The Weisshorn is the secret star among the four thousand meter peaks around Zermatt. It boasts a pleasing, symmetrical triangular shape; for mountaineers, it offers a thrilling challenge. Weisshorn is a massive 3 ridged pyramid and it is not as popular as the Matterhorn, but is a higher peak towering to 4506 meters. The ascent is slightly harder and longer than Matterhorn ascend, but of higher quality. The first ascent of the Weisshorn was on August 19th 1861 by John Tyndall, Johann Joseph Benet and Ulrich Wenger via the east ridge, now considered the normal route. The Weisshorn above Randa is considered one of the most important four thousand meter peaks of the Alps. Although it cannot compete with the Matterhorn in terms of appearance, the Weisshorn is still relatively free-standing, and with its three ridges and faces forms a regular pyramid that is actually higher than the Matterhorn. In 2011, the people of Randa celebrated the 150th anniversary of the first ascent, along with numerous mountain guides from the whole region. “Weiss” means “white” and from the north-east face of the Weisshorn, clearly visible from Randa, it is always covered with snow. Therefore the name.
Its normal route via the east ridge is physically and technically demanding with a tricky and exposed rock ridge requiring care. Weisshorn summit is snow or ice slope up to 45 degrees. The altitude is part of its difficulty, and the vertical gain to summit is 1600 meters. The route is usually done within 2 to 3 days from Zermatt and on the first day, hikers approach hike from the town of Randa to the Weisshorn hut and on the second day, hikers ascend the peak and return to the hut or the road and on the third day, hikers usually stay at the hut after a long day of climbing.
There are several ways to go up the Weisshorn. The normal route is from the Weisshorn hut and can be climbed by three ridges. The east or the normal route is from the Weisshorn hut starting at 2932 meters with rock and snow and 45 degrees at the end. The north ridge is rather long taking approximately 8 hours and starts from cabane de Tracuit at 3256 meters or Bishorn at 4153 meters with rock and ice mixed path. The Schali ridge has no ice and is climbed by rock climbing from Schali-Bivouac at 3750 meters. Schali-Bivouac can be reached from the Weisshorn hut or from Zinal and Arpietta hut though a complex approach on glacier. The O face takes approximately 8 hours from cabana d’Ar Pietta to Grand Gendarme with rock climbing and possible to return. The north east spur takes approximately 6 hours for all face with snow and ice glace with complex approach on glacier.
2011 was a special triple anniversary year for the warden of the Weisshorn hut. The Weisshorn was first climbed 150 years earlier and the Weisshorn hut had been open 111 years and the warden celebrated his 45th year as warden of the refuge. He first came to the cabin as a 20 year old in 1966, staying for the summer out of love for nature but remained, not least due to the generosity of his employer, who allowed him to be absent during the summer for several decades.