Like its neighbor, the Egginer
(3,367m), the Mittaghorn is a popular rock peak above the mountain resort of Saas Fee. The mountain is ideally suited for acclimatization and training climbs, or when the weather isn't suitable to allow climbing on the higher peaks. Although dwarfed by the surrounding 4000ers like the Weissmies and Allalinhorn, the Mittaghorn offers a variety of routes which range in difficulty from strenuous hiking on the East Flank, to moderate rock climbing on the NW and SSW Ridges. Additionally, the Felskinn and Plattjen cable cars provide easy access to the mountain, allowing it to be climbed easily in about half a day from Saas Fee. The summit is marked by a very large metal cross, some 15 feet high, which can be seen from Saas Fee and there is a register which can be signed by those reaching the summit.
There are three primary routes for reaching the summit, all described in the Alpine Club guidebook by Swindin and Fleming.
1) East Flank (Hiking, 2 hrs)
-- Strenuous hiking on a steep, but obvious switch-backing trail with some easy scrambling near the summit (575 m from the Plattjen cable car station). The details of the route are given as descent information for the NW Ridge
2) NW Ridge (AD, 5 hrs)
-- Rock climbing with short pitches of UIAA III and III+, although mostly I and II. The climb from Saas Fee involves 1300 m of elevation gain with the last 450 m on the ridge itself. In reaching the ridge, there is only hiking on obvious trails. The route is the prominent right skyline when the mountain is viewed from Saas Fee. See the NW Ridge
page for more detailed information.
3) SSW Ridge (AD, 2-3 hrs on the ridge)
-- Rock climbing with short sections of UIAA III+ along the ridge connecting the Mittaghorn and Egginer. 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 its SSW Ridge (AD+, IV), 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 a convenient descent route from the Egginer is unavailable.
The Mittaghorn 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 cars 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, continue following the narrow street uphill and around to the right to reach the Plattjen cable car. Alternatively, after the bridge, turn immediately left and walk downhill amongst several hotels to arrive at the Metro Alpin (the cable car to Felskinn).
There are no fees required to climb the Mittaghorn. 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 in the afternoon (although it is always possible to walk back to town).
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 Mittaghorn, as well as the Egginer
, 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