Alps, Italy and Switzerland
10 Classic Peaks above 4000 Mt. in 5 days
Mountaineering Week on Glaciated Peaks with Hut-to-Hut Traverse around Zermatt
Monte Rosa Peaks Traverse Highlights
- 10 Glaciated Peak Ascents over 4000 m (13120 ft)
- Cozy huts above 3000 m (10,000 ft), Good Italian Meals
- A night in the Margherita Hut, Europe’s Highest at 4550 m (14925 ft)
- Awesome Views from Mont Blanc to Matterhorn
- Famous Resort Town of Zermatt
- Exposed Ridges, Huge Glaciers
- Choose between Moderate and Difficult Itinerary
Of the 50 highest peaks in the Alps above 4000 Meters (13120 ft), 12 Peaks are located in the heavily glaciated Monte Rosa Massif.
Thanks to a network of very high alpine huts and the moderate technical character of the peak ascents, this traverse gives the option to tackle up to 10 of these majestic peaks in only 5 days – assuming a good amount of fitness, previous experience with crampons & ice axe and good acclimatization. The rewards are incredible views of the Western Alps with the neighboring Matterhorn and good Italian food & wines in the huts. Although the start and ending point of this traverse is the famous Swiss mountain village of Zermatt, most of the trip will be spent on the “sunny” Italian side of the range, which is why the trip is also referred to as the “Spaghetti Tour”. A fascinating traverse with many high points that will keep you in glaciated terrain for the entire week!
For the Monte Rosa Traverse we offer a less technical “regular“as well as the more difficult “extreme” itinerary which also includes a traverse of the Dufourspitze 4670 m (15320 ft), the second highest summit in the Alps.
Optional: With the Monte Rosa Traverse under your belt and a good acclimatization effect to your advantage, why not add an additional two days to your trip to climb the Matterhorn (4477 Meters, 14685 ft) or the Mont Blanc (4806 Meters, 15765 ft) .
Monte Rosa 5 Day Classic Traverse for Peak Collectors
1) Regular Monte Rosa Peaks Traverse (max. 3 clients : guide)
2) Extreme Monte Rosa Peaks Traverse (max. 2 clients : guide)
Meeting with the guide in Zermatt at 6 PM for trip briefing, equipment check and dinner together. Lodging in a Hotel in Zermatt
Regular: Gondola ride to the Klein Matterhorn early in the morning. Ascent of the Breithorn (4164 meters=13660ft) and descent to the Guide d’ Ayas Hut on (3420 meters=11220 ft) on the Italian side of the range. This day is largely meant to help you acclimatize and leave time to review technical skills.
Extreme: The Breithorn Half-Traverse continues to climb the spectacular ridge line from the Breithorn Summit to the east and requires exposed scrambling across rocky and snow parts – a good introduction to what’s to come for the next 4 days. Another alternative is an ascent of the Pollux 4090m (13,420 ft), which offers some easier rock climbing followed by a beautiful summit ridge.
Regular: We reascend yesterday’s track and traverse the Castor (4228 meters=13870 ft), first by climbing the steep west face, then along a narrow snow ridge to the summit. Easy descent to the Quintino Sella Hut 3860m (12,660 ft).
Extreme: Strong parties can consider adding the Pollux 4090 m to today’s program, if they didn’t alredy hit it on the previous day. Another option is to add an ascent of the Lyskamm West Summit 4530 m (14,860 ft).
Please Note: Strong parties can combine the first 2 days of the trip by skipping the Guide D’Ayas Hut and traversing the Castor directly from the Klein Matterhorn Gondola.
Regular: First of two feast days for 4000 meter summit collectors: After traversing across the Passo del Naso (steep ice, front pointing on your crampons required for several pitches), we’ll have the option to climb the Balmenhorn, Corno Nero and Vincent Pyramid – all relatively easy summits around 4250 meters (=14000 ft). Descent to the Mantova Hut.
Extreme: The Liskamm offers one of the most challenging ridge traverses in the Alps when climbing the entire 5 km from the West to the East summit 4530 m (14850 ft). Solid cramponing skills, a head for heights, good snow conditions and calm weather are required. The climbing involves extremely exposed, often knife-edged snow, some easier rock, and short steep traverses below the crest.
