West Ridge

Page Type
Berner Oberland, Switzerland, Europe
Route Type:
Time Required:
A long day
Hike & Scramble

Route Quality: 3 Votes

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West Ridge
Created On: Aug 17, 2007
Last Edited On: Aug 19, 2007
Table of Contents


The Broad West RidgeThis photo (taken just below the summit) shows much of the route.
Please see the trip report for a detailed account of this route. The West Ridge is the "Normal Route" for the Hockenhorn and is quite doable for solo climbers in the Alps or climbers who are interested in a beautiful but non technical climb. I was on the summit after one hour and twenty-five mintues from the hut (1:25). Others could certainly race to the summit in one hour. The listed time to the summit is two hours from the hut or about 5-6 hours from the valley floor in Selden. If you climb from the valley to the summit in one push, it will be a long day (but worth it).

From Selden to the Lötschenpass Hut took us 3 hours. The elevation in Selden is 1537m (at the creek). The elevation of the hut is 2690m. Once you are at the Lötschenpass Hut you can start the actual route. It is a very logical climb and it does not require much in terms of route-finding (unless you get pinned down by a thunderstorm or a white-out).

1. Go out to the back of the hut and start climbing the broad ridge. Do not give up any elevation. Just climb gently upwards.

2. Once you are on the broad West Ridge, take the shortest route towards the Klein Hockenhorn which is a dark tower in front of and to the right of the Hockenhorn. Avoid going to far to the right in foggy or cloudy conditions because there is a steep drop-off.

3. Once you have hiked the ridge to the base of the Klein Hockenhorn (which is at 3100m; 400m higher than the hut), go around it on the left, probably over snow. We were happy to have our poles (and axe) because there had been new snow two days prior to our climb. Crossing this first snowfield is quick and easy.

4. The Hockenhorn is now directly above you and looks quite intimidating. It is easier than it looks (as long as you have good weather). Cross the main snowfield from its bottom right to its upper left. Use caution. If this section is hard ice, it can be the most difficult part of the whole climb. We had soft snow that was easy to traverse.

5. At the base of the summit ridge, just choose a logical route and avoid going too far to the left or the right. If you are careful, you can hike the whole way up. If you are in a hurry, you can scramble in a direct line to the top.

6. Once at the summit, don't forget to sign the Gipfelbuch. We descended the same way we came up.

Essential Gear

I took a sleeping bag (for the hut), gaitors and trekking poles. My brother-in-law forgot his poles so I gave him mine and used my ice-axe on the snowfield instead. I would recommend either poles or an axe on the snow. It is not very exposed but why risk a fall...