Dom (4545m) – Huge Vertical
The Tallest Mountain Standing Entirely on Swiss Territory
Dom is extremely demanding physically, with a vertical rise of 3.100 meters from parking lot to summit, it is even greater than what you get on Mont Blanc.
The Dom is the most massive peak on the ridge separating the Matter and Saas valleys. It is technically one of the easier 4000er in the area, but the physical demand is huge. You have to tackle more than 3.100 meters of vertical from the parking lot to summit this peak, which is the third highest in the Alps.
You will not find another mountain in the Alps with a vertical rise as great as Dom’s. The Dom, by the way, is also the highest mountain standing entirely on Swiss territory.
Further InfoThere is no ski-lift to Domhütte, so you really do have to walk all the way from the village of Randa. That's a lot of vertical meters on both days, which is why this mountain is more challenging than Mont Blanc.
Is this trip for you?
Day 1: Meeting in Randa (1.408 m) and hiking up to Domhütte (2.940 m)
After meeting in the parking lot, you pack up and start strolling out of the lovely little town passing the church and eventually entering the pine forest. Going all the way through the trees and leaving them behind as you gain altitude, you’re on grassy slopes approaching a big rock caldron.
Over rock steps and ledges, you come across some fixed ropes (wires, actually) to help you as you gain more and more altitude. Soon you take your first steps on the Festi-Glacier, which takes you to Domhütte (2.940 m). Have a nice rest and eat up on carbohydrates – you’ll need everything you’ve got the following day!
Day 2: Summiting Dom (4.545 m) and retiring to the valley after a huge day
Be prepared for a real early rise. Following the trail from the hut, you soon find yourself on the glacier. The ice is covered by rocks on this part of the glacier. Following the length of the glacier, you are looking at a stripe of rocks where you find fixed ropes to aid you with climbing. Now you are trekking on morena again and you come to some easier, grade II rock with some exposed ledges to climb to Festi pass at 3.723 m. Descend just a bit to Hohberg glacier and pass under impressive rock walls and around huge blocks of ice. Now, the glacial slope gets steeper and steeper (all the way to 35 degrees) towards the northern ridge, which takes you to the summit.
Nice going, but you’re far from being done! You need to descend 1.600 meters to get back to the hütte. This may be one of the longest, most strenuous days of climbing you’ve ever done.
Day 3: Walking back down in the valley
Descend back down the same way you came up. Keep turning back around to take some pictures of Mischabell Group’s highest summits. The descent should take 2-3 hours depending on how tired you are and on your appetite for photography.
Equipment and Info
Although you are going in the summer, alpine summer is a lot different from what you’re used to. You need to prepare yourself for rain, snow and cold; 6-8 degrees below freezing in the mornings at 3.000-3.200 m. If you need advice on clothing and equipment, let us know in the form below. Your guide will be more than happy to help.
The price includes equipment hire, so you need not worry about technical gear. Of course, you may bring your own gear if you prefer, but regrettably, we can’t discount the price of the trip should you bring your own stuff. What you do need to bring is good climbing boots broken in, so they won’t hurt your feet. Here is a list that may be helpful to get yourself organized before the trip:
- trekking socks
- backpack – 35-45 liters (and preferably equipped with these features)
- waterproof pants – make sure you treat them with water-repellent prior to your trip
- waterproof jacket/softshell – make sure you treat it with water-repellent prior to your trip
- two pairs of gloves
- warm hat
- bandana/cap against the sun
- sunscreen (min. factor 30) and lip balm
- 2 fleece sweaters/vest
- light and thin sleeping bag for huts
- climbing boots
- sandals/running shoes for life in the valley
If you want more information on proper equipment, here’s a detailed guide about the three layers, with specific tips on what to bring.
Food and Drinks
Like in most huts in the Alps, you can buy food at the Hut but it is a good idea to bring your own stuff as well. Get some practical advice on Mountain Food so you maximize your performance – here.