Regular & Extreme: We reascend yesterday’s track to back to the glaciated Monte Rosa Plateau and tackle the higher elevation peaks we didn’t get to the previous day: Ludwigshoehe, Parrotspitze, Zumsteinspitze 4565 m (14975 ft) and finally the Signalkuppe (a.k.a. Punta Margherita) 4555 m (14940 ft) where the Margherita Hut will welcome us right on the summit, which makes it the highest, fully catered hut of the Alps.
Please note: Day 4 and 5 can be combined at the expense of missing some of the available summit ascents by skipping the descent to the Mantova Hut.
Regular: Almost all downhill today back into Switzerland. We descend the rugged Grenz (=border) Glacier, bypass the futuristic looking Monte Rosa Hut until we reach the vast Gorner Glacier. Once off the glacier we gain a comfortable trail leading to the Rotenboden Station of the Gornergrat Railway, which will take us back to Zermatt – the easy way for your knees! Lodging in our Hotel in Zermatt.
Extreme: After a sunrise start we traverse the nearby Zumsteinspitze en route to Monte Rosa’s highest peak, the Dufourspitze (4618m or 15150 feet). The ridge is exposed and the main difficulties are in the rock scrambling sections (while usually wearing crampons) across gendarmes (rock towers) until we reach the tiny summit (about 4 – 5 hrs). The descent follows the West Ridge along the normal route, where more difficult rocky sections are equipped with fixed ropes. After about 1.5 hrs we reach the Silbersattel (Silver Saddle) where the technical difficulties are finished. First on snow and glacier, then on rocky, morainal trails to the futuristic looking Monte Rosa Hut for a break (2 hrs). A further 2.5 hours or so of flat dry glacier and an uphill trail at the end, lead us to the Gornergrat railway station at Rotenboden, and we descend back to Zermatt by train.
Departure after breakfast or continuation with one of our Matterhorn or Mont Blanc Programs (check with us for details!)
Detail and Logistics
You will meet your guide on Day 1 at 6PM in our hotel in Zermatt. We gladly assist in organizing any pre/post trip lodging and airport transfers.
Travel to Zermatt
The three closest international airports with road distances, train travel durations and fares:
Geneva: Car 235 km, 2.30 hrs. Train: 3.45 hrs, SFR 90 / person, almost hourly departures.
Zurich: Car 350 km, 3.30 hrs. Train: 4.5 hrs, SFR 120 / person, almost hourly departures
Milan: Car 230 km, 3 hrs. Train 4 hrs, Euro 80, almost every two hourly departures
Please note that if travelling by car, you will have to leave your car on a commercial parking lot (fees from SFR 5 to SFR 8 every 24 hrs) in the village of Tasch, located about 10 km before reaching Zermatt. From there, you have to either travel by taxi or train (SFR 10 one way, departures usually every 20 minutes during the day).
Climate, Weather, Temperatures
High season for all mountaineering in the western Alps is mid-July through August, mainly due to the stable weather that time of the year. Day time temperatures can vary between 30C (86F) in the valleys to -10C (14F) on clear mornings, when we start our day from a high level hut.
Services Included in the Total Price
5 days guiding by an internationally (UIAGM) certified, multilingual, mountain guide, all guide expenses, 4 nights lodging in dormitory or rooms with bunk beds in the huts with dinner and breakfast, 2 nights double room in our hotel in Zermatt with breakfast.
Any cost for land transportation, gondola / mountain train cost (but see below), rental equipment, however we can provide you with technical equipment items for a small fee on request. Beverages, alcoholic or not, lunches, any additional cost of itinerary changes, particularly if participants should need another night of lodging at the Monte Rosa Hut after the ascent of the Pointe Dufour, should the guide have the additional day available to accommodate such a request.
Budgeting for Cost not included in the Trip Price
Dinner in a restaurant in Zermatt is not cheap, but also not outrageous. You can eat well for 30 – 40 SFR. A can of beer in the huts runs usually at 8 SFR, a bottle of wine around 40 SFR, the gondola to Klein Matterhorn runs at around SFR 100 / person, the train from Rotenboden to Zermatt is about SFR 38.
