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Home | Zermatt | Activities | Nordend: Popular 38 Four Thousand Meter Peaks

Nordend: Popular 38 Four Thousand Meter Peaks


The Nordend is a neighboring peak of the Dofourspitze and lies at the northern end of the Monte Rosa massif. Nordend at 4609 meters is the third highest mountain in the Alps after Mont Blanc and Dufourspitze. It is the most northern of all Monte Rosa peaks and is located on the Swiss Italian border. The name Nordend is from German meaning the north end since it is the northern peak of the Monte Rosa massif. The first ascent was made on August 26th 1861 by Michel-Clement Payot, Edward North, John Jeremy Cowell and Thomas Fowell Buxton.

Taking the normal route from the Monte Rosa hut, it is not difficult, but hikers and mountaineers have to be strong and accustomed to the altitude. Excellent weather is a must so if hikers and mountaineers are planning to hike up this mountain, checking the weather is very important. It will takes approximately 6 to 10 hours to climb depending on the condition of the snow and your strength. The Monte Rosa glacier shows many crevasses, which can be very difficult and dangerous if not experienced with proper gears, but these are not as mean as in the neighboring Grenzgletscher. To ascent to the summit, proper tools such as ropes, crampons and axes are necessary. But if hikers are planning to ski from March to July, these items can be left in their backpack. It is an interesting but difficult variation at the Cresta di Santa Caterina from Gallarat bivouac on top of Jaegerhorn. The tour to the Nordend gives an excellent view on many possibilities to climb the nearby Dufourspitze, the highest Swiss mountain.

From Monte Rosa hut at 2795 meters, take the tracks of the Monte Rosa Glacier that leads to the Dufourspitze. Once at 4000 meters, keep going in the direction of Nordend and head for Silbersattel or Colle Marinelli, which is a saddle between Nordend and Dufrouspitze. The Silbersattel greets hikers and mountaineers with several bergschrunds. First head more to the left to the Nordend, then change direction to the right or south-east and look for a safe way between the parallel crevasses. From far it looks worse than it is. A well trained mountaineer should reach the Silbersattel at 4517 meters in about 5 hours. From there, take the north ridge that is covered with snow and stay away from the Italian side. The ridge is normally easy and if hikers climb Nordend with skis they can keep them on as far as the rocks at the end of the ridge. At the end of a dry summer the ridge is icy and can be time consuming so crampons and axes may be needed. Although the difference of altitude is only 100 meters from Silbersattel, even with excellent conditions, hikers and mountaineers will hardly do it in less than one hour.