Although the Saas Valley is surrounded by 4000m peaks and offers great tours for both novice and experienced alpinists...there are limited possibilities for the enthousiasts of snow/ice faces (except for the NE Face of Lenzspitze and Hohberghorn off course). The Allinhorn might be a beautiful summit, but he is also much frequented. You will find yourself between the crowds on the easy normal route or on the Hohlaub Ridge.
Luckily the NE Ridge of the Allalinhorn offers a short but nice snow/ice climb, and regardless the popularity of the mountain, there is a big chance you will find yourself alone on the route, even on a beautiful day.
Great views, technically a little bit more challenging and not crowded, the NE Ridge will not disappoint you!
The Allalinhorn NE Ridge is most frequently climbed starting from Mittelallin (3500m), which can be reached easily by taking the Alpine Express cable from Saas Fee to Felskinn and subsequently the Metro Alpin to Mittelallalin. The cable opens at 7.00am for public (skiers) in summer, but already runs earlier for personnel. Alpinist are sometimes allowed to take one of the earlier cables to Felskinn, from where the first Metro Alpin can be taken. If everything goes smoothly, you'll be able to start your climb at about 7.30am.
Starting from Mittelallin follow the tracks to the ski area. Traverse the ski piste and head to the end of the ski lift at point 3597m where the NE Ridge starts.
Alternatively the Allalinhorn NE Ridge can be approached from Längfluh or the Britanniahütte.
The first part is of the ridge, indicated as Hinter Allalingrat on the map, is about 40° steep. Conditions vary from icy and almost no snow due to the exposure to strong winds, to very soft snow during periods of higher temperature. After about 150 meter, the angle of the slope eases and you reach a broad plateau. Sometimes access to the plateau is blocked by a large bergschrund. To pass it, there are 2 options.
- try to pass the bergschrund on the right side where it closes most of the time (exposed traverse)
- cross the bergschrund by a snowbridge, which is often possible (as was for example the case in the summer of 2007)
After passing of the bergschrund the slope becomes steeper again up to 45/50°. Take a direct line to the summit, crossing another bergschrund. Conditions in this part can vary from blank ice to good firn.
Descent by the broad tracks on the normal route, via the Feejoch to Mittelallin.
Climbing the Allalinhorn NE Ridge is an high alpine outing so be prepared for cold and sudden weather changes.
Following gear is recommended.
- 2 ice axes (1 classic and 1 technical, or 2 technical)
- 30m/50m/60m rope
- ice screws
If conditions are good, climbing in running belay is possible and only requires a few ice screws.
No red tape is required to climb the Allalinhorn. To all visitors, make sure it keeps that way. Off course it's recommended to be a member of an alpine club to be assuranced for rescue in case of an emergency.