In the center of the Pennine Alps in Switzerland, between the Valleys of Matter and Saas, rises the mighty Mischabel Group. With 11 peaks above 4000m including the Dom, which is the highest mountain entirely on Suisse territory, the Mischabel Group is a popular target for alpine climbers. Most of the peaks are predominantly snow covered with the rocks showing through on the ridges. Although the rock quality isn't what we are used to when, for example, climbing in the Chamonix area, there are great rock climbs in all difficulties. One will also find interesting ice and mixed routes.
As mentioned above, the Mischabel Group is very popular, especially in high season (July and August). However, most people are climbing the easy routes in the area, both in effort and technical difficulties. Choose an alternative route instead and one will find the peace and tranquillity which makes us come to the mountains. Allalin's normal route, for example, or even the more demanding Hohlaubgrat are often very crowded. The NE Ridge however never sees a lot of traffic and to my opinion, although quite short, it's even the most rewarding way to climb the Allalinhorn. One can also try to climb on a lower or more remote peak. I can guarantee that one will be nearly alone when climbing the Balfrin, the Gross Bigerhorn or the Egginer. Anyway, no matter which peak one will climb in the Mischabel Group, the summit views on all peaks here in the center of Valais are overwhelming. Enjoy them...
- Britanniahütte SAC - 3030m - 134 places - Phone: 0041 (0)27 957 22 88
Climbs: Fluchthorn, Strahlhorn, Rimpfischhorn, Allalinhorn, Egginer, Mittaghorn
- Längfluh Hotel - 2870m - 130 places - Phone: 0041 (0)27 987 21 32
Climbs: Allalinhorn, Feechopf, Alphubel
- Mischabeljoch Bivouac - 3329m - 24 places
Climbs: Alphubel, Täschhorn, Dom
- Mischabelhütte AAC - 3329m - 130 places - Phone: 0041 (0)27 957 13 17
Climbs: Lenzspitze, Nadelhorn, Nadelgrat, Ullrichshorn, Balfrin - Bigerhorn Traverse
- Bordierhütte SAC - 2886m - 56 places - Phone: 0041 (0)27 956 19 09
Climbs: Nadelgrat, Ullrichshorn, Balfrin - Bigerhorn Traverse
- Europahütte - 2220m - 42 places - Phone: 0041 (0)27 967 82 47
- Domhütte SAC - 2940m - 75 places - Phone: 0041 (0)27 967 26 34
Climbs: Täschhorn, Dom, Lenzspitze, Nadelhorn, Hohberghorn
- Kinhütte - 2584m - 32 places - Phone: 0041 (0)27 967 86 18
- Täschütte SAC - 2701m - 65 places - Phone: 0041 (0)27 967 39 13
Climbs: Täschhorn, Alphubel, Allalinhorn
- Berghaus Flue - 2618m - 50 places - Phone: 0041 (0)27 967 25 51
Climbs: Strahlhorn, Rimpfischhorn
There is one major cable in the area, the Alpine Express and Metro Alpin which brings you in half an hour from Saas Fee at 1800m to Mittelallin at 3500m. From there it's possible to climb Allalinhorn, Feechopf and Alphubel in one day. Since Saas Fee is a summer ski area, the cable is working almost all year round. In summer the cable starts around 7 o'clock for skiers. However, he's already working a bit earlier to bring staff to Mittelallalin and it should be possible for climbers to leave a little earlier. There are also cables going up to Längfluh (Alphubel), Felskinn (Britanniahütte), Plattjen (Mittaghorn) and Hannig (this one shortens approach to Mischabelhütte by an hour).
All peaks north of the Mischabeljoch aren't accesible by cable. So if you want to climb the Dom or make a traverse of the Nadelgrat, you'll have to do it without any artificial help.
The starting points for all climbs can be reached by car. Coming through the Rhone Valley, one should drive into the valleys of Matter and Saas in Visp. When coming by train one should stop at the train station in Brig in the Rhone Valley, from where busses are running up to Saas Fee. It is possible to reach Zermatt by train. There is an airport in Geneva.
There are a number of camping sites in the Saas and Zermatt Valleys. These are just 2 options.
- Camping Mischabel 0041 (0)27 957 29 61 (Saas)
- Camping Am Kapellenweg 0041 (0)27 957 40 40 (Saas)
When To Climb
It is possible to make trips in the Mischabel Group almost anytime of the year. During winter and spring it's possible to ski in the area or to climb several peaks with tourskis (Strahlhorn, Rimpischhorn, Allalinhorn and Alphubel). For the rock ridges (Täschhorn, Nadelgrat, Balfrin-Bigerhorn Traverse) it is better to wait untill they aren't snow covered anymore, let's say summer and early autumn.
No red tape is required to climb the peaks of the Mischabel Group. To all visitors, make sure it keeps that way. Off course it's recommended to be a member of an alpine club to be insured for rescue in case of an emergency.
Maps & Books
The area is almost totally covered by the Suisse OMNI Map 284 (Mischabel) on scale 1:50000.
There are also maps on scale 1:25000 available. The maps 1308 (St.Niklaus), 1309 (Simplon), 1328 (Randa), 1329 (Saas), 1348 (Zermatt) and 1349 (Monte Moro) cover the whole area.
Interesting books are listed below:
- Walliser Alpen Die 100 schönsten Touren by M Vaucher (1983)
- Valais Alps East Selected Climbs by L Swindin and P Fleming (1999)
- Viertausender der Alpen by H Dumler and W P Burghardt (new edition 2007)
- SAC Clubführer Walliser Alpen 5 Vom Strahlhorn zum Simplon by M Brandt (1993)