Sustenhorn is one of the most frequently visited mountains between the Bernese Oberland and Central Switzerland, due to its altitude and superb view and due to its multiple access from three sides. It is well suited for ice/rock climbing and excellent skiing. Two mountain roads lead to its base and three huts of the Swiss Alpine Club serve to climb this mountain.
The rock climber will follow the Gotthard autobahn, which is the most direct road from Germany to Italy, and just before the entrance to the Gotthard tunnel, turn right into the valley of Goeschenen and chose the Voralp hut (2126 m). This is the starting point for the east ridge.
If you continue your drive (bus in summer) as far as the dam of the Goescheneralpsee (1797 m) you can either stay there or walk to the Kehlenalp hut (2350 m) and have a snow hike to the top on the following day.
A third possibility is in choosing the Sustenpass road, connecting Bern and Gotthard, park at Steingletscher (1863 m) and either climb Sustenhorn in one long climb or stay overnight at Tierbergli hut (2797 m). In May / June, this route is crowded with skiers. On certain days it is possible to fly to the nearby Gwächtenhorn by helicopter. Other interesting and smaller ski mountains near Steingletscher are: Giglistock and Uratstock.
You can make all kinds of combinations, by foot and ski. All huts can be reached by easy hiking and all sides can be accessed by ski. No wonder, this mountain is so popular.
I recommend in summer: east ridge (AD). For skiing, all sides are OK, maybe most interesting from Steingletscher, most beautiful from Kehlenalp.
Getting To The TopFrom Tierbergli hut
Foot or ski. Head directly to the saddle of Steinlimmi (3091 m). Before you reach it, turn left, go near point 3287 m, keep a little west of the south ridge and reach the summit. Normally it is easy. 3 hours. Do not forget to visit the nearby Gwächtenhorn
(3425 m) on the same day.
If you start at Steingletscher: a small road leads south. You may drive on it for ca. 1 km, then climb a little steep peak (ca. 2150 m) in front of Bockberg. Climb along its steep east flank and reach the Steingletscher. First keep right, then in the middle and go to the very end of this valley. At ca. 2400 m turn left and climb the steepest part of the tour. Keep in the middle of the slope, where the amount of crevasses is smallest. The slope reclines and after 3 hours you are near the Tierbergli hut. Instead of going right to the hut, go straight on to the foot of the Gwächtenhorn and then join the route from Tierbergli.
This is also the winter access to the Tierbergli hut. Only for good skiers and mountaineers.
From Steingletscher to Sustenhorn: 6-7 hours.
From Kehlenalp hut
Follow the path that starts behind the hut and leads over a moraine to point 2974. Then climb on the the harmless glacier to the Sustenlimi (3091 m). Cross it and join the route from the Tierbergli. Not many crevasses. 4-5 hours.
From Voralb hut: east ridge
Keep in the Voralp valley up to ca. 2500 m in the Wallenburfirn (glacier). You can reach the east ridge near 2653 m.
Depending on the actual situation, you might walk over ice (crampons), on snow or choose the rocks. Sometimes ideal ice
allows to walk up to 3000 m and get on the ridge there. Now you will have excellent granite and a wonderful view. Very
recommended! III and IV, 5 hours.
To Voralp hut: ski
Ideal for skiing down, if you do not want to go up and down the same way. Ski down to the Sustenlimi, then turn left (east) and head for the Kehlenalplücke 3092 m. Use this saddle to reach the Flachensteinfirn with some crevesses. Depending on the snow, the saddle can be very steep, i.e. perpendicular. Do not try to ski down sideways, just close your eyes and ski down directly. You
should have ample time to stop before the first crevasse invites you. Then wonderful ski-run, keep slightly right, but ski
down, down, almost endlessly on one slope. Reach the path that leads form the Voralp hut down to the road.
Going uphill from Voralp, take the saddle 3288 m a little south of the Sustenhorn. You have to carry the skis on the last 100 meters.
Red Tape, Maps, Books
no parking fees, no road toll, but get insured for rescue!
Clubführer Urner Alpen WEST
Alpine Skitouren Zentralschweiz-Tessin
Map: Nr. 1211 Meiental 1:25'000
Map Nr. 255 Ski Sustenpass 1:25'000
Map Nr. 5001 Gotthard 1:50'000
See the Swisstopo Map
with many interesting features. Upload is in a seperate window.
For books, maps, webcams, trains, buses, weather, avalanches, rescue
see my list Swiss Links
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When To Climb and Equipment
East ridge: June to September, rope, crampons, axe
Ski: November to June, Harscheisen or crampons if you start in the morning from Steingletscher. Generally no crampons are needed if you start from the Tierbergli hut. Ropes are generally not used, but avalanche equipment.
A problem may arise in spring for skiers about the opening of the road. Phone ++41 (0) 33 971 36 61 (information on tape). If the road to Steingletscher is not open, the hotel is probably not open as well. If you want to climb Tierbergli hut, add 1 - 2 hours. If you are surprised by the closed road and won't be able to crest the Sustenhorn, there is a wonderful alternative for ski mountaineers: park the car behind Gadmen at the 2nd sharp left turn, follow the creek to Wyssenmad (1575 m) and climb the Giglistock (2900 m), provided there is no danger of avalanche.
1863 m, opens usually with the opening of the road. usually in May. It opens before the complete pass road is open! It is not easy to get information about the road condition, most officials only know if the entire passroad is open. Try to call Hotel Steingletscher ++41 (0)33 975 1222. Steingletscher is an ideal starting point for skiers: easy Giglistock (to start with), Fünffingerstock, Sustenhorn, Gwächtenhorn.
2795 m, 70 places, info: ++41 (0)33 971 68 17.
From Steingletscher (1863 m) at the Sustenpass road, follow a small, paved road to a small lake (2033). You can leave your car there. Follow the path to the hut. It is possible, that some snowfields are icy. 2-3 hours. This way should also be followed with skis in early winter, when the crevasses show weak bridges.
1797 m (dam of the lake). Accessible by car starting in May 10 km from Göschenen (1050m), situated at the Autobahn Basle - Milan at the northern entrance of the Gotthard tunnel. 3 hours from here is the
(2350 m, 65 places) of the Swiss Alpine Club. Due to the dam you must first climb north towards Bergseehütte and then descend to the beginning of the lake. This is still the shortest routes. Other routes along the south side of the lake or via Bergsee Hut are longer.
Göscheneralp is also the starting point for 2 popular ski mountains: Müeterlishorn (3059 m) and Lochberg
(3074 m). For ice/rock climbers I recommend to hike to the near Damma hut and climb the Schneestock (3608 m) east ridge. Lovers or granite will chose the Bergseeschijen and Feldschijen
. You can easily spend a week there without getting bored.