Zinalrothorn

August 24 - 25, 2009

A 4000er near Zermatt that served as a memorable first climb in the Swiss Alps!

The Matterhorn

The Matterhorn

The famous Matterhorn towers over Zermatt. We hoped to climb it a few days later but unfortunately there ended up being too much new snow.

Trail to the Rothorn Hut

Trail to the Rothorn Hut

The long, steep trail leading from the town of Zermatt (approximately 5,300 feet) to the Rothorn Hut (10,500 ft). It was very hot down here at 7,000 feet. We still had a lot of elevation to gain!

Hotel Trift

Hotel Trift

A "hotel" partway up the trail called Hotel Trift. Lots of people were taking a break here and having snacks and drinks. I believe it was the turn around point for many of the hikers.

Trift Glacier

Trift Glacier

Approaching Trift Glacier en route to the Rothorn Hut which is located on a rocky rib between the Trift and Rothorn Glaciers.

Obergabelhorn

Wellenkuppe

Wellenkuppe (3,903 meters) as seen on the approach to the Rothorn Hut.

Rothorn Hut

Rothorn Hut

The Rothorn Hut at 10,500 feet finally comes into view. Its approximately 4.5 miles from and  5,200 feet above Zermatt. The hike took us just under 4 hours at a very leisurly pace.

Helicopter at Rothorn Hut

Helicopter

Helicopters fly around the Zermatt area on a daily basis delivering supplies to the mountain huts. We were surprised to see this one swoop in and land on the small ledge very close to where we were sitting.

Climbing Zinalrothorn

Near the start of the rock climb

Two climbers in the gully near the start of the rock climb portion of Zinalrothorn's normal route. The terrain gets a rating of about 5.3. The hutkeeper allowed everyone to get up an hour earlier than usual (3am) because bad weather was predicted for the afternoon. The skies are already very cloudy and a few flakes of snow are falling.

Climbing Zinalrothorn

Dominic on the ridge

Looking back at Dominic as we climb up the final exposed ridge. The fog masked the huge drops on either side.

Climbing Zinalrothorn

Traversing the ridge

Our guide Simon leading an exposed traverse below the ridge crest.

Our guide on Zinalrothorn

Simon

Simon belaying us across the exposed ridge.

Us on the summit of Zinalrothorn

Us on the summit

Us with Zinalrothorn's summit cross. The weather was quickly deteriorating so we headed back down less than five minutes after summitting. The first boom of thunder came just a few minutes later (around 7am).

Climbing Zinalrothorn

Narrow ridge

Looking back at the final portion of the ridge from near rhe summit. Several climbers can be seen near the crest. Notice the fresh snow on the rocks. It was really starting to pick up.

Climbing Zinalrothorn

Closer look at the ridge

A closer look at the climbers on the narrow ridge. It was seconds later that the thunder and lightning began.

Retreating from Zinalrothorn

Retreat

A party ahead of us retreating back down the ridge.

Retreating from Zinalrothorn

A slippery descent

The descent was a slippery one and we soon donned crampons. Most parties downclimbed or lowered weaker members down everything and we only saw one pair of climbers rappelling. We downclimbed most of it but Simon did lower us over a few tricky spots to save time.

Retreating from Zinalrothorn

Why so happy?

How can I be so happy in the middle of an electrical storm? We were finally off the most exposed part of the ridge, but we definately weren't out of the woods yet! Look at all that new snow.

Rothorn Hut

Fairwell

Fairwell view of the Rothorn Hut.

Descent to Zermatt

Back to Zermatt

View on the descent back to Zermatt. Hotel Trift can be seen through the low clouds.




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