Cost Reduction Options for your Travels in Switzerland
Holder of the Half-Fare Card of the Swiss Railway, which is valid 1 month (or one year at a higher price) and costs around CHF 120 will receive a discount of almost 50% on almost all train rides and gondolas in Switzerland, including the Klein Matterhorn gondola and the Gornergrat Train in Zermatt. Savings for gondola / train rides on this trip usually account for more than 60% of the purchase price and especially if you plan to travel to and from Zermatt by train, the “Half Fare Card” provides you with savings. For online purchase please click here. However it appears that the card can also be purchased at any railway station in Switzerland. You may be asked to show your passport as the 1 month card is not accessible for residents of Switzerland, which would also explain why it’s really hard to find it on the official web site of the Swiss Rail (SBB).
Can I Do It?
Monte Rosa 5 Day Classic Traverse for Peak Collectors:This is a classic high alpine mountaineering traverse with moderately difficult, glaciated peak ascents – previous experience with crampons and ice axe (or an additional training day before the beginning of this trip) as well as very good physical endurance for up to 10 hour mountaineering days with early starts every day are required. Since you will be spending 5 days between 3500 meters (11500 ft) and 4550 meters (15000 ft), you should be able to adapt well to altitude – previous experience in high altitude is advantageous!
Monte Rosa “extreme” 3 Day Program with Traverse of the Pointe Dufour: Same as above, however participants need to be seasoned alpinists with a several trips on technical peaks in high altitude under their belt. Participants need to be super-fit, well-acclimatised and comfortable to travel on their crampons on very exposed ridges for multiple hours at a time. The traverse of the Pointe Dufour commonly also requires technical rock climbing on snowy / icy rocks with crampons.
Optional Ascent of the Matterhorn via Hornli Ridge:(two additional days): The Matterhorn ascent is technically much more difficult than the Monte Rosa Peaks Traverse and requires a client to guide ratio of 1:1. The Hornli Ridge (Normal Route) is largely a rock scramble with a few sections of grade 5.6. In the upper section the ridge becomes steeper and fixed ropes facilitate the climb. For more detail please refer to our Matterhorn Page
Monte Rosa Peaks Traverse – Of the 50 highest peaks in the Alps above 4000 Meters (13120 ft)
We will gladly put potential clients in touch with previous participants of each trip in order for interested guests to get more personalized references and their questions answered from a more objective point of view than what our office could provide.
References of prior guests
” Philipp was great. Very professional and capable. We had some weather the first day with some crevasse danger and Philipp really did a stand-up job of guiding.
Then on the descent to the train more crevasse issues. Thanks to Philipp’s expertise we got through. Everything was well organized. The itinerary was good. Lodging at the Weisshorn was good, everybody was friendly and attentive. The breakfast was excellent. The huttes were very nice, especially the Monte Rosa. The pasta at the Italian huts was delicious!! I would not hesitate to recommend On Top.”
—Laura R., Florida, USA
” Philipp is a total professional. There are no deficiencies I can think of. The most important thing he did for all of us is that he made us feel comfortable and safe. I loved all of the huts, the itinerary, and the weather. Philipp somehow instilled enough confidence in me such that I could successfully summit the Matterhorn and get back down safely. ”
—Pete F., MA, USA
” Both guides, Veit and Tommaso, did a great job, looked after us well, showed authority when needed, good humour, fixed things at the huts etc. Veit, we knew from before and was the same experienced, knowledgable, good leadership, easy to understand, a bit stubborn while flexible in finding alternative solutions when the weather turned bad prior to the Castor traverse etc. Tommaso was a very good replacement for Philippe Poutsy. He had a great sense of humor, was very knowledgeable and experienced in the situations that arised, was a good leader, good communication, safe guiding. General trip organization / communication was Excellent. Fast response and clear communication. You also involved Jorg and Veit in some detailed questions we had about the conditions along the Monte Rosa trip as well as alternative routes which we appreciated. Very good itinerary (The itinerary was mainly decided by ourselves).
– Hotel Sarazena in Zermatt: Very good hotel with relatively spacious rooms, good breakfast, view towards Matterhorn!
– Mountain huts: They are what they are and its little we can do to change this. Dinners where 3 course meals and generally ok/nice with plenty of basic food and energy for the coming day. The dinner courses at the Margherita hut were fantastic and extra portions was received. Very dry bread was serve for breakfast at the Ayas, Sella and Mantova huts while the Margherita served relatively fresh bread. If acclimatized, the Margherita hut is well worth staying at, is very central to the surrounding 4000m peaks etc and avoids 1.5 hrs/1000m of ascent from say the Mantova hut.
We had a great trip with Veit and Tommaso, the huts were great to stay in, the food was nice, the weather started bad but ended great. I have received 8 and 9´s from the other group members Conclusion: we are very likely to recommend OnTop and the guides Tommaso and Veit to our friends. We will ourselves also consider using OnTop for future mountain adventures!”
—Per N and Group, Norway
CLASSIC PEAKS, ROCK & ICE
1. Technical Equipment
• Leather or plastic mountaineering boots* sturdy with RIGID soles – usable with crampons (Leather preferable for Matterhorn)
• Backpack (40 – 45 liters) with rain cover if possible. Some have built-in rain covers (Deuter backpacks). Rain covers can also be bought separately. Otherwise bring a big plastic (garbage) bag as an inside liner for your backpack.
• Climbing helmet*
• Ice axe for glacier travel (50-75cm, classic pick)*
• Crampons that fit your boots or can be easily adjusted*
• Anti-balling plates for your crampons (highly recommended)*
• Collapsible ski poles* (recommended)
• 1 harness*
• 2 locking carabiners
• Crevasse rescue equipment, if you are familiar with it. (Prusik slings, webbing, pulleys, auto-locking device). Your guide will bring a full set.
We suggest using the ‘layer system’: Light technical clothing that doesn’t take much space in your backpack and dries quickly if sweaty or wet. Layers can be put on and taken off fast if weather conditions change during the day.
• Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore Tex or similar)
• Wind and waterproof over pants with side zippers (Gore Tex or similar)
• Mountaineering pants
• Fleece or heavy jacket
• Medium weight fleece sweater
• Long underwear or running tights (e.g. Capilene or polypro)
• Undershirt – preferably long sleeves (e.g. Capilene or polypro)
• Warm socks for mountaineering boots (wool/synthetic outers)
• Lighter socks for rock climbing shoes
• Warm hat, covering your ears
• Lightweight gloves (fleece)
• Warm, waterproof pair of gloves
• Gaiters (unless pants lock tightly to your boots)
• Sun hat, with a wide brim if possible
• Bandana (optional)
3. For trips with lodging in huts
• Spare underwear, socks
• Down vest or light insulated jacket (optional)
• Light-weight sleeping bag liner (preferably silk) – wool covers are provided by the hut
• Light hut slippers optional – usually huts provide slippers, especially in Switzerland and France
• Light stuff sacs or zip lock bags to keep your backpack organized (optional)
• Toiletries and small towel
• Alpine Club card (if you hold a membership)
• Ear plugs (optional but very useful)
4. Other Items
• Sun glasses (heavy duty – glacier use, with very good UV protection)
• Sun screen and lip protection
• Water bottle, preferably insulated, minimum volume: 1 liter or Camelback (if too cold, bladder tube might freeze up!)
• Head lamp with spare batteries and bulb
• Blister kit (optional)
• Snacks (candy bars, dried fruit, sandwiches, nuts, etc.)
• Personal items (prescription medicine, extra contact lenses and maintenance equipment, extra pair of prescription glasses, etc.)
• Pocket knife or leatherman (optional)
• (Health/Travel) insurance documents
• Zip-lock bag for wallet and other documents to keep them dry (recommended)
• Camera, batteries (optional)
• Compass, maps and GPS (optional)
Monte Rosa Peaks Traverse
- Up to 10 hrs/day
- Exposed Ridges
- 45 deg. Ice/Snow
- Crevassed Glacier
Monte Rosa Peaks Traverse
7 Day Trip
5 Days Climbing
Custom trips any time mid June – mid September. Shorter trip durations possible!
June 18 – 24
June 25 – July 1
July 2 – 8
July 9 – 15
July 16 – 22
July 23 – 29
July 30 – Aug. 5
Aug. 20 – 26
Aug. 27 – Sept. 2
Sept. 3 – 9
Monte Rosa Peaks Traverse
3 Guests / Guide
2 Guests / Guide
Premium for the “Extreme” itinerary:
Please inquire, usually around Euro 150
Shorter trip duration possible with pro-rated pricing.
Single room supplement Zermatt Hotel:
US $48, CA $63, € 42, £ 38
Includes: Guide + guide expenses, 4 nights huts with dinner and breakfast, 2 nights hotel with breakfast.
Extras: Land transport, Gondola/mountain train costs, gear rental, drinks, lunches, dinners in Zermatt.