) or from the Brittania Hut. Additionally, it can be climbed when the weather is less than ideal and the higher peaks are engulfed in cloud. The mountain is also interesting in that there is no easy way to the summit, the standard route being via the SSW Ridge
(AD+, 390m of rock climbing with pitches of UIAA III+ and IV). Descent is also problematic, requiring either a traverse to the Mittaghorn over the NNE Ridge (III and III+) or a tedious escape down steep moraine slopes. The normal route (SSW Ridge) can be climbed in about 3 hours from the Egginerjoch (the low point midway between Felskinn and the Brittania Hut). However, there are many variations to the route which go at V and V+ and it is not always easy to identify the preferred route. Additionally, it is tempting to stray too far out onto the SW Face early in the route which goes easily at first but creates problems higher up. Thus, parties unfamiliar with the route may take substantially longer than 3 hours. The various routes on the Egginer are summarized below and are described in the Alpine Club guidebook by Swindin and Fleming. For specific details regarding the SSW Ridge and the various descent options see the SSW Ridge route page
1) SSW Ridge (AD+, 3 hrs or longer)
-- Sustained rock climbing at UIAA III with sections of IV. The climb involves 390m of elevation gain from the Egginerjoch, with the primary difficulties found in the climb to Point 3,242m.
2) SW Face of Pt 3,242m (TD, at least 7 hrs)
-- Intricate and difficult rock climbing on a steep face with the difficulty seldom less than UIAA IV. Many pitches of V and V+ and some of VI, with short sections of aid (two sections of A2, 35m and 20m). The start of the route is marked by a large red E on the rock.
3) NNE Ridge (AD, 2-3 hrs on the ridge)
-- Rock climbing with short sections of UIAA III+ along the ridge leading to the Mittaghorn
. There are several gendarmes along the ridge which can be traversed or turned. For those desiring to climb both peaks in a single outing, it is probably best to climb the Egginer first by the SSW Ridge, traverse to the Mittaghorn via this route, and then descend easily from the Mittaghorn by its East Flank. A traverse in the reverse direction is more problematic, since descent is easiest from the Mittaghorn.
4) NNW Flank of Pt 3,242m (PD, 1.5 hrs to descend)
-- Recommended only as a means of descent in that the route is tedious and uninteresting, descending steeply over the Egginer glacier and its very loose moraine slopes. The midstation of the Metro Alpin at Maste 4 is reached after about 500m of descent. Details are given on the SSW Ridge
5) NNW Flank of NNE Ridge (F, 2.5 hrs to the trail at 2,332m and then 1.5 hrs more to Saas Fee)
-- A descent route requiring a partial traverse to the Mittaghorn via the NNE Ridge with a rappel down a chimney and then a descent over the Ritz glacier and its moraine slopes to intersect the approach trail for the Mittaghorn NE Ridge
. The descent involves 700m to reach the main trail leading to Saas Fee and then a further 800m on this trail. Details are given on the SSW Ridge
page. Early in the day, it is probably best to continue to the Mittaghorn and then descend its East Flank
to the Plattjen cable car.
The Egginer is approached from the resort town of Saas Fee, which can be reached easily by train and then Postbus from any of the major Swiss airports (or others for that matter). Travel initially by train to Visp or Brig and then switch to the Postbus heading to Saas Fee via Stalden and Saas Grund. It is also possible to drive to Saas Fee, although cars must be left in the large garage complex at the north end of town.
Once in town, the cable car to Felskinn (Metro Alpin) can be reached easily by walking to the south end of town (passing the church), and eventually turning left to cross the glacial torrent rushing down from the Allalinhorn and Alphubel. After crossing the bridge, turn immediately left and walk downhill amongst several hotels to arrive at the Metro Alpin.
There are no fees required to climb the Egginer. Note though that the cable cars operate under different schedules depending on the season, so it is necessary to plan ahead to avoid missing the last cable car back to Saas Fee or Felskinn in the afternoon (when descending to either Maste 4 or Plattjen). During the summer, the Metro Alpin stops running at 4:15PM.
When To Climb
The best time for climbing is in the summer months (mid June through late September). It is possible to climb at anytime though, albeit with potentially large quantities of snow on the rocks.
Camping and Lodging
There is camping available in Saas Grund at Camping Kapellenweg
. Additionally, the Brittania Hut (+41 027 957 22 88) is well situated to allow climbs on the Egginer, as well as the Mittaghorn
, Rimpfischorn, Allalinhorn, and Strahlhorn. For those desiring to stay in Saas Fee, I recommend the Touristenlager (dormitory) at Hotel Imseng
, located just south of the church and close to the cable cars. For $20 per night, you get a comfortable bed in the basement (near the bakery museum) and quite a nice breakfast (served from 7-11AM).
Weather information and web cams for Saas Fee are available at:
The Mountain Guides' office can also provide up to date information on weather and conditions and can be reached at:
+41 (0)27 957 44 64