Weissmies (4023m) & Alphubel (4206m) – Easy but fun 4000ers
The Perfect Introductory Alpine Climbing Experience Above 4000m
In only four days, you get to have your picture taken on possibly three summits over 4,000 metres. These are colourful and technically easy 4000ers with a few steep, but secure sections.
What can you expect from these lesser known 4000ers, when just a few valleys away they have popular siblings proudly dominating the Alps?
If you are into climbing for its beauty and thrill, you may get even more out of these climbs with funny Swiss names, as the crowds are considerably smaller than on the mountains around Zermatt.
You won’t have crazy French criss-crossing your party’s ropes, and oh yeah: from these mountains, you get to see all the great “brand name” 4000ers.
Is this trip for you?
Day 1: meeting your guide
Meet your guide in lovely Saas Grundig (1.559m) in the world-famous Saas-Valley. Overnight in a local guesthouse.
Day 2: Hike up to Weissmieshütte, 2.760 m
Make sure you stuff yourself with the amazing Swiss cheese they serve for breakfast here… With a full stomach, you start out right from the center of the town. After leaving behind the last houses of the village, you soon find yourself among fir trees, as the trail keeps winding uphill. This is a botanical beauty here: rododendrons, forget-me-nots, enzyan and a variety. After crossing Almagaller-creek, just keep going and you reach Almagaller Alp. At this point, you leave the valley and after gaining some altitude and breaking more than a little sweat, you reach Almagaller Hütte (2.894 m) which is where you stay for the night. Just across the valley, the massive walls of Dom and Täschhorn are sure to leave a lasting impression in you.
Day 3: Taking on Weissmies (4.023 m)
Quite a distance from the hut is the imposing summit of the Weissmies, which means you set out before daybreak at around 4 AM. At first, you follow a rocky trail which takes you precisely to the top of Hohsaas skilift at 3.098 meters. There, you put on your harness and crampons, as you are shortly entering glaciated area. Taking a left, you stroll along in a gently rising snow/ice plateau around crevasses. Seracs and hanging glaciers are looking down at you from the higher parts of the mountain. Then comes a bit of climbing on max. 40-45 degree firn. Your guide kick-steps the way in the snow. You put your trekking poles away and take out the axe, which helps you secure yourself up the steep ramp. Climbing the pre-summit is an easy scramble up brown-reddish gneiss boulders. The pre-summit is linked to the main summit via a narrow snowridge, ascending from 3.961 to 4.023 meters. Congratulations, nice summit! You’ve climbed about 1.200 meters vertical, taking around 5 hours up to this point.
Getting back to the valley is via an icy descent on the reverse side of the summit. The panorama is fantastic from this summit, but this can be exceeded from one of the summits across the valley, so let’s get going. You start the descent on a wide firn-ridge. Drift a little bit to the right side here, as it’s safer – you’re carefully descending an exposed section.
It gets a lot easier after this and after a slight right bend, you’re on a steep descent again among huge crevasses. You’ll definitely shoot some pics in this amazing glacier setting. You’re on less steep ground again on the lower part of the glacier. The humongous chunks of ice hanging above you on the mountain may look a bit intimidating in this fascinating environment.
Still lower, there are lots of crevasses awaiting you, but you’re definitely safe on your guide’s rope. As you walk off the glacier, you’re on a wide trail leading to the top of Hohsaas cabin lift at 3.098 m. Again, looking back on your descent, you’ll definitely be impressed – you’re tempted to take another hundred pics of the mountain from here. Follow the trail down the morena to Weissmieshütte (2726 m). If you’ve had enough for the day, you stay here for the night, but if you’re up to it, you may want to descend all the way down the valley to the village.
Note: if the team is tired or conditions do not permit, you descend back on the same route you climbed. A skilift can be taken to and from Hohsaas, sparing you the 1.200 m vertical hike to/from Weissmieshütte.
Day 4: Spielboden and Längflue
We’ll hike up to Saas-Fee (1.772 m) and after a bit of getting ready, you’re on your way to a long ascent up. After leaving the village, you’re on a winding road under the cable lift and arrive at a lovely small lake on a meadow. Across the valley is the towering Weissmies, evoking the pleasant memories of the previous days. Next to it is Lagginhorn.
The valley starts to shrink under you, as you’re gaining altitude, but the summits you’re after are still a bit far above. At 2.447 meters, you reach the middle station of the lift, Spielboden. From here on, you climb just 400 meters to the highest point of Längflue’s crest. A hut awaits you here. Good night!
Day 5: Pocketing two biggies: Allalinhorn and Alphubel
Again, an early rise is needed – 2-3 in the morning! A huge day for you lies ahead, with the hope of summiting two neighboring 4000ers. You start out on the glacier, making your way elegantly through the crevasses. It’s pretty straightforward up the glacier to the smaller of the two peaks, Allalinhorn (4027 m). You can expect to do the ca. 1200 meter vertical trek in about 4 hours.
It gets really impressive here – to say that the views are stunning is an understatement. You get to see almost every peak in the Wallis-Alps! Soak in the views of Matterhorn and her neighbors and head on over to Alphubel through Fee-pass (3826 m) then Feekopf (3.888 m) and finally down to 3.782 meters to Alphubel-pass.
From the pass the trail gets steep again. Actually, there is no trail :). It’s an exposed ridge you have to tackle for over 400 m vertical to get to the highest summit of your trip: Alphubel at 4.206 meters. The climb from the pass should take 2 hours.
The views were stunning on Allalinhorn, and you thought it can’t get any better on Alphubel. Well, there is news for you… Start the descent carefully, as you will feel the trip in your legs by now. The winding trail on the way down will cross some bigger crevasses before putting you on the Fee-glacier. Take this glacier, passing beautiful needles and find yourself back at the hut where you started.
All the while you are looking at Weissmies between the eyes, as she towers higher and higher above you as you descend. From here, it’s straightforward back to Saas-Fee – you take the same trail you took on your way up.
Note: Skilift may be taken up to Längflue, sparing you the ascent. Your physical condition and the weather has to be tops in order for you to traverse both peaks in a single day. Otherwise, we’ll just go for Alphubel.
Equipment and Info
During the climb you will sleep in mountain huts and the best campsite of the village. The price of the accommodations included in the price.
In the village we can book a room for you (30-50 euro/night), if you don’t want to bring camping equipment.
What you need to bring for the trip is good climbing boots broken in, so they won’t hurt your feet. Check here what we recommend.
Here is a list that may be helpful to get yourself organized before the trip:
- trekking socks
- backpack – 30-40 liters (here are some more specific tips on the ideal backpack)
- 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
- climbing pants
- two pairs of gloves
- warm hat
- bandana/cap against the sun
- sunscreen (min. factor 30) and chopstick for your lips.
- 2 fleece sweaters/vest
- light and thin sleeping bag for huts
- climbing boots
- trekking poles
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
Just like in the Alps generally, 